Host: Matt Murphy
Facilitators: Michele Christle and Chris Battaglia
Engineer and Producer: Pepin Mittelhauser
Additional Help: Joel Mann
Guests: Karla and John, Melissa and Christa, Phil and Sue
Theme Music: “Two Dollar Token” by Blue Dot Sessions
Back in June 2023, we put out a call. We were looking for people who were willing to come together for an hour-long facilitated conversation with a stranger with different viewpoints, during which they would be invited to get to know each other as people, through listening to each other’s stories. As you can imagine, the response was mixed. But by the end of 2023, over a hundred people had signed up to participate.
WERU brought on two local contractors to conduct outreach, recruit strangers, wrangle participants, scout locations, and facilitate, record, and archive One Small Step conversations: Chris Battaglia and Michele Christle. They also did a lot of deep reflecting on the project at large and its implications—for their communities and themselves.
We recorded 25 One Small Step conversations with 50 participants from 37 towns in 15 different locations/venues (as well as two virtual conversations)—all the way from Falmouth to Presque Isle. Participants laughed, cried, disagreed, found common ground, and sometimes, exchanged contact information.
This program was a live broadcast with One Small Step Facilitators Chris Battaglia and Michele Christle, and Station Manager Matt Murphy, on January 31 2024, from 4–5 p.m. Participants and community members joined the conversation by phone, and joined in discussing experiences with the project, personal takeaways, and how the project has affected them since.
Chris Battaglia (he/him) has produced multimedia and storytelling for 15 years, working with many local businesses and nonprofits. His work has been funded by the New England Foundation for the Arts, the Kindling Fund via SPACE’s national regranting program through Andy Warhol Foundation, Maine Community Foundation, and the Maine Arts Commission. You can learn more at chrisbattaglia.info.
Michele Christle (she/her) is a freelance writer whose work focuses on ecology, culture, and place. Her writing has been published in Eater, Down East, Insider, and The Kenyon Review. She served in the Peace Corps in Cameroon, received an MFA in Creative Writing from UMass Amherst, and has worked in nonprofit storytelling and communications—locally and internationally—for 15 years. You can learn more at michelechristle.com.