Friday, February 27, 2009

Volunteers needed for the March membership drive!

From VPR's Ty Robertson:

Whether you’re a native Vermonter, long-time resident or new to the area, volunteering at VPR is a great way to get to know your fellow listeners. You’ll also enjoy getting to meet the on-air and support staff, and an occasional celebrity.

Our greatest need for volunteers comes during the on-air membership drives. Volunteers from around the state come to the Colchester studio to help answer phones and take pledge information. The only requirements are a degree of comfort with the computer and a pleasant phone manner. Typically a volunteer will come in for several hours at a time as their schedule allows. VPR welcomes business groups and community organizations to come help out and enjoy the fun. The busiest times of the day are from 6-9 am and 3-7 pm on the weekdays and during certain popular weekend programs, like Car Talk and Wait, Wait...Don’t Tell Me. Often volunteers from far away will arrange to stay overnight with friends in the Burlington area or plan to help out on a weekend day and make a day-long adventure of it. And, of course, we feed you like there's no tomorrow! Here are the pledge drive dates and times:

March 11-13 and March 16-20:
6-9 am9 to noon
3-7 pm

Saturday, March 14:
8 to noon
noon- 5:15 pm

I still need volunteers for all early morning and late afternoon. Visit this link to sign up for a shift. Click on the link and enter your email address. You'll get an email back from me with a link that says "Sign Up Now/Learn More." Click on that link and you will be taken to the pledge drive calendar where you can sign up for available shifts. Hope to see you there!

Ty Robertson, Special Events Coordinator

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Queen City Radio Hour

The Queen City Radio Hour comes to VPR this Saturday the 28th at 4 p.m. 

Created by Jay Craven, the hour-long program weaves comedy, foot-stompin' music and history into a radio variety show taped before a live audience.  

To learn more about how the program was written and produced and see pictures from the live performance, click here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

President Obama Tonight on VPR

VPR will carry President Obama's address to Congress tonight, followed by the republican response. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has been selected to deliver the republican response.
Americans are looking to the new President for hope in the midst of a declining economy. Read NPR's story here.

Tonight is viewed as a defining moment for Jindal and the republican party. Learn more here.

Listen tonight at 9 on VPR or online at

Monday, February 23, 2009

Robin Turnau in Burlington Free Press

The Burlington Free Press published a profile of VPR's new President, Robin Turnau. Read it here.

VPR's Facebook: The Back Story

VPR recently created a Facebook Page. But it wasn't a decision we made overnight. VPR Staff and Management spent several weeks discussing the implications for staff. If staff members are Friends of VPR on Facebook, their FB pages would become much more public than they had before. VPR staff are a smart bunch, but we sent out an email anyway - with the reminder that our personal FB pages are now a reflection of Vermont Public Radio.

Over the course of the discussion, we learned that other businesses were tackling the same issues, and we found some valuable help at these links:

From the New York Times: "How to friend Mom, Dad and the Boss - Safely"

From Propeller Media Works: "How to balance professional and personal life on Facebook:"

By the way, since VPR's Facebook Page went public just a few days ago, we're pleased to say we have over 1,600 Fans. Click here to visit Vermont Public Radio on Facebook.

Monday, February 16, 2009

More HD Options

We're thrilled to announce that our VPR Classical transmitter at WOXR Burlington 90.9  is now broadcasting in HD.  After the new digital STL boxes are put in place in the next week or so, we'll begin broadcasting VPR's news and information program stream on 90.0-HD2.

In the Upper Valley, you can now listen to the BBC World Service at WVPR 89.5-HD3.

What's all the HD fuss about? Learn more about HD Radio and watch a video demonstration with VPR's David Warren here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Enduring Classics - But Why?

Yesterday afternoon in Middlebury the Mahaney Center for the Arts hosted five young musicians as they auditioned for the 2009 Alan and Joyce Beucher Concerto Competition. Officially, I was there to act as a judge for the event. But on a purely listener level, I couldn't have been more pleased to experience the music I heard being made as each student musician took their turn on the stage. Whether it was the singing lyricality in the DeBeriot and Sibelius violin concertos, the technical fireworks of Ravel's fierce "Tzigane", the violin's evocative yearning in Bruch's g-minor concerto, or the always-elegant loveliness that is Mozart's first flute concerto...there were many moments when music filled the whole golden space of the auditorium and nothing besides that performer, playing that piece, at that moment, seemed to exist.

