Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Vermont Mozart Festival Closes Its Doors

Sad news today for Vermont's arts community: The Vermont Mozart Festival is closing its doors next month.

Every summer for 37 years, the VMF featured world-class performances in beautiful and historic locations around the state. But in spite of the great public support for the festival, ticket sales have steadily declined. Two seasons of rain during difficult economic times made the situation worse. And while fundraising has been strong, it wasn't able to make up the difference. You can read the full press release here.

VPR Classical's Cheryl Willoughby had Artistic Director Gil Shohat on her program back in July. You can listen to that conversation here. (Picture above is of Mr. Shohat performing on VPR Classical last year).

Monday, December 20, 2010

Beautiful Voices for the Holidays

We had such a great time last Friday at VPR's annual Winter Concert. Bella Voce gave a wonderful performance - you can see photos from the event below!

The music and celebration continues this week. Listen tomorrow night at 9 for Paul Winter’s 30th Winter Solstice Celebration live from New York City. Christmas Even starts with Willem Lange’s Favor Johnson at 7:50 a.m., followed by A Christmas Carol told by Willem at noon, A Vermont Christmas with Counterpoint at 8 pm, and then Holiday Jazz until midnight. Christmas morning brings A New England Christmas with Willem Lange at 9:30am.

On VPR Classical, tonight at 8 we'll hear L’enfance du Christ on In Concert @ 8. A few other highlights include the Rose Ensemble at 8 p.m. tomorrow, Magnificent Magnificats with Joe Goetz at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Echoes of Christmas Thursday at 8 p.m. followed by A Chanticleer Christmas at 9. We’ll hear the annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols live from King’s College in England on Christmas Eve at 10 a.m., and A Vermont Christmas with Counterpoint at 8 p.m.

You'll find our full holiday schedule online here, and best wishes to you for a joyous, peaceful, and healthy holiday season!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Not Your Regular Vermont Band

When you think of bands from Vermont, Phish, The Samples and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals probably come to mind. You usually don't envision a band of teenage brothers from Arlington, VT who just got off the road opening for Justin Bieber.

But that's Burnham - comprised of brothers Alex, Andre and Forrest Burnham. They were signed a year ago to Island Def Jam Records and right now have a digital EP out with three of their pop rock tunes. They've been getting airplay on Top 40 stations and have made the charts on Radio Disney.

With a few weeks of down time before their musical career takes them off in another direction, we've invited the brothers to stop by VPR and play a few of their songs. You can hear them today on Vermont Edition at Noon and 7 pm.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bella Voce Live On VPR Classical

This Friday morning at 11 the Bella Voce Women's Chorus will perform live on VPR Classical for our annual winter concert. We can't wait!

I talked with director Dawn Willis recently about the program they were planning, and she mentioned they had been rehearsing this music since August. I don't want to give it all away but I can tell you Bella Voce will be offering their own twist on classics like Here We Come a-Wassailing and Angels We Have Heard On High, along with a newly commissioned work that reflects on wintertime in the frozen tundra.

Listen in to VPR Classical at 11 this Friday morning for a special winter celebration with Dawn Willis and Bella Voce.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Opera Quiz

Every so often on Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, we like to add a little intrigue to the show. (As if opera doesn't have enough of that already!) Last weekend Peter and Sam cooked up an interesting puzzler, they played three short pieces of music, and offered only one hint: the soprano singer was a famous Wagnerian opera star.

Well, since then we've learned a bit more about the mystery voice. She's American (a Missouri native), and sang throughout the 1930s, 40s, and 50s on stages including the Metropolitan Opera. She also distinguished herself as a guest on popular TV shows with Jack Benny and Ed Sullivan. A diehard baseball fan, at one point she became part owner of her hometown team, the St. Louis Browns. For her notable contributions to the recording industry, she even has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Give up?

The mystery voice is.....................Helen Traubel!

We heard from many of you with your guesses, but we only had one right answer: congratulations to Letitia H. Rydjesky of Randolph, who will be receiving a copy of Peter Fox Smith's book A Passion for Opera.

Thanks to everyone who participated in our opera quiz. We'll do it again sometime!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Have Your (Fruit) Cake And Read It, Too!

Commentator Willem Lange’s story of Favor Johnson has been a holiday tradition on Vermont Public Radio for more than a decade. It’s the heart-warming story of a Vermont farmer, his dog Hercules, homemade fruitcake, and the real spirit of Christmas.

When you make a year-end pledge of $144 (or $12/month) by December 10th, we’ll thank you with Willem’s hard-cover illustrated children’s book version of Favor Johnson. Plus, we’ll send along an Old Cavendish fruitcake to enjoy while you read! We'll ship the book to arrive by December 22.

