Jennifer Rooks

Public Affairs Host & Producer

Jennifer walked into her college radio station as a 17-year-old freshman and never looked back. Even though she was terrified of the microphone back then — and spoke into it as little as possible — she loved the studio, the atmosphere and, most of all, the people who work in broadcasting. She was hooked. Decades later, she’s back behind the radio microphone hosting Maine Public Radio’s flagship talk program, Maine Calling. She’s not afraid of the mic anymore, but still loves the bright, eclectic people she gets to work with every day.

Jennifer joined MPBN in June 2007 after spending more than 13 years at WCSH-TV in Portland as a general assignment reporter and weekend news anchor. She has twice won a regional Edward R. Murrow award: in 1998, for coverage of Maine National Guard and Reserve soldiers deployed in Bosnia and Hungary, and in 2003, for the documentary Citizen King, about then-governor and former Maine Watch host Angus King.

For six years, Jennifer served as host, reporter and executive producer of Maine Watch with Jennifer Rooks. She has moderated more than 20 broadcast debates for Maine Public Television and has produced three television documentaries: Broken Trust: Elder Abuse in Maine and Winds of Change, both Maine Watch Special Reports, and A Matter of Duty: The Continuing War Against PTSD. Co-produced with Charlie Stuart, A Matter of Duty has been shown on PBS television stations throughout the U.S. and in multiple screenings, including at the National Sheriff’s Association national conference.

Jennifer grew up outside Atlanta, Georgia. She earned her B.A. from the University of Virginia and her master’s in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley. She worked at television stations in San Francisco and Monterey, California, before coming to Maine. She and her husband Mike have two teenagers.

Ways to Connect

Rebecca Conley / Maine Public

Watch the debate between incumbent Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R) and Emily Cain (D); moderated by Maine Public's Jennifer Rooks.

Arctic Climate Change
AP Photo/John McConnico

As the sea ice in the Arctic continues to melt, large areas of water are opening up,and the prospect of an “artic passage” is drawing much interest from commercial shipping companies and from the governments and military forces of northern nations.

A group called the Arctic Council — dedicated to shaping a peaceful future for the region, is holding a high level meeting in Portland this week.

Overtime Rules

Sep 5, 2016

 Listen to our rebroadcast of this earlier show on the new overtimes rules:

New federal rules regarding overtime pay go into effect later this year. We’ll discuss what they will mean for businesses small and large, how individuals can make sure they are being paid appropriately and what recourse they have if they believe they are not.


Doug Currier, attorney at Verrill Dana

Pamela Megathlin, Director of the Bureau of Labor Standards, Maine Department of Labor

Birding in Maine

Aug 30, 2016

Listen to a rebroadcast of our earlier show on birding:

Look, up in the sky, it’s a bird.  But what kind of bird?  And where are the best places to bird-watch?  We’ll discuss the spring bird migration and also share tales of birding in Maine with highly esteemed birding experts.

A look at the life of a long-serving Maine Game Warden and the issues currently facing game wardens.

Guests:  Roger Guay served with the Maine Warden Service from 1986 to 2010.

What’s new and different at farmers’ markets across the state of Maine.  We’ll hear from a cross-section of farmer’s markets in the state about what they offer and how they’ve changed over the years as well as the challenges and opportunities they face.

Guests:  Leigh Hallett, Executive Director, Maine Federation of Farmers' Markets

Zizi Vlaun, Center for Ecology Based Economy

Mark Guzzi, farmer at Peacemeal Farm (Orono, Bangor, and Belfast FMs)

Former Diplomat and U.S. Ambassador to Chad Larry Pope and American University in Cairo professor of international security and conflict management Allison Hodgkins spoke Tuesday with Maine Public Radio's Jennifer Rooks about the threat ISIS poses and why they believe it may not be as great as is often reported:

Our favorite car experts return to talk about the latest cars they’ve tested, the on-going VW emissions saga, and to answer listener questions about new & used car buying.  And you’ll learn about Ford has revolutionized the cup holder.


Guests:  Jamie Page Deaton, Auto Editor for U.S. News & World Report

  John Paul, AAA New England Spokesperson and Master Mechanic

We listen back to one of our most popular programs.  Learn which books should make your summer reading list.


Josh Bodwell, executive director of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance

Is it possible that human beings may soon live to the age of 150? One of the nation’s leading longevity researchers says “absolutely.”

Dr. Steven Austad is speaking at the MDI Biological Lab at 7 p.m. Thursday. You can hear the entire Maine Calling interview with Dr. Austad and Dr. Aric Rogers by clicking here.

International financial markets, as well as markets here in the states, continue to process last week's economic implications of the Brexit vote.  MPBN's Jennifer Rooks asked Janine Cary, President and State Director of International Trade at the Maine International Trade Center, for her take on events and how they could impact Maine companies...

One in five women in the U.S. will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.  We’ll discuss what are we learning about why this is, what is being done to address this shocking statistic, and how other cultures deal with issues of consent, assault and sexuality. We’ll also explore what is meant by the phrase “rape culture” and how it might be changed.


Guests:  Shana Natelson, Speak About It - Executive Director

  Doris Santoro, Associate Professor of Education, Bowdoin College

Recently, a personal finance website, Nerdwallet, named Maine the 11th most entrepreneurial state.  Its a particularly good place to grow start-ups from the "seed" stage, say advocates.  Yesterday marked the beginning of "Start Up and Create" week, and the theme is "Design and innovation". Jennifer Rooks spoke with. Charles Lawton Chief economist with Planning Decisions Inc, about why he believes Maine has emerged as an entrepreneur-friendly environment"

The personal-finance website NerdWallet has ranked Maine as the 11th “most entrepreneurial” state.  What are the right ingredients to encourage entrepreneurs and to help them succeed?  On the first day of the Maine ‘Start Up and Create’ week, we discuss entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation in the state.