In the end, a choice had to be made to award one of those performers the opportunity to play their concerto with the Middlebury College Orchestra later this spring. That IS what I was there for, I told myself. And it was humbling to be part of that process.

Afterward, on the drive home, I had some time to reflect on the experience and revisit a long-held conviction that there are good reasons why these pieces of music, often centuries and decades old, endure as 'classics'. One of those reasons is the renewal the music enjoys every time it is learned for the first time, practiced to perfection, and given vital, fresh interpretation at the hands of sensitive and gifted musicians like the ones I had just heard play. It is timeless because it is infinitely adaptable, because it is alive, because it is not satisfied being contained in a single interpretation, like a static snapshot from a past age.

And so, to each one of yesterday's fine young performers, a sincere congratulations: more than learning a concerto, you are contributing to the artistic continuum - you are learning to make music!

Cheryl Willoughby
Dir. of Music Programming

Friday, February 6, 2009

Greetings from Robin Turnau

It is my first week as President of Vermont Public Radio, and I couldn't be more excited. I don't think there exists a finer station in all of public radio. I'm incredibly proud of all we've accomplished in the past and it is an honor to be leading Vermont Public Radio into the future.

I am taking the helm during a rather difficult time for nonprofit organizations, and VPR is not immune from the economic challenges we are all facing. As a result of a significant decline in underwriting and investment revenue, we've revised our budget downward by nearly $800,000. We've acted quickly to reduce expenses, and maintaining our service to listeners is our number one priority. I want to assure you that we're doing it in a way that will protect programming as much as possible. You can learn more about our economic strategy at our website.

My goal for the coming year is to strengthen our service to the communities we serve. Despite the economy - and in fact, because of the economy - our 160,000 listeners are depending on VPR and VPR Classical now more than ever to help them make sense of a complex world and connect to one another during uncertain times.

To all of our members and underwriters, I thank you for your commitment to Vermont Public Radio. Your loyalty and support is what makes me so confident that we'll be able to weather this storm. If you have thoughts or ideas to share, I hope you will get in touch.

Robin Turnau
President & CEO

Monday, February 2, 2009

We plunge because there’s an icy lake calling us to it

This Saturday, February 7, three very warm-blooded and warm-hearted VPR staffers – Jean Ferguson, Mitch Wertlieb and myself – will be diving into the near-freezing waters of Lake Champlain. Why in the world would three otherwise sane individuals consider trading a Saturday morning when they could be nestled warmly in their beds for a jump in the lake?

For one, it is the easiest athletic endeavor to train for. At this very moment, this frost-proof triumvirate is prepping by using the only known training method developed thus far. We fill our bathtubs full of cold water and then add several bags of ice cubes to the pool. Once the temperature of this frosty concoction reaches 33 degrees Fahrenheit, in we plunge. While neighbors bang on the walls to stop the caterwauling emanating from this Artic-like training camp, we remain submerged in the icy brine until we can take it no longer. Probably about a full 6 seconds.

Out we leap from our bathtubs, into a waiting towel before being swaddled in a Snuggie. The ease of training is but one reason for our nonsensical fascination with chilled Champlain. The other is our desire to raise needed funds for a very worthy cause. Jean, Mitch and I are excited to be helping Special Olympics Vermont, the beneficiary of the Penguin Plunge.

Lest you think that the Plunge will be called off if temperatures dip to some obscene number below zero, forget about it. The event will be held no matter how cold it gets and Jean, Mitch and Ric are going in the drink. Trust us, we have already checked for an escape clause in the agreement.

You can support your favorite Plunging Penguin at the following locales:

Thanks to everyone for supporting us. And please feel free to stop by Saturday to bear witness to this madness.

Ric Cengeri
Mid-day host
Vermont Public Radio