Share this classic tale with your loved ones while investing in another great year of in-depth news, stories, and music on VPR and VPR Classical. Please make your tax-deductible gift today.

Warmest wishes for the season from all of us here at VPR!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

VPR Classical Photo Caption Contest II

By now you may have seen our series of VPR Classical posters online or in your community! Just how do Walter Parker, Joe Goetz, and Cheryl Willoughby come to look so perfect and warm and fun-loving, you might ask?

They don't. Well - not right away. As even the most casual photographer knows, getting the right shot - especially with a group of people - usually takes a bit of time. We eventually got our shot, but not before we got some hilarious outtakes! What a fun afternoon. Check out the photos below, courtesy of the VPR's lovely and talented Ty Robertson.

Then, hop on over to VPR's Facebook page where we're having a caption contest! Add your caption to the comments under the photo, and the caption that gets the most "likes" from your fellow Facebookers wins a new VPR stainless steel travel mug.

(If you haven't seen the final product, check the posters out here, where you can also download some to post in your community!)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bring VPR To The Table This Thankgiving!

We hope you’ll invite VPR to your table to celebrate Thanksgiving. After all, we’re just like family…except we won’t take the last slice of pumpkin pie or overindulge on the wine and make inappropriate comments. Heck, we’ll even help with the cooking!

Listen Thursday from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. for Turkey Confidential from The Splendid Table. Lynne Rossetto Kasper will be available to answer your cooking questions live. Quickly becoming a Thanksgiving morning tradition, past shows have included everything from a cross-country trucker cooking his Thanksgiving dinner on the manifold to a panicked first-time cook who didn't realize a turkey needs to be thawed. Lynne will be joined by renowned chef and food advocate Jamie Oliver; restaurateur and PBS host José Andrés, wine entrepreneur Joshua Wesson, and restaurant guides Jane and Michael Stern. Call with your questions at 1-800-537-5252 or learn more here.

Check out the rest of our Thanksgiving program lineup below, and you’ll find our full holiday schedule online here. From all of us at VPR, we wish you a warm, safe, and enjoyable holiday!

Thursday, November 26: Giving Thanks With John Birge
7-8 p.m. on VPR; 8-10 p.m. on VPR Classical

Host John Birge creates a thoughtful, contemporary reflection on the meaning of the holiday. This year, he’s joined by author Deepak Chopra, who reflects on gratitude in India, his pilgrimage to America, and shares poems of thanks by Rumi. The program also features food writer Nigella Lawson on the tradition of feasting, and brings along suggestions for turkey leftovers.
The program also features classical music, including Simple Gifts from Yo-Yo Ma, a hymn of Thanksgiving from Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony, the autumnal lyricism of Mark O'Connor's American Seasons, and a cornucopia of Bach.

Friday, November 27: Best of the Best
Noon (Hour 1) and 7 p.m. (Hour 2) on VPR

Best of the Best showcases the winning entries of the 10th annual Third Coast Audio Festival. This is the place to hear the most accomplished producers and best emerging talent from around the world, artists who are shaping the future of public radio.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

WRVT Rutland Is Getting An Upgrade

If you listen to Vermont Public Radio on WRVT 88.7 FM in Rutland, you may have noticed poor or no reception at times this week. I wanted to provide you with an update on the issues we are experiencing and provide details about an exciting improvement on the horizon!

A couple of weeks ago, our main signal from our Colchester studios to WRVT on Grandpa’s Knob failed, and the back-up signal system kicked in. That back-up system does not provide the same level of quality audio our listeners expect, but it at least kept WRVT and running. Unfortunately, the back-up signal also failed, so now we are using a second back-up solution that is operating normally and at 100% power.

The other issue has to do with the time of year: in the fall, many broadcasters (including VPR) are doing critical maintenance work on towers because, as you might imagine, getting to those towers in the dead of winter is a challenge! Because we share our transmission facilities with other broadcasters, we sometimes have to go to low power or off the air completely to protect the safety of engineers working on the tower.

Fortunately, I also have some great news: we were recently granted permission by the FCC to nearly double the power of WRVT 88.7 FM. Beginning November 29th, VPR will be upgrading that transmitter and other critical infrastructure. Once the work is complete, WRVT listeners will have a stronger and better signal – and 40,000 more people in the Rutland County area will be able to receive VPR! We expect the work to upgrade and improve WRVT will be completed during the week of December 13.

