Radio is a favorite medium. My interest was spurred by courses at UMaine and by hosting “Electric Circus” Saturday nights on WMEB-FM. That’s when my then girlfriend and I produced a 13-part reading of the Hobbit, but we were too poor to purchase the reel-to-reel tapes needed for long-term storage, so the reading was recycled.

Later, as part of my 30-year career with University of Maine Cooperative Extension, I produced and hosted programs for WERU Community Radio. Then, as now, WERU featured the voices of community leaders making a difference at the local level, whether as elected officials or through non-profit work. Some of those contacts became my focus in Extension through community and organizational development. In fact, that is one of my connections to The History Trust; I helped with some early strategic planning and work on mission and vision.

I have continued hosting “Talk of the Towns” during retirement, most recently with guests from The History Trust on October 14. During the interview we explored the origins of the Trust, learning why it was important to create a new organization given that there are many local organizations that preserve historical records and objects. I asked our guests to describe the 12 institutions that have come together to create the Trust, and how it all works!

I love the intimacy of radio…and its immediacy, airing important views and perspectives, sharing what seems to work. COVID-19 has kept us out of the WERU studio in lieu of shows recorded by Zoom. I look forward to returning to our dynamic live format with phone calls from listeners.

Here’s an abbreviated version of host Ron Beard’s interview via Zoom with Pauline Angione and Raney Bench of Mount Desert Island Historical Society; Bruce Jacobson, History Trust Project Manager; and Helene Tuchman from Tremont Historical Society.

20-minute “Talk of the Towns” – The History Trust, 14 October 2020

Or, listen to the 60-minute “Talk of the Towns” WERU archive version.

~ Photo: Ron Beard (left) hosts a live “Talk of the Towns” in the WERU studio, 2018.

Ron Beard has hosted a variety of public affairs radio programs on WERU Community Radio ( since 1992, including the long-running “Talk of the Towns,” which airs on the second Wednesday of each month from 4-5 PM. He first hosted the show as part of his community building work with University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Ron is an adjunct faculty member at College of the Atlantic, teaching courses on community development and is board chair for Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor, where he has lived since 1975.