District #113 State Representative Scott Landry, left, and 2nd Congressional District House Representative Jared Golden, right, joined Tom Saviello, center, on Thursday, Oct. 8, during his call-in radio show that airs on WKTJ every Thursday from 8:20 to 8:50 a.m. Andrea Swiedom/Franklin Journal

FARMINGTON — For the past 14 years, Wilton resident Tom Saviello has informed and entertained his community through local broadcasting stations WKTJ and Mt. Blue TV.

Every Thursday morning, Saviello joins WKTJ radio station owner Rick Reeves for 30 minutes to answer rapid-fire, call-in questions that have ranged from inquiries about silverware at the Franklin County Jail to nepotism among county officials.

“There’s no filter, none, no eight second delay,” Saviello said.

The Tom Saviello radio show was first developed in 2010 when he served in the Legislature as a senator for eight years, with the idea that residents within his 17th district could call in with questions and concerns.

“If I don’t know the answer, I don’t make something up. I say, I’ll find out, let me get back to you on the next show,” he said.

When Saviello retired from the Legislature in 2018, he withdrew from WKTJ since he could no longer answer people’s questions with the authority of the state senate. After a two year hiatus, Saviello was beckoned to come back by Reeves and listeners that missed the quirky show.

“Part of it was that it was missed because people loved the show,” Saviello said. “People would tune in just to laugh because different people would call in with different concerns, and they would tune in just to chuckle.” 

On Sept. 7, Saviello returned to the air, offering his candid opinions on issues and answering random questions to the best of his ability.

“I’m not running for anything, Saviello said. “There is no political motive here. I just have fun doing it,” 

Now, Saviello transfers some of the pressure of answering call-in questions onto guests that he brings on the air with him. Most recently, he hosted 2nd Congressional District House Representative Jared Golden whom Saviello immediately questioned on the status of another federal coronavirus relief package.

As the show continued, a screeching microphone feedback interrupted Golden’s response. Saviello quickly resolved the situation by making a joke, telling listeners they were trapped in white noise. Later, the power went out in the station for a few seconds and when the crew was back on air, Saviello made a witty remark about Central Maine Power Company.

Tom Saviello interviews 2nd Congressional District House Representative Jared Golden on the Mt. Blue TV Talkin Maine show that aired Thursday, October 8. Andrea Swiedom/Franklin Journal

After the radio show, Saviello makes his way to Mt. Blue TV’s (MBTV) studio at the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) where he hosts Talkin Maine, a show that features a different community member every week. One of Saviello’s most memorable projects with Talkin Maine was a compilation of interviews he had with 26 World War II veterans.

The production of Talkin Maine is also reflective of the community that Saviello is so intrigued by. MBTV is a local, Farmington TV station that provides an opportunity for residents of the area to produce their own show. With MBTV’s studio housed on the UMF campus, students are also able to complete work-study programs with the station to learn more about media production.

Saviello was also intent on mentioning that even the painted landscape and capital building backdrop to Talkin Maine, is the result of community member and painter Nancy Teel.

“She got tired of seeing the black background,” Saviello said. “She sadly passed away from breast cancer, but it’s beautiful, it’s the backdrop of our show.” 

To ensure that interviews remain accessible to the public, Saviello allows all of his shows to be viewed as free Vimeo videos that can then be shared on individuals’ and organizations’ Facebook pages. That way community information can continue to be shared across several platforms.

Saviello managed to double book Golden last week who also appeared on Talkin Maine and was able to discuss, in more detail, his first-term experience of serving as a house representative.

While Saviello seems unphased by his back to back shows, he said that keeping the conversation flowing with a guest has always been his biggest struggle. Often, he is so focused on the next question that he has difficulty retaining everything a guest has said. Often, Saviello said that he rewatches his shows just to grasp more of his guest’s interview.

In the past six months, Saviello has also experienced the additional challenges that the pandemic poses. Booking guests has become a major difficulty as people are traveling less and events are canceled. 

“I had shows booked all the way up until the end of May before COVID hit,” he said.

To watch Talkin Maine, tune in to Charter/Spectrum Cable TV channel 1301  or visit https://www.mtbluetv.org/. The Tom Saviello radio show airs every Thursday on WKTJ 99.3 FM at 8:20 a.m.

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