Thank you very much for your patience as we work through these issues. Until then, I hope you’ll listen to VPR online if you are able.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I've Got An NPR Tat And An NPR Tote...

As a fan you may have already seen this public radio hip-hop video floating around the Internet over the last day or so. If you haven't, not to worry - you still qualify as a fan. How big a fan, of course, depends on how many public radio references you catch in the video below.

Check it out and let us know your favorite lines...or make up your own!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Live On VPR Classical Today!

We were blessed with another sublime live performance today! It was a chilly morning outside (check out the frosty leaves from my garden, above), but guitarist John Muratore and accordionist Roberto Cassan warmed things up on VPR Classical with a beautiful program including music from Cuba, Paraguay, and Argentina.

One of the last pieces they played was an original by Cassan, Domenie - a title that comes from his native Italian dialect, meaning "Sunday". It's also the title track from their new recording together.

(Muratore and Cassan will also be in concert this evening at 8, at St. Michaels College in Colchester.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The VPR Table

Food is a powerful uniting force. Not only do most of us love to eat – we love to talk about food, cook for each other, and share recipes.

That’s why it only seemed natural to produce a local program about food on VPR!

VPR is thrilled to have two great hosts for The VPR Table, a feature running through mid-April.

Marialisa Calta has written widely about food and travel The New York Times, Gourmet, Smithsonian Magazine, many others. She writes a weekly column, “Food” which is syndicated to more than 500 newspapers, including the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus.

Marialisa is practical and straightforward, with a great sense of humor. Her latest book exemplifies her primary interest – family meals. It’s called Barbarians at the Plate: Taming and Feeding the Modern American Family.

In a few weeks, we’ll hear from another Vermonter -
Rowan Jacobsen. His books have earned the James Beard Award twice. He also writes for the New York Times, Newsweek, Harper’s, Eating Well, and other publications about 'the taste of place' - food, the environment and the connection between the two. His new book is, American Terroir, Saving the Flavors of our Woods, Waters and Fields.

The Vermont Table will include great recipes from Marialisa and Rowan. We also invite you to share your own recipes with the VPR Community on The Vermont Table page, and send photos of your favorite creations!

Listen for The Vermont Table Friday afternoons at 5:55 and Saturday mornings at 8:55. And as always – let us know what you think.

Thanks to Carol Brown of Montpelier for sending us this cool photo!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Join The VPR Classical Street Team!

If you're a VPR Classical listener, you already know how great our 24/7 classical music service is. Will you help us share the love with your community?

We're trying to raise awareness and listening to our many VPR Classical stations, including WOXR 90.9 FM in the Burlington area, and our two newest stations, WVXR 102.1 FM in central Vermont, and WOXM 90.1 FM in Addison County.

To help with this effort, we've produced a series of posters featuring VPR Classical’s local weekday hosts – Cheryl Willoughby, Walter Parker, and Joe Goetz. If you listen to VPR Classical, please download and print a few posters and hang them at your workplace, library, neighborhood coffee shop, general store, community bulletin board, or anywhere else people will see them! There are four versions of the poster to download and share: one for 90.9 FM Burlington/Plattsburgh, one for 102.1 FM in central Vermont, one for 90.1 FM in Addison County, and one featuring all of the VPR Classical Frequencies.

We also have some pre-printed posters at our Colchester studios in Fort Ethan Allen. If you're in the area, please feel free to come pick up a few!

Not sure of your VPR Classical station? Check out our coverage map to the left, and thank you so much for your help!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A New Season Of Moth Stories Begins Saturday

I’ve got a long trip coming up this Saturday. While I’m usually glued to my radio whenever VPR is on, I lose track of time completely when I’m listening to The Moth Radio Hour. This weekend VPR will broadcast the first of five new episodes of The Moth Radio Hour, so I’ll be sure I'm driving Saturday at 4 o'clock.

This new season features some of the best stories I’ve heard from The Moth. Comedian Mike Birbiglia hosts the first episode, and has a story of his own—a tale of a free vacation that leads to a breakthrough and a breakup. Dan Kennedy—an occasional host of The Moth—has an unforgettable therapy session with an unconventional social worker. And Al Letson, host of State of the Re:Union, offers a heartbreaking story in which he realizes he's not quite ready for a second child.

As faithful Moth listeners will know, this program features stories told live without scripts, notes, props or accompaniment. The stories are often funny, sometimes poignant and always compelling. Please let us know what you think of The Moth at our homepage. And enjoy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

8 Days, 4 Live Performances On VPR And VPR Classical

There's always lots of beautiful music emanating from the studios of Vermont Public Radio, but over the next 8 days much more of that music will be live. From tomorrow through next Friday VPR and VPR Classical will broadcast 4 LIVE performances in 8 days!

