Maine Calling

1-2 pm Monday-Friday; Rebroadcast 7 pm M-F

Every weekday, our Maine Calling program digs into topics and issues with listeners across the state in a statewide conversation.

While the coronavirus crisis is at its height, host Jennifer Rooks will lead conversations about how the spread of COVID-19 is affecting people throughout our region. Upcoming topics will include: answers to medical questions; how businesses are impacted by the crisis; childcare issues; how to deal with anxiety and uncertainty; what Maine towns are doing to cope; how faith leaders are addressing this emergency; what Maine's Congressional delegation is doing to help; and how colleges, professors and students are reacting to changes caused by the pandemic.

Special thanks to The University of Maine at Augusta, Dead River Company, and Modern Pest Services for their support.


Getting outside while the weather is still good and making the most of Maine's abundant outdoor recreation opportunities is one way to get through the pandemic, and stay distanced from others. We discuss the top-notch outdoor recreation options that can be found in Maine and New England, including different forms of recreation and different places to go. We highlight better known attractions as well as hidden gems, and how to enjoy them safely.

Guns sales have been on the rise since the start of pandemic, most likely due the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 and also due to increased racial tensions nationwide and here in Maine. We'll learn about the demographic makeup of new gun owners, such as more women and minorities, and why societal conditions are causing people to purchase firearms. We'll also discuss the health and safety concerns associated with this surge in gun sales.

With many Mainers working from home through at least the rest of 2020, and with most students doing at least part of their learning remotely, tech issues can take on a whole new dimension. Our tech experts return to answer questions about plugging in, staying connected, and which high-tech device is right for your needs.

Sea-level rise due to global warming along the coast of Maine is increasing at a rapid pace, with some estimates predicting levels to rise by as much as two feet by 2050. We'll discuss what is causing the waters to rise more quickly, how it will impact coastal communities and structures, and what towns and individuals can do to prepare. We'll also find out how historic buildings can be protected from rising waters.

One of the outcomes of the 2016 election was a distrust of polling. But many pollsters will tell you that’s the wrong conclusion to draw, and that, in fact they were not so far off in their polling. We’ll check in with pollsters and learn what lessons they took from the 2016 election, the science of polling and how it has changed over the years, and what to expect this election season.

Tensions with China center on a social media app and scientists accused of spying. Russia apparently has poisoned a leading opposition leader. And Israel normalized ties with the UAE. One of our guests, scholar Aaron David Miller, argues that the Middle East doesn't matter as much anymore. How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected international politics? What major geopolitical developments are unfolding under the radar? And how are the Presidential campaigns addressing global hotspots?

Companies and their employees are increasingly seeking ways to embrace socially responsible practices. This trend is growing as Millennials and younger generations have greater expectations for working at places that prioritize social justice and other values, rather than only looking at profit for stakeholders. One term for this is "conscious capitalism." We'll examine this trend and why it is taking hold, and we'll talk with some of the people in Maine whose businesses prioritize these values--some of whom have earned a "benefit corporation" designation for their work in this area.

As hurricanes ravage parts of the South, and we look ahead to storm season, we get advice on preparing for a natural disaster. We’ll discuss climate risk, the increase in more powerful storms, which leads to more flooding and wind damage. We’ll get advice on preparing your home and business, ways to reduce risk, how to make an emergency plan for family and pets, and pre- and post-storm risk mitigation/retrofitting.

Most small businesses in Maine have been struggling due to the pandemic. Governor Mills has announced a $200 million grant program offering financial relief to small businesses and nonprofits, with grant applications due Sept 9th. We'll learn about how small businesses are faring, especially during the summer tourist season, and how they can access relief funds and other aid during these difficult times.

This is a rebroadcast of an earlier show (original air date August 17, 2020); no calls will be taken.

The solvency of Social Security is certain to be a major topic in the upcoming election.  We’ll discuss how and why Social Security was implemented 85 years ago (When FDR signed legislation enacting Social Security, on 8/14/1935, he said, “We have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.”) We’ll learn how the social welfare program is funded, and how the recession/unemployment/the pandemic is impacting current (and future) beneficiaries of the program.

Maine Historical Society

As part of our ongoing coverage of topics related to Maine’s bicentennial, we explore the history of women in Maine. Our state has had a wealth of notable female leaders in diverse fields, from politics to the arts. We discuss some of these women and their legacies, and we look at how movements, such as suffrage, played out in Maine.

Some believe the U.S. Postal Service is under threat. Maine’s Attorney General joined a coalition of states filing suit against the major changes made to the U.S. Postal Service in recent weeks. Customers are feeling the effects of cost-cutting measures: mail is delayed and affecting commerce—recently, dead baby chicks arrived at farms in Maine. Citizens groups are worried that delayed ballots could sow confusion and threaten the integrity of the November election. We’ll discuss the latest news regarding mail-in ballots, delayed deliveries, staffing and funding challenges, and the outlook for this beleaguered government institution.

Loons are a beloved symbol of Maine— Maine has more loons than any other state in the east. We’ll learn about the recent work done by local conservationists to bolster the loon population. They will also discuss ways in which individuals can help with efforts to protect—and appreciate—this iconic species. 

Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Nirav Shah, director, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, joins us for an update on the pandemic and the state’s response. He’ll answer questions about recent outbreaks, face coverings, testing, contact tracing, reopening and more.

We discuss how to handle the inevitable challenges that students and families will have to deal with as they return to school—whether it’s online or in-person. We’ll address the range of issues, from mental health and anxiety to the effects of mask-wearing and distancing—especially on younger kids and those with special needs.