Friday, October 31, 2008

Can I listen to VPR and VPR Classical on my iPhone?

I'm asked this question more and more lately and the answer is yes (if you want to pay $5.99) and almost (if you want to get it for free). First, the free solution.

VPR is part of a public radio initiative, spearheaded by American Public Media, to launch the Public Radio Tuner. The Public Radio Tuner will allow anyone to listen to the participating public radio streams via the iPhone and iPod Touch, including VPR and VPR Classical. This iPhone application will be FREE and available via the iTunes Store. It's not yet ready, but we expect it to be released in just a few weeks. We'll let listeners know once it's available.

If you can't wait a few weeks, there are already applications in the iTunes store that will allow you to listen to any online streams via the iPhone and iPod Touch. They aren't free, and I can't vouch for them, but they're available for about $6 and I've heard they work well. Search the iTunes Store for 'internet radio tuners' and you should have some luck.

If you have any questions about all the ways you can listen to VPR and VPR Classical, send us an email. Once the Public Radio Tuner is available we'd love to hear your feedback on that, too.

Jonathan Butler
Online Manager
Vermont Public Radio

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jamming at Champlain College

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the VPR table at the Vermont 3.0 Creative-Tech Career Jam last Saturday. It was a blast to meet so many enthusiastic listeners and talk with you about career opportunities at VPR. This is an exciting event that we'll continue to attend.

Until the next Jam, check out this video postcard by Seven Days on the Jam, and perspectives on Vermont becoming a creative-tech hotbed.

Friday, October 24, 2008

We do this every day... with your support!

It's early Friday afternoon and I've been listening to the radio all morning, switching between VPR and VPR Classical. More than once I've had to remind myself what I'm NOT hearing today: the membership drive! Thanks to more than 7,000 VPR listeners who contributed over the last week or so, we were able to end the drive a whole day early and wrap it up very successfully yesterday evening.

But even on a day like today, when it's 'business as usual' at VPR, it's far from usual: Walter Parker is playing Beethoven's 6th Symphony on VPR Classical, even as VPR's "On Point" features Sheila Lukins talking about America's changing cuisine. And earlier this morning, at the same time I was on the air playing music from the Boston Camerata (they'll be here in concert over the weekend), Mitch was in the nearby studio talking about the falling cost of heating oil, and the gubenatorial campaign. We do this every day. And yet it's unusual because VPR has the incredible, constant support of its listenership behind BOTH of our two unified yet distinct radio services. Thank you for helping us to serve you better. VPR's listeners are simply the best anywhere!

Cheryl Willoughby
Interim Director of Programming

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pictures from a VPR Membership Drive

We're less than $100,000 away from meeting VPR's overall membership drive goal of $560,000.

In addition to raising the money needed to pay for programming, membership drives are a terrific touchstone. It's an opportunity to really step back and think about what public radio means to us, and hear from listeners what it means to them.

For this reason, membership drives can actually be quite fun. We've been taking pictures during the drive and I thought I'd share them with you. Check out our drive photo album here.

There has been a truly remarkable outpouring of support over the last week, and it is both humbling and reassuring to see how important a role VPR's service plays in this region. Thank you.

Friday, October 17, 2008

VPR Connecting the (Red Sox) Community

A mere few hours after the Boston Red Sox made the biggest postseason comeback in 79 years, overcoming a 7-0 deficit to win 8-7, forcing a Game 6 in the American League Championship Series, Morning Edition host Mitch Wertlieb lamented on the air about how he had given up and gone to bed. It wasn't until I popped my head into the studio at 8 a.m. that Mitch found someone who had stayed up to see the incredible rally. He was so impressed that he reported this on the air.

An hour later, Mitch sends me this email:

"I just got a phone call from Stu Curry, a 57-year old listener from Chester. He heard me mention that I had "finally found a Red Sox fan who stayed up to watch the entire historic Red Sox comeback victory over the Rays last night...VPR's own Michelle Jeffery watched the whole game...and never gave up hope." Stu wanted me to know that he too kept believing and also stayed tuned to the entire game, and was witness to the 8-run, come-from-behind victory that occurred after the Sox were down 7-0 in the 7th inning, facing elimination from the playoffs.

Stu was delighted that VPR covered the story so enthusiastically and related many of his own Red Sox memories, including live attendance at notorious Sox losses like the Buck Dent home run in the 1-game playoff against the Yankees in 1978, and the Aaron Boone home run off Tim Wakefield in the 2003 ALCS that also had the Yankees breaking Red Sox' fans hearts.

But Stu wanted me to know he was also at Fenway Park for game 4 of the ALCS against the Yankees in 2004 when Dave Roberts stole second against Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the 9th and was brought home by Bill Mueller's single...all of which led to Big Papi's 12th-inning game winning HR and the eventual first-time-in-baseball history that a team overcame a 3-0 series deficit to win a playoff in 7 games.