It all begins with a double-header on Thursday, November 4, on VPR Classical. At 1pm, the Johannes String Quartet with Soovin Kim join Walter Parker for a special performance. Then at 3pm, Joe Goetz is joined by Pedja Muzijevic to perform a piece from his upcoming program for the UVM Lane Series.

On Tuesday, November 9 at 9pm, the live music continues on Jazz with George Thomas on VPR. Local musician Bryan McNamara stops by for a set with his band Souls' Calling, featuring Parker Shper,Ken Haing, and Robinson Morse. They'll be performing a few days later on Saturday the 13th at Burlington's FlynnSpace.

The 4th show in this 8-day span happens next Friday, November 12, when guitarist John Muratore and accordion player Roberto Cassan join Walter Parker at 11am for a live performance on VPR Classical.

VPR & VPR Classical are pleased to be your connection to local music, through live concerts from our own performance studios!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Check Out What VPR Is Scaring Up For Halloween!

The Capitol Steps: Politics Takes A Holiday!
Put down your torch and pitchfork this Halloween and join the Capitol Steps as we skewer everything left, right and wrong with the country today!

Campus Exorcism
A VPR Commentary by Joe Citro

"St. Michael’s College in Colchester is named after the angel who booted Lucifer out of Heaven. But some say the eternal battle between good and evil is still being fought at the school... For decades there’s been a persistent rumor that an exorcism was performed right there on campus."

I Put A Spell On You....Because You're Mine!!
Happy Halloween, and a veritable traffic jam of local concerts during the upcoming week in the VPR listening area! Listen to Robert Resnik at 1pm on Halloween!

Classical Halloween
This morning, VPR Classical's Walter Parker and Cheryl Willoughby celebrated Halloween with "a frightening brew of the dark, the dissonant, and the downright macabre". Now, take your turn at Bone-Chillers And Blood-Curdlers: The 'Deceptive Cadence' Halloween Puzzler from NPR Music. For the youngest classical fans, you know Classics For Kids will select some "appropriately spooky classical music" for the holiday. (photo by Cheryl Willoughby)

Halloween Tricks And Audio Treats From NPR
Visit NPR.org for "Beyond The Grave: Contacting Houdini," "Ten Things I Learned As A Zombie," "In 'Amityville,' A True Real Estate Horror Story," and more at NPR.org!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

VPR Responds to Dismissal of Juan Williams by NPR

Dear Listeners:

This morning we began to hear from listeners who were concerned about NPR’s decision to terminate news analyst Juan Williams’ contract after remarks he made on the Fox News program, The O’Reilly Factor.

You can learn more about NPR’s decision, and the attention that it has generated, by visiting their website. The rationale that NPR has provided for their actions today is based on their view that his comments were, “inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a News Analyst with NPR.”

NPR produces many of the programs that Vermont Public Radio (VPR) chooses to broadcast, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered. As a separate independent news organization, VPR holds its staff to the highest standards in professional ethics. Issues such as these are complex and weighed very carefully. We abide by the NPR News Code of Ethics which includes the following statement: “Our coverage must be fair, unbiased, accurate, complete and honest.” As journalists, “we are expected to conduct ourselves in a manner that leaves no question about our independence and fairness.”

This is not the first time that a decision at NPR has generated a response by our listeners. We have reached out to NPR asking for more details on the rationale for their dismissal of Williams and await their reply. If you would like to contact NPR directly you can do so by calling the NPR Listener Care Line at (202) 513-3232 (open from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.) or via their website.

As always, we appreciate hearing from our listeners, whether it is positive feedback or constructive criticism.


Robin Turnau
President and CEO
Vermont Public Radio

UPDATE (10/25/10): NPR CEO Apologizes For Handling Of Williams' Termination.

UPDATE (10/22/10): NPR's Ombudsman Alicia Shepard shares her view in a post titled, "NPR's Firing of Juan Williams Was Poorly Handled."

Behind the Mic

Before I joined the staff at Vermont Public Radio I listened diligently to membership drives (I know what you're thinking...my family gave me the same look that you are making now).

But really, I enjoyed hearing personal appeals from the folks who brought me the news, information and music that I relied on each and every day. It was also exciting to listen in during a challenge to hear the phones ringing off the hook; dedicated listeners swooping in to save the day. I had a good idea of the what made up a VPR membership drive...or so I thought.

