Volunteer Profile: Kate Manahan, Producer/Host: New Mainers Speak

I have known Kate Manahan for many years; we were mothers with children growing up in Kennebunk, and had a number of mutual friends. Imagine my surprise when I arrived at the orientation session for new trainees one evening, and saw my old friend Kate in the group!

I was thrilled, knowing that Kate’s bright energy and creative spark would be a great addition to the WMPG volunteer corps! But why WMPG? and why now?

Says Kate, “I had been interested in media for a long time. One day, in the shower, actually, something dawned on me about WMPG. I called Lisa and signed up for training that began in about two weeks.”

That evening, after the session, Kate and I sat and brainstormed… she asked “What can I do? I feel I have a lot to offer, but what? You all seem very busy… What do you need more of?

I talked with Kate about the barriers we have found in reaching out to the international communities and new Mainers. A social worker in the Portland Public Schools, she was inspired and excited and “New Mainers Speak” was a show in the making.

This was a huge undertaking, but Kate was energized by the conversations she began having in communities. She was reaching out to people through work in the schools, but she was also stopping in at African grocery stores, restaurants, talking to people and asking for references for future radio guests.

Through her constant networking, Kate has found people, recently arrived in Maine, with fascinating stories to tell. She finds that it is sometimes a challenge to assure potential guests that it is safe to tell one’s story on the radio. “People who are willing to talk will come on the radio… those who still feel in peril will decline.”

Kate finds that producing “New Mainers Speak” takes about 10 to 15 hours per week. She meets weekly with the following week’s guest to talk about their passions, to formulate her questions and also give them the choice of topics to talk about.. and NOT to talk about.

Among the non-radio challenges for Kate has been to master the social media she has built around her new program. Now, with both website and Facebook page in place, Kate says that this is an example of “Me moving into uncharted waters.”

Stories and photos of Kate’s guests along with archived audio of the program ​are online at: ​ ​