Ernest Marriner’s “Little Talks on Common Things” is a unique radio series, distinguished as the radio show with the most consecutive broadcasts and being the longest running radio show in the nation with the same sponsor (Keyes Fiber, Waterville). The show began in 1948 when the owner of the WTVL radio station asked Ernest Marriner, Colby professor and later college historian, to do a 15-minute radio show in the time period between two popular talk shows on Sunday evenings. Marriner’s “Little Talks” about Maine history, famous citizens, events and culture acquired such a following that the show continued its run twice every Sunday until June of 1982, a total well exceeding 1,000 broadcasts. The shows grew in popularity so that listeners from all over New England began sending him diaries, newspaper clippings, and documents about Maine life and history as a means of participation.
As a radio personality, Marriner had a unique style, comforting yet authoritative. His immense pride in State of Maine and its people is evident in his “Little Talks.” This unique style is a central factor in understanding Marriner’s “Little Talks” as important cultural artifacts.