July 20, 2004 - The job interview at VPR was scheduled to start at 9am. I had caught a late flight the previous night from my home in Los Angeles, and arrived at the station around 8:45 that morning more tired than nervous. (Probably a good thing my flight had been so late!) In that short time I already realized that Vermont was one of the most beautiful places I'd ever seen.
A little before 9 I was ushered into the Performance Studio with the rest of the staff, and after a short announcement there was a moment of silence followed by a brilliant brass fanfare: Vermont Public Radio's new 24-hour classical service, VPR Classical, was officially on the air! The staff cheered and there was a toast all the way around for the tremendous effort (ours, AND yours!) it had taken to reach that landmark achievement.
Later that summer I was very happy to find I would be moving here to become VPR Classical's first employee. I've thought back many times to that special July 20th, and how fortuitous it seemed at the time to have my interview on the very day the new station went on the air.
This morning with another successful membership drive having just ended around an hour ago, I find myself thinking again to that summer day five years ago and reflecting on how far strong listener support has allowed us to come in the time since then: Vermont Public Radio now has separate, dedicated services to serve the community's interests more fully. Our redesigned website supports all of the on-air efforts and offers a world of discovery and learning in its own right. It adds a visual dimension to everything you hear in our radio programs.
Work also continues on building VPR Classical into a regionwide service, with an opportunity right now to create a full-power signal in Addison County. VPR Classical now has three full-time employees, the most classical hosts the station has ever had. Between VPR and VPR Classical, we have more listeners now (182,000+ week) than ever. And thanks to continuing listener support and CD donations our music library expands almost daily to become an even richer and deeper resource.
We're celebrating VPR Classical's anniversary today. From all of us on this side of the radio, here's a big thanks to you for the last five years and for many more ahead!
PS: (I still think Vermont is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.)