WFVX and WVII, the Fox and ABC affiliates in Bangor, Maine, has been interviewing Maine’s WWII veterans and letting them tell their stories in their own words. “It is our mission to find each one of them willing to tell their story,” says Jayson Maker, the stations’ promotion manager.
WFVX and WVII, branded as Fox ABC Maine, the Fox and ABC affiliates owned by Rockfleet Broadcasting in Bangor, Maine, has been interviewing Maine’s WWII veterans and letting them tell their stories in their own words.
The idea came from Michael Palmer, the stations’ general manager for going on 25 years, who is “very big on local original programming,” says Jayson Maker, the stations’ promotion manager.
The stations started shooting the interviews in March 2021 and have broadcast five one-hour specials and are working on the next one.
Maker says due to the length of the interviews, on average from six to eight minutes, the segments don’t normally air within the stations’ newscasts, although sound bites are used in the news to promote the specials.
“Since doing the first special, almost all of our veterans have passed and [families] have used these pieces during their funerals,” Maker says.
According to the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, there are 1,181 living WWII veterans in Maine, Maker says. “It is our mission to find each one of them willing to tell their story,” he says. To date, 37 Maine WWII veterans have been interviewed.
Finding the veterans was challenging, he says. The station started checking with area veteran and military groups and even ran promos asking for veterans and their families to contact the station.
“I don’t know how many times family members have looked at us with tears in their eyes after the interview and said that they have never heard their mother or father talk about their time during the service in such detail,” Maker says. “The veterans almost always say ‘I didn’t do anything special’” he adds.