Since February, I have lived through two (and a half!) membership drives. My first week on the job was actually during the winter membership drive. In an instant, any preconceived notions about membership drives went out the window. I had no idea as a listener just how much preparation, coordination, blood, sweat and tears go into a successful membership drive. Of course, the most important ingredient in that recipe is you, the listener. We can't do it without you. And we are all humbled at how, time and again, you step forward and take ownership over your public radio station by helping to pay for the programming. Thank you!

In thinking about this membership drive, I wanted to provide our listeners with a peek behind the curtain. I asked all of our staff to send photos of the work that happens "behind the mic" during the fall membership drive. (I apologize for the quality of some of the photos, as the majority were taken with camera-phones.) I hope you enjoy the pictures...we'll continue to add more until the end of the drive on Friday evening (or sooner!).

As a post script, you'll notice that some of the photos include members of the Winooski and Saint Michael's College fire departments. On Wednesday morning we had not one, but two, fire alarms. No worries, we are all fine and there was no fire. We let the firefighting crews know that their vigilance and dedication counts as their pledge to VPR!

Thanks again to everyone who has contributed during this fall membership drive. If you have yet to make your contribution to VPR, you can do so online or by calling 1-800-639-6391!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Vermont Storytellers

Throughout the country, people are gathering in small groups to tell stories. Inspired in part by the public radio program, “The Moth”, participants share personal stories live on stage with no notes. "Moth-like" storytelling is happening in Burlington and Middlebury - and perhaps at a coffee shop near you.

The Vermont College of Fine Arts
recently held a Celebration of Storytelling in Montpelier. About 20 people put their name in the hat and waited to see if they'd be selected to come up on stage to tell their story. The Chapel was standing room only as ten people told their stories. It was a fun and memorable night for everyone there - and an honor for VPR to be involved.

VPR brings you five of those stories this week at 4:50pm during All Things Considered. The stories will also be available online.

We'd love to hear about storytelling events in your community. Here is the schedule of the Vermonters you will hear on VPR this week. Make sure to tell all your friends to listen.

10/18: Ann Hagman Cardinal of Morrisville explains how a daughter will go to any lengths to honor her mother’s last wish. Her story is entitled “Elaina’s Ashes”

10/19: Susan Cooke Kittredge of Shelburne shares a special moment from the memorial service for her mother-in-law. Her story is titled, “The Calling Card”

10/20: Gary Moore of East Calais tells about an encounter with an intriguing stranger. His story – entitled “There” – offers some food for thought.

10/21: Tom Boone of Sutton tells the story of day when everything that could go wrong went wrong – but the day still ended perfectly. His story is called “Coincidence and a Kiss”.

10/22: Peter Smith, who was Vermont’s Lieutenant Governor in the 1980s, tells a story from his college days entitled “The Tiger and the Bulldog.”

Speaking of The Moth, listen for five new episodes of The Moth Radio Hour beginning Saturday, November 6th at 4pm on VPR.

Chris Wren On VPR's Trip To Egypt

Having lived and worked for three years as Cairo bureau chief for The New York Times, I thought I knew Egypt, but VPR’s trip there encompassed so much that I had never seen before. The traffic jams are worse than ever, but our group became connoisseurs of such frustration on wheels. Our excellent adventure was a great success, thanks to our intrepid band of travelers, who bonded immediately with each other, sharing that restless intellectual curiosity that seems to distinguish VPR listeners.

We crawled over and through ancient temples, tombs and tunnels that dated back nearly five thousand years, sometimes quite literally on hands and knees. We visited Muslim mosques and Coptic Christian and Jewish places of worship. We rode camels near the Pyramids; Elizabeth Pearce and Tracey Morrill opted instead to take horses into the desert, saddling up at three a.m. to greet the dawn on horseback. We flirted with the First Cataracts of the Nile in an outboard motorboat on our visit to a friendly Nubian village in southern Egypt. We bounced along in old carriages glistening with polished brass, and watched a fat moon rise over the Nile from the deck of our five-star deluxe riverboat. But no one complained when we rose before dawn to beat the crowds to the ancient tombs in the Valleys of the Kings and Queens in the desert outside Luxor, or caught our flight to Abu Simbel, north of the border with Sudan.

We haggled for bargains at the night market in Aswan, with street vendors on Luxor’s riverfront and the merchants in Cairo’s sprawling bazaar, the Khan Khalili. We sampled a variety of Egyptian culinary treats – who bothered to count all the falafel we ate? We picked up some useful Arabic, and even learned how to read hieroglyphics and sort out the Pharaonic royalty and their gods and goddesses.

