Coastal Conversations Radio Program

Coastal Conversations

A new public affairs radio program on WERU Community Radio
Produced with support from Maine Sea Grant and hosted by Natalie Springuel
(guest hosts include Chris Bartlett, Catherine Schmitt.)

What is Coastal Conversations?

Coastal Conversations is a public affairs program that explores current issues facing Maine’s coastal communities through conversations with people who live, work, and play on our coast. From fisheries to tourism, from energy to environment, from economy to ecology, Coastal Conversations goes beyond the social media sound bites, probing deeply into complex issues facing our coast and the creative solutions Maine people are using to solve them.

Tune in to WERU Community Radio (89.9 in Blue Hill and 99.9 in Bangor) on the fourth Friday of each month from 10 to 11 AM and streaming live online at

Audio archives (podcasts) of past shows, studio guest lists, and more, are avialable by show topic below. Podcasts are also available at

2018 Program Topics

February 23, 2018: Seaweed Ecology
January 22, 2018: Biotoxins and Red Tide, From Marine Ecology to Public Health

2017 Program Topics

December 22, 2017: The World of the Maine Oyster
November 24, 2017: Whale Mortalities in the Northwest Atlantic
October 27, 2017: Transportation and Congestion in Acadia National Park
September 22, 2017: Salts & Water, Stories from the Maine Coast
August 25, 2017: Fisheries History at Penobscot Marine Museum
July 28, 2017: The Beaches Conference
June 23, 2017: Alewife Restoration & Monitoring
May 26, 2017: Downeast Fisheries Partnership
April 28, 2017: Sea kayaing safety and stewardship
March 24, 2017: What is the Sutainable Ecological Aquaculture Network?
February 24, 2017: Maine's salt marshes
January 27, 2017: Health insurance for lobstermen

2016 Program Archives

December 23, 2016: Waterfront communities prepare for climate change impacts 
October 28, 2016: Land Conservation in Downeast Maine
Young Mariners Series (Blog about series)
     September 23, 2016: Young Mariners Lead the Fishing Industry
     August 26, 2016: Young Mariners Go to College/Graduate School
     July 22, 2016: Young Mariners Go to Camp
May 27, 2016: World Fish Migration Day and Local Stream Restoration
June 24, 2016: Leave No Trace in Acadia National Park, Stewardship for the Next 100 Years
April 8, 2016 (special show date): Gulls and Seabirds in the Gulf of Maine: How are They Doing?
March 31, 2016: Penobscot Watershed 
February 26, 2016: Experience Maritime Maine
January 22, 2016: Where Have All the Shrimp Gone?
Special 2016 series: Coastal Conversations in Acadia, A special 18-episode series of 3-5 minute shorts in honor of the National Park Centennial

2015 Program Archives

December 25, 2015: Holiday special: Maine Seafood Traditions
November 27, 2015: Maine Scallops, What Makes Them So Great?
October 09, 2015 (special show date): Marine Debris
September 25, 2015: Phenology and Citizen Science on the Coast
August 28, 2015: The University of Maine's Coastal Ocean Observing efforts
July 24, 2015: History, Culture, and Heritage of the Lobster Industry in Maine
June 26, 2015: Coastal Beach Water Quality
May 22, 2015: The Spring Running, Fish Migration in Penobscot River and Bay
April 24, 2015: Maine Fishermen’s Forum, A 40 Year Retrospective
March 27, 2015: Seal and Whale Strandings in Maine, Why They Happen and Why We Respond
February 27, 2015: Green Crabs: Invasion, Impact, and Opportunities
January 23, 2015: Ocean Acidification

Why this radio program?

Maine’s coast is ground zero for issues that are critical to the state’s future. Today’s coastal issues are complex, simultaneously tied to global trends while very local in their impacts.

And the coast is changing. For example, our waterfronts are increasingly slammed by storms. Our fishing industry faces a worrisome future. Our tourists increasingly demand wifi before we can deliver. Demographic changes along the coast sometimes clash with traditional values. Affordable workforce housing in coastal towns is ever more scarce. And potential new coastal industries are confronted with unexpected hurdles.

At the same time, Maine’s people, be they scientists, decision-makers, or neighbors, are at the forefront of innovation when it comes to solving complicated coastal issues. Our schools are spearheading hands on marine education. Our fisheries leaders are experimenting with collaborative management approaches. Our waterfront industries are looking towards cooperation, not just competition. Our research community increasingly branches out of academic silos. Solutions on our coast are multi-faceted, innovative, collaborative, and uniquely Maine.

These kinds of issues need a forum. The challenges are plenty but Maine’s coast is a place where people like to learn from each other and share their successes, resources, and ideas. Coastal Conversations helps listeners make sense of the hot button issues on our coast, and learn about the critical, homegrown approaches to solving them.

About this radio program

Coastal Conversations is produced with help from the University of Maine Sea Grant Program, whose mission is to support Maine’s coastal communities through research, outreach, and education. In partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Maine, Maine Sea Grant brings marine science to Maine people. Coastal Conversations is a direct offshoot of Talk of the Towns, a popular WERU public affairs program hosted since 1993 by Ron Beard, now retired from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Talk of the Towns still airs on the second Friday of each month.

Join us from 10 to 11 AM on the fourth Friday of each month on WERU FM 89.9 in Blue Hill and 99.9 in Bangor, and streaming online at

Our show’s theme music, "A Following Sea," was composed and performed by Paul Anderson.

Find out how to support WERU and the quality programs it broadcasts.

Have a program idea? Contact Natalie Springuel