Maine Public Needs to Engage The Region More: What We Heard in Caribou

Our Tell Me More Tour stop in Caribou was exactly what we had envisioned when we started planning this listening tour initiative in the fall of 2018. We wanted to know what areas of the state were underserved relative to our news coverage and to understand what types of stories people were looking to hear on our airwaves. What was fundamentally important to our listeners that we were not fully delivering on? Where was Maine Public coming up strong and where did we have work to do? Our tour stop in Caribou did not disappoint in providing us with input and direction.

Led by News Director Mark Simpson and News Reporter Robbie Feinberg, it became clear from the get-go that attendees valued Maine Public and were daily listeners to Maine Public Radio. It was also clear that the group felt that Maine Public could — and should — do more in covering this region of the state. News topics and coverage, inclusion of call-in experts on episodes of Maine Calling, and access to select services that Maine Public provides were all mentioned as failing to take Caribou and the rest of Aroostook County fully into account.

Maine Public audience members at the Caribou Public Library on August 21, 2019.
Credit Mark Vogelzang / Maine Public

And the group shared developments and jewels in the region that they felt are worthy of coverage and would be of value to share with listeners across Maine. Innovation at the University of Maine, the influx of young families and retirees settling back in the region, the palpable spirit and results from volunteerism present in the communities of Aroostook County, and the transformation of the Loring Air Force Base were among the many topics raised by attendees that they deemed worth Maine Public exploring.

Many questions arose relative to accessing Maine Public's radio and television signals and fortunately Maine’s Public's CEO Mark Vogelzang was on hand to explain how people can best acquire the signals we have in the area. Mark also spoke to his vision of bringing Maine Public Classical to the region over its own frequency, while explaining how an HD radio can serve as a wonderful way to hear Maine Public Classical for the time being.

News Director Mark Simpson (l.) and Bangor Correspondent Robbie Feinberg (r.) address Maine Public audience members at the Caribou Public Library on August 21, 2019.
Credit Mark Vogelzang / Maine Public

Thank you, Caribou, for your insights and challenging Maine Public to have a stronger presence in your corner of Maine.