No one complained, even when the desert temperatures climbed above 110 degrees. Bottle after bottle of cold water supplied by the solicitous Carrie McDougall slaked our thirst throughout the day, and there was frosty Stella and Saqqara beer under starry night skies. If we grew weary from the unflagging pace, no one looked bored. The sole mishap was Karen Bowles's banged-up toe, which Doctor Bill Krause taped up to keep her in motion. Al Wakefield set new sartorial
standards with a colorful new Nubian skullcap every day, sending us all out to acquire our own Egyptian apparel.

Carrie McDougall of Cultural Crossroads was a fantastic tour organizer. She recruited a brilliant Egyptologist, the delightful Amany Gawdat, to accompany us as our constant tutor. Carrie’s Egyptian-American colleague, Sherif El Sabai, and his hard-working assistant, Tamer, ensured that everything came off without a hitch. We wound up living next door to the Pyramids, in Egypt’s most celebrated hotel, Mena House, where Sherif, who seemed to know everyone in Cairo, arranged early check-ins and very late check-outs.

Lisa Smith was accompanied by her son Thatcher, who turned thirteen years old on the Nile and was adopted by our entire group. We chose Thatcher to mark his birthday by steering our boat from the bridge, alongside the captain. And we celebrated Sidley Heney’s birthday on a restaurant veranda overlooking the Pyramids, with two chocolate birthday cakes that Sherif carried in from Cairo’s finest bakery. Several fellow travelers stayed a day longer for an outing to the Mediterranean port of Alexandria.

A high-point was our private audience with the Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, the renowned archeologist Zahi Hawass, who discussed some of his discoveries, and shared his plans to recover ancient artifacts abducted from Egypt, including the bust of
Nefertiti (now in Berlin,) the Rosetta Stone (now in London,) and the ancient calendar ripped out of a temple in Dendera that Napoleon carted back as booty to Paris (now in the Louvre.) We were also allowed to go inside the barriers protecting the Sphinx and examine itclose-up.

In some afternoon lectures, I discussed how and why Egypt made peace with Israel in defiance of its Arab neighbors, Egypt's current role in the Arab world, the problems with American aid to Egypt, and contemporary Egyptian politics, focusing on who might succeed the ailing President Hosni Mubarek after nearly three decades in power. My wife, Jaqueline, related the challenges of making a home and raising two children in Cairo. The questions from our companions were perceptive, and our discussions spirited. When I proposed a reunion in Thetford, Vermont, later this fall, everyone agreed to come, decked out in Egyptian costume.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Moth Marathon Returns to VPR

There are few things in life more compelling and evocative than a well-told story. And Saturday on VPR, you’ll hear fifteen stories courtesy of The Moth!

From noon to 5PM on Saturday, we’ll hear stories in typical Moth fashion: true stories, told live without scripts, notes, props or accompaniment. Stories include that of a firefighter searching through a blazing apartment for two missing children; author Richard Price goes on a ride-along with some New York cops who make assumptions about the people they stop; and a Mormon woman tries out a relationship with an atheist.

The Moth’s type of storytelling is catching on in Vermont. Last month in Montpelier several Vermonters took the stage at Vermont College of Fine Arts to share stories, and you’ll hear some of those all next week during All Things Considered. You can also learn how to host your own Moth event.

Programs like The Moth Radio Hour are listener-supported, which means VPR relies on you for contributions that help pay for them. Please make your contribution today. And remember to tune in Saturday at noon!

Alec Baldwin Says Don't Give.

Alec Baldwin doesn't want you to pledge...or does he? How much do you need to pledge for Robert Siegel to bake you cookies?

What would you do if Nina Totenberg was reassigned to sports, or Terry Gross to Wine Fancy, or Ira Glass to a Spanish pop station? Trust us, listen to these hilarious fundraising spots produced by WNYC and Ira Glass, and learn why you don't want that to happen!

We think you'll feel inspired to make a pledge, so we'll make that easy for you, too. Here's the link, and thanks for keeping VPR's news, music, and humor on the air!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

You Know You're A Die-Hard VPR Listener When...

During this morning's fundraising on Morning Edition with Mitch Wertlieb and Jane Lindholm, we got to talking on and off the air about how you know if you're a VPR die-hard. Here were some of our thoughts:

Jane: You know you're a VPR die-hard when you say "Goooooood morning!" along with Mark Breen during the Eye on the Sky forecast.

Mitch: You know you're a VPR die-hard when you not only have a VPR sticker on your car, but also on your home appliances, and sometimes on your pets and children.

Jane: You know you're a VPR die-hard when you can not only pronounce but spell the names of reporters like Sylvia Poggoli, Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, or Snigdha Prakash.

