July 25, 2021

Kudos to all the news media folks, with printed, television and radio information relayed to us at their own risk of life and limb in going to their stations. They have kept us well informed.

The state is extrememly lucky to have such dedicated people working around the clock to repair all the damage. My heart goes out to all those affected by this storm. Evelyn N. Kalloch, Cushing

I have been struck by the contribution that the management, staff and listenership of WVOM radio (Bangor, 103.9 FM) have made to the people of the region during the crisis brought about by last week’s ice storm. WVOM’s contribution has gone far beyond simply providing expanded local news coverage, with both the station’s owner and local “on-air personalities” taking on microphone and call-in telephone answering duties for extended hours, offering practical crisis advice and directing resources and know-how where most needed.

Even more amazing, the station owner organized a group of intrepid and loyal staff and listeners to carry 4,000 pounds of propane up an ice-covered mountain — fuel for the transmitter’s emergency generator — to ensure the station can continue its work. Station WVOM has earned its trademark “Voice of Maine” title this week.

In contrast to commercial broadcaster WVOM, Maine “Public” Radio has been slow to shift to the local call-in crisis advice format that WVOM adopted as soon as the crisis began. For a considerable period, it chose instead to continue with its regular high-brow programming (which, though favored by relatively few, is tax funded by all). Then, at least in Bangor, it went off the air for a day — apparently MPR’s management and listeners were not prepared or willing to undertake the same sort of extraordinary and risky measures on its behalf as took place at WVOM.

In one area, however, Maine Public Radio has not been slow. With its return to the air Monday, and belated embrace of the call-in community assistance format pioneered by WVOM, it has already picked back up on its familiar self-congratulatory chorus, asking “where else, but on public radio, could one find such a wonderful community resource?,” and again urging listeners to increase its handout at the public trough. Lord save us all from ice storms and from public broadcasting bureaucracies. Joseph T. McOscar Jr. Bangor

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