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.


Maine Maritime Museum

Museums are a major draw for locals and visitors to Maine, with a range of offerings, from art to history to culture. These attractions, like many, came to a halt during the pandemic. We'll discuss the challenges museums have been facing these past months, how they are reaching audiences, and what their plans are for the future. We'll also discuss the role that museums play in people's lives—as well as Maine’s economy.

Eviction court cases can resume in Maine on August 3. A recent U.S. Census survey found 9% of Maine residents (29,000 people) could not pay rent in June, and 14% of renters (43,000) expressed concern about being able to pay their July rent. To try to stave off a major eviction crisis, Governor Mills has announced that Maine will be supplementing Maine's rental assistance program with an additional $5 million in order to double monthly payments.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

We discuss the top stories and issues in Maine from the month of July, including: the fatal shark attack;  protests over racial justice; the primary election; and tthe state's ongoing struggle to balance public health and economic health in the face of the pandemic. Also, Senator Angus King joins us for an update on national news, including stimulus aid.

Eric Gay / AP

This show is a rebroadcast of an earlier program (original air date July 14, 2020); no calls will be taken.

The use of face coverings has become a polarizing issue in Maine and nationwide. Now, Gov. Mills has issued stricter guidelines for wearing masks in public places. We discuss the many charged issues involving mask-wearing: medical reasons, state guidelines and enforcement, political symbolism, psychological effects, reasons some cannot wear masks and more.

This show is part of our ongoing coverage of topics relating to Maine's bicentennial, and is the fourth in our series on the history of Maine.

The years from World War I through World War II led to lasting changes in Maine. We'll learn about how the efforts of those on the homefront altered Maine's landscape and industries. We'll also talk about notable Maine leaders of that era, and what impacts the wars and those who fought in them had on Maine's future.

In his latest nonfiction book, "Baseless: My Search for Secrets in the Ruins of the Freedom of Information Act," Maine-based author and journalist Nicholson Baker examines the use and failings of the Freedom of Information Act and describes decades of hidden government misdeeds. Baker shares shocking stories of biological and chemical warfare, international deception, heroic journalists and lawyers who fought to uncover the truth. Because the book is written in memoir form, Baker also adds details about life in Maine along the way.

Bangor Daily News

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap discusses the recent primary election, including how absentee ballots and ranked-choice voting worked out. We'll find out what is in store for the November election, including the debate over a CMP corridor ballot referendum. He'll also offer updates on how well the U.S. Census response has been among Mainers, and he'll answer your motor vehicle questions.

Being at home during the pandemic, many of us have paid more time and attention to what's happening in the natural world around us. In fact, it seems that wildlife is more plentiful and animals are venturing into places that are usually busy with human activity. We will learn how to observe and appreciate natural phenomena during this time, and what to do about wildlife interactions. We’ll also hear about some fun ways—for the young, the old and everyone in between —to appreciate nature, while staying safe.

According to a June 2020 state report, Maine’s 38 colleges and universities educate more than 72,600 students and employ more than 20,000 regular and student employees, generating $2.2 billion in annual revenue. The pandemic is forcing schools to alter their normal schedules and modes of instruction, as well as housing and use of campus space. We'll talk with leaders, educators and students from a range of Maine colleges and universities about what school will look like, how institutions will balance public health with financial health, and how people are reacting to the planned change. And we'll discuss the impact of college decisions on the Maine communities that surround them.

Whether or not to re-open K-12 schools for in-person instruction in the fall has become a heated national debate. We’ll examine what factors are being considered in Maine, from public health concerns to the role schools play in providing instruction and support to families. We will hear from state leadership, educators, a health professional, students and parents to explore the complex dilemma of how to keep kids learning during the Covid-19 pandemic.

From the start of the pandemic, with people staying home, those who work in the performing arts have lost their audiences and, most often, their sources of income. From musicians to actors to dancers to theater staff, it has been a particularly trying time for this creative segment in Maine. We discuss how they are faring, and what ways some have found to pivot.

All discussions about the end of the Covid-19 pandemic hinge on having a viable vaccine. We examine what it will take for this coveted vaccine to reach the stage where it can be widely administered, and can offer the necessary protection that will enable people worldwide to begin to return to normal life. We'll learn how research is progressing, how safety and efficacy will be tested, what it will take for the vaccine to be administered en masse, and how long it takes to be effective. And the big question: When can we expect all of this to happen?

Unsolicited Press / Macmillan

As part of the annual READ ME program, we discuss books and hear from different authors about their recommendations for good summer reads. READ ME is a statewide community reading program in which one well-known Maine author recommends two books by other Maine authors. This year, author Lily King ("Writers and Lovers," "Euphoria") has chosen "Roughhouse Friday" by Jaed Coffin and "The Vigilance of Stars" by Patricia O’Donnell.

Since the pandemic began, instances of domestic abuse have been on the rise, as those who are vulnerable face additional challenges. Not only are people confined at home more, increasing the likelihood of abuse, but shelters and support systems are harder to access due to COVID-19. We’ll talk with local experts about who is being affected and how they can access help. We’ll also hear about a new campaign in Maine to call attention to the prevalence of domestic violence.

Frances Perkins, whose roots were in Maine, is remembered as “the woman behind the New Deal.” As FDR’s Secretary of Labor and the first woman to serve as a cabinet secretary, Perkins was the driving force behind the policies that pulled the nation out of The Great Depression of the 1930s. We discuss how her pioneering work on behalf of the rights of workers and the middle class is relevant today, as we face a similarly dire economic crisis due to the pandemic. This show is part of our ongoing covering of topics relating to Maine’s bicentennial.