Sustaining Member Carrie of Montpelier: You know you're a VPR die-hard when you can't even conceive of having your VPR Artist Mug collection interrupted by even one mug.

Mitch: You know you're a VPR die-hard when you've perfected your Lynne Rosetto-Kasper impression from The Splendid Table.

Me: You know you're a VPR die-hard when your roller derby name is Susan Slamberg, and your number is 107.9 FM.

How do you know you're a VPR die-hard? Let us know! One sure way is to make a financial contribution. Please make a pledge today online, or by calling 1-800-639-6391. Thanks for all you do!

Friday, October 8, 2010

The New VPR.net Homepage

If you're a regular visitor to VPR.net, you may have noticed that we just launched a redesign of the homepage.

The primary reason we redesigned the homepage was to deliver more content to VPR.net visitors. Listeners consistently tell us that, when it comes to the on-air broadcast, they want more news and programming with fewer promotions and fundraising. The prior homepage fell short on this principle: it was great at promoting our service, but the actual content was short-changed.

We flipped that dynamic on the new homepage, placing VPR and NPR News front and center with promotions taking a back seat. There are more News headlines and stories occupying more "above the fold" real estate than ever before. Ongoing features and series, such as "Report From Afghanistan" and "Campaign 2010", are prominently represented on the page. There is more NPR News integrated into the site, and VPR Commentaries have a larger presence.

Another key objective in redesigning the Homepage was to improve technical "accessibility" of the page. Visitors using mobile devices, such as the iPhone, will notice that the page holds up without some of the distortions that occur when someone visits a site on a mobile device. Listeners with visual disabilities, who use "screen readers" to browse the web, will find that the new page is more easily navigated and interpreted by such devices. For our site visitors using dial-up internet connections, the new page is "lighter" and loads more quickly than the prior version: this may not be noticeable to the naked eye, but it is an assurance that we're able to move the site forward without leaving behind any of our visitors/listeners.

What hasn't changed on the new homepage? The links to "Listen Live" online and stream the on-air broadcasts of VPR and VPR Classical are still prominently displayed. Many visitors come to VPR.net primarily to launch the online streams, so we moved them from the right column to the top left corner of the page to make sure they're easily found. While we have moved the Promotions and Programming content down the page, you'll still find the Most Popular, the VPR Blog, links to Facebook & Twitter, and Programming mentions in the lower right corner of the page.

So what comes next? This homepage redesign was just the next step in our efforts to improve the online service for listeners. In the next few months, we plan to redesign the VPR Classical page to create a distinct homepage for this growing service and to give it the same upgrade as the "newsier" homepage. We also plan to develop more ways for listeners to access VPR and VPR Classical programming on mobile and other new devices. Listeners can already listen to VPR and VPR Classical on their iPhones, and browse VPR News headlines on mobile devices, but we'd like to improve these services so listeners can access more VPR News wherever they are.

Of course, projects like these require the contributions from a wide variety of folks. The entire staff at VPR played a role, from providing input and feedback, to developing and helping launch the new page. We also work with a couple of stellar local Vermont-based agencies: Found Line, our partners in web design, development, and strategy, and Clearbearing, the team that keeps our networks and web servers stable and secure. Of course, first and foremost, everything we do, and every service we provide, is because of the support of our listeners.

If you have questions, comments, complaints, or suggestions about the new homepage, or anything we do at VPR, we'd love to hear from you.


Jonathan Butler,
VPR Online

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Conversation with Robin

I’ll be taking listener calls tonight at 7:00, and I welcome your thoughts and ideas. Every day we get email messages and Facebook comments about our programming, and now you can easily add your voice to the mix. What programs do you look forward to, and what programs are you happy to miss? What do you want to know about VPR? Are you curious about why Radio Lab isn’t on every weekend, or how VPR is doing financially, or why we’ve added more VPR news at 4:04 and 5:04 in the afternoon? You can write to me in advance at community@vpr.net, or call Wednesday evening between 7:00 and 8:00.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Robin Turnau

VPR President & CEO

Monday, October 4, 2010

Celebrating Chandler and VPR Classical in Central Vermont

Good news! Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph is officially ready for business again as of a recent community open house, only 15 months after the historic building’s major renovation began.

It actually never closed. Concerts and programs continued as usual throughout the dramatic transformation even as backstage and other important work areas were temporarily blocked off. The "new" building has nearly 6,000 additional square feet, an elevator that makes every floor accessible, and many 'green' improvements to help the 1907 structure transition into a classy 21st century cultural center.