What a great example of a VPR listener reacting to and fostering a moment of connection, wanting to relate his own story to one he heard on VPR, and appreciating the enthusiasm in reporting a story he also cares about passionately. It's really what public radio does best."

During membership drives we're always looking for ways to describe how public radio connects us to one another. Thanks, Stu and Mitch, for demonstrating this so beautifully.

Playoffs + Pledge Drives = Poetry

So, here's the thing: if we're very lucky, Red Sox Nation's VPR Chapter gets to cheer on our beloved team in the playoffs while simultaneously working long hours to put on VPR's October membership drive. Over the years, we've found that writing baseball haikus to one another helps to clear our minds of worrying about the Sox so that we can focus on the drive. A few highlights from yesterday:

Mitch Wertlieb, Morning Edition Host:
The Dice-K readies
Red Sox fate in the balance
May he pitch a gem

Joe Goetz, VPR Classical Host:
We've done it before
Gotta keep that faith, baby
Ha, yeah, sure, okay....

Fred Child, Performance Today Host (at RSN's American Public Media HQ):
The Rays had their fun
Tonight their hubris will fall
Fooled by gyroballs

Please, no more meatballs
I prefer champagne instead
Down 3-1? No prob.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

But was Frost a philanthropist?

VPR Commentator Philip Baruth
VPR's recent series about Robert Frost was a favorite with many listeners. But was Frost a philanthropist? VPR Commentator Philip Baruth produced this tongue in cheek story about Frost and public radio.

Click here to listen to Philip Baruth's faux-take on Frost.

Franny Bastian,
Promotions Producer
Vermont Public Radio

Monday, October 13, 2008

Behind the Scenes of a Live Performance at VPR

Walter Parker hosted not one, but two live classical performances here at Vermont Public Radio studios last Friday - the first by Boston-based ensemble A Far Cry with flutist Karen Kevra, and in the second by cellist Allison Eldredge and pianist Yoshie Akimoto. If you missed them or just want to hear them again, click here to listen online and see photos.

The telltale sign that you're hearing a perfectly engineered live performance is, well...nothing. The listener notices nothing except for seamless, clear, perfectly balanced, beautiful music. But it takes hours of preparation to pull off a live performance (not to mention two in one day!). We think no one does it better than our own Sam Sanders, one of our production engineers.

Prep work starts well in advance of the performance when Sam sets up the performance studio for the guests. Musicians normally arrive at least an hour before the performance to tune up and do a sound check.

Walter and Sam listen from the control room next door to make sure the sound is just right. If anything needs tweaking, Sam works with the musicians to shift their positions so that everything is perfect for air time.

Listen and enjoy!

Friday, October 10, 2008

VPR and VPR Classical guests, together

You never know who you'll run into when you visit the studios of Vermont Public Radio.

Pictured below are Vermont Congressman Peter Welch (far right), guest on today's Vermont Edition on VPR, talking with members of the Boston-based string ensemble A Far Cry, fresh from their live performance on Classical with Walter Parker on VPR Classical.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Interactive map: Audio Postcards from Vermont Towns

VPR News has an ongoing project to create Audio Postcards from Vermont Towns. For example, here's the Audio Postcard from the state capital, Montpelier.

So far we've covered 27 cities and towns and now they're all plotted on an interactive Google Map. From the map, you can see all of the towns and click right through to the Audio Postcards.

Is your town not on the map? Send us an email and tell us what makes your town special and who we should talk to when we're there.

Visit for more about this Special Series: Audio Postcards from Vermont Towns.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mark Vogelzang Takes Your Questions

Tune in tonight at 7 p.m. for Reactionline with VPR President Mark Vogelzang. He'll take your questions and comments about VPR and VPR Classical. If you'd like to ask your question in advance, click here.

Hope you can tune in! If not, the program will be available online after the broadcast here.

Let us know what you think!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

VPR Classical Goes on the air in the NEK

I'm thrilled to report that our newest VPR Classical station WVTI 106.9 is now broadcasting from the Island Pond/Brighton area. The station went on the air just before 4 p.m. yesterday afternoon and is the first analog VPR Classical station to serve the Northeast Kingdom.

Because WVTI uses a directional antenna, the FCC requires that we operate at 50% power for up to 10 days so that they can verify that there are no interference problems with the new pattern. Once we receive notification from them we will increase to full power. Also, as with any new transmitter there will inevitably be some testing and tweaking of the new frequency, so don't worry if the station goes on and off the air intermittently over the next couple of weeks.

Here's the coverage map - we hope you'll tune in and let us know how it sounds! Find out other ways to hear VPR Classical at our website.

Wondering just what happens up there to make the magic of radio happen? Check out these photos, taken by our engineering crew.

And if you have the stomach for it, take a virtual ride with our intrepid broadcast engineer Mike Seguin as he drives to the summit of Paradis Mountain, where the transmitter is located: