Tune into your favorite radio station the second Wednesday of each month, and you just may hear Gov. Mike Leavitt answering a question from one of your fellow Utahns. Better yet, call in and ask one of your own.
After Leavitt was elected, the Utah Broadcasters Association and KSL Radio decided a monthly call-in program would be a great public service. The governor agreed."It gives me a sense of touch with the people," Leavitt said.
"Let Me Speak to the Governor" became a reality in February 1993 and is now simulcast by 14 stations with one station on tape delay.
"I've come to really enjoy the program," Leavitt said. "I think it creates an accessibility to the governor that you can't get through letters."
The popular program has won praise from listeners and station managers.
"I think it is a great way people can get in touch with the governor on an ongoing basis, not just a one-time thing," said Bill Sauer, KKAT 102, KODJ and KALL 910 stations manager. "It shows he is available to the public and committed to the state."
The governor takes questions from callers from 6 to 7 p.m. The next show will be May 11. Leavitt said he includes various staff members during such programs to field any questions that he cannot answer. Staffers find an answer while the caller waits on the line. The governor's Cabinet is also asked to listen to the show and be "on call" by the phone to answer any questions from callers.
The most unique caller to date was an inmate at the Utah State Prison who called to ask the governor about his situation.
But typically, questions deal with news, education, health, crime, fish and game, the environment and other hot topics. On average, the governor handles 16 to 19 calls, but Dale Zabriskie, executive director of the UBA, said the show has become so popular that the switchboard at KSL is lighting up even before Leavitt goes on the air.
The program is totally unedited and has no tape delay, which may create a potentially awkward situation for the governor. Rod Ar-quette, KSL managing editor, said Leavitt handles challenging or cranky callers very well.
KSL produces the program and Questar Corp. pays for the air time. Callers can phone the following numbers to talk to Leavitt: Salt Lake City and surrounding areas: 570-5751; North Davis and Weber Counties, 670-5751; Utah County, 470-5751; and 1-800-451-0895 for the rest of the state.
In addition to his evening program, Leavitt also goes on the air with some of the local morning shows several times a month. The new team of Gary Zane and Scotty Christopher at KKAT FM 101.9 hosts the governor once or twice a month.
"We try to show more of a personal side of the governor," they said.
The team has asked Leavitt about his golf game, vacations, his house and "how he got his kids off the binky."