WERU staff will receive training and production assistance from StoryCorps to record conversations between community members of different political beliefs

EAST ORLAND – WERU Community Radio has partnered with StoryCorps, the national nonprofit dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs, as part of StoryCorps’ One Small Step Radio Station Hubs project. WERU is one of five public radio stations across the country selected to receive training and production assistance to collaborate on StoryCorps’ One Small Step initiative, an effort to bring strangers with different political beliefs together for a conversation—not to debate politics, but to get to know each other as people. StoryCorps’ One Small Step and the Radio Station Hubs are made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Learn about WERU and One Small Step here.

“One Small Step is a golden opportunity for WERU to serve the community, and we thank both StoryCorps, for including us in this initiative, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, for its support,” said Matt Murphy, WERU general manager.

“Like the larger One Small Step initiative, which is focused intensively in Anchor Communities, the Radio Station Hubs Program allows us to help bring cities and towns together, one conversation at a time,” said Dave Isay, founder and president of StoryCorps. “We’re grateful to WERU for doing this vital work and to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for making it possible. Together, we can help Americans see one another as human beings again.”

Piloted in 2017 and launched in 2021, One Small Step is a nationwide initiative to remind the country of the humanity in all of us, even those with whom we disagree. The initiative brings strangers with different political views together to record a 50-minute conversation—not to debate politics, but to learn who we are as people. Audio recordings of each interview are archived at the Library of Congress and by StoryCorps. To date, over 3,400 people across 40 states have participated in a One Small Step conversation. Listen to One Small Step interviews here and learn more at takeonesmallstep.org.

Through the One Small Step Radio Station Hubs project, two members of WERU will be trained by StoryCorps staff to facilitate and record conversations between community residents with different political beliefs. The station will also receive program support and a customized set of professional recording equipment for in-person recording, as well as access to StoryCorps’ remote recording platform, which can be used to host conversations virtually. WERU will team up with a variety of community organizations to spread the word about the initiative, and will collaborate with StoryCorps to match participants and record conversations through the end of the year. The project includes a series of public listening events, streamed online, and select interviews will be shared across WERU’s media platforms.

“At a time when our nation is so divided politically, CPB is proud to help StoryCorps expand its One Small Step initiative, which fosters understanding and respect, even among people who deeply disagree” said Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). “In bringing people together, One Small Step helps strengthen our civil society. Public radio stations are a crucial part of the social fabric in their communities and will be instrumental in continuing the success of One Small Step.”

With support from CPB, the five 2023 One Small Step Station Hubs join 24 other

public media stations that have partnered with One Small Step since 2018.

The other 2023 One Small Step Radio Station Hubs are KHOL (Jackson, WY); KRCB (Rohnert Park, CA); KUOW (Seattle, WA); and WVPE (South Bend, IN). 

One Small Step is made possible by the generous support of The Hearthland Foundation, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, The Marcus Foundation, the Walmart Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Fetzer Institute, Stand Together Trust, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Robins Foundation, New Pluralists, and Schwab Charitable Fund made possible by the generosity of Present Progressive Fund. StoryCorps thanks these donors for their commitment to this project and to bridging divides in America. 

On May 1, 1988, WERU began broadcasting at 89.9 FM in Blue Hill, in Noel Paul Stookey’s converted chicken barn. Since then, over 1,200 people have volunteered, on-the-air and behind-the-scenes, and over 100 volunteers currently produce programs featuring many genres of music, as well as public affairs programs like Wabanaki Windows, Talk of the Towns, and The Democracy Forum. WERU’s radio signal reaches all of Waldo and Hancock counties, and parts of Lincoln, Knox, Kennebec, Penobscot, and Washington counties, and its digital platforms (Internet streaming and a Smartphone app) reach well beyond that. Always striving to be “A Voice of Many Voices,” WERU provides diverse programming to lift spirits, raise awareness, and make connections! Learn more at weru.org.  

Founded in 2003, StoryCorps has given over 620,000 people, in all 50 states, the chance to record interviews about their lives. The award-winning organization preserves the recordings in its archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered, and shares select stories with the public through StoryCorps’ podcast, NPR broadcasts, animated shorts, digital platforms, and best-selling books. These powerful human stories reflect the vast range of American experiences, engender empathy and connection, and remind us how much more we have in common than what divides us. StoryCorps is especially committed to capturing and amplifying voices least heard in the media. The StoryCorps MobileBooth, an Airstream trailer that has been transformed into a traveling recording booth, crisscrosses the country year-round gathering the stories of people nationwide. 2023 marks StoryCorps’ 20th anniversary. Learn more at storycorps.org.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private, nonprofit corporation authorized by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally managed and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit cpb.org, follow us on twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and subscribe for email updates.