I visited Chandler's open house celebration with VPR's Brendan Kinney and David Warren on Saturday, September 25th. The cheer of the sunny day was matched by the festive balloons and signs outside the Center. We enjoyed the music on all three floors, conversation with Chandler staff and board members, house tours, and stories about the remarkable effort it took to complete the project in such a short time. (Rumor has it that 49 pans of brownies went into the weekly project meetings alone!)

VPR Classical is pleased to be celebrating an opening in Randolph as well. Our newest signal, WVXR 102.1 FM is now on the air in Central Vermont! I thought about that recently when I purchased the two newest recordings by Nico Muhly for the VPR library. He's a Randolph native, 29 years old, and one of the most promising young classical composers on the scene today. Next year his first full-length opera will make its premiere at the Metropolitan Opera.

It takes a very culturally-minded, involved community to inspire a young composer - renovate a historic music hall - and support the launch of a new classical radio station.

Congratulations to Chandler, and to all of you for making great music possible in Vermont!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Radiolab Returns to VPR

Radiolab is back!

A new season of Radiolab is coming up for the next three weeks on VPR’s Saturday Special, and it promises what listeners have come to expect from these hour-long explorations into our world and our brains. You'll hear great storytelling and creative use of sound--and of course hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich! Here’s a preview of what’s to come, Saturday’s at 4 o’clock.

Oops (September 25th)

You come up with a great idea. You devise a plan. You control for every imaginable variable. And once everything is in place, the train hops your carefully laid tracks. In this hour of Radiolab, unintended consequences abound: from a psychologist whose zeal to safeguard national security may have created a terrorist...to a community whose efforts to protect an endangered bird had deadly consequences.

Words (October 2nd)

It's almost impossible to imagine a world without words. What would life be like without language? Radiolab asks a neurologist what happened when a stroke wiped out her words, and talks to a woman who taught a 27-year-old man sign language...and the first words of his life.

Falling (October 9th)

There are so many ways to fall: in love, asleep...even flat on your face. Radiolab plunges into a black hole, takes a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel, and debunks some myths about falling cats along the way.

We'd love to hear your comments, questions, and suggestions for the VPR Saturday Special and we hope you enjoy the programs!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Night of Storytelling Inspired by The Moth

The Vermont College of Fine Arts invites you to A Celebration of Storytelling on October 2. Everybody has a story to tell – about a life changing moment, a terrifying event, or a person who changed your life. This is your opportunity to share it with a community of fellow story tellers and listeners.

To participate in A Night of Storytelling, Inspired by The Moth, check out the VCFA website for guidelines and rules, then show up and put your name in the hat. About a dozen people will be chosen to tell their story on stage. VPR will be recording the event for possible broadcast of the most stellar stories. Those who don’t want to tell stories should come and listen.

Generations of storytellers have made their way through the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing, Writing for Children and Visual Art Programs. Novelists, children’s writers, slam poets and performance artists from all over the world bring their words to life on the Montpelier campus year-round. What better place to host a storytelling event inspired by The Moth?

Why is it called “The Moth”? The founder, novelist George Dawes Green, was sitting on the porch telling stories with friends while moths would circle the porch light. He and his friends realized “that the characters in their best stories would often find themselves drawn to some bright light - of adventure, ambition, knowledge.” The name stuck and now these events are being held all over the country. The Moth Radio Hour is broadcast on many public radio stations and the weekly Moth podcast is a ‘must listen’ for thousands.

The community is invited to this event and encouraged to participate. There are some rules, however: Prepare. Rehearse. Tell it to your dog or your plants and your friends. But do not write it down or make notes. And make sure you can tell the whole story within five minutes.

Please join the Vermont College of Fine Arts and VPR for this free event on October 2 at 7:30. And bring your yarns. Together we’ll weave an evening of stories. This event is sponsored in part by The Vermont Humanities Council

P.S. VPR presents a five hour Moth Marathon Saturday, October 16 from noon till 5. Also - The Moth Radio Hour returns with a new five-part series in November. Listen Saturdays at 4 beginning November 6th on VPR.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Behind The Mic: Vermont Reads

Vermont Reads producers Melody Bodette and Betty Smith shared their thoughts about this year's series, airing this week on VPR:

Each year VPR partners with the Vermont Humanities Council to produce a series on their Vermont Reads, state-wide reading program. This year, the council picked The Day of the Pelican by acclaimed Barre author Katherine Paterson. The book follows an Albanian Muslim family forced by war to flee Kosovo. They are resettled in Vermont and try to rebuild their lives here.

While the book is fiction, it was inspired by a family Paterson's church sponsored in the 1990s. And it's a story that's repeated over and over in our small state, as the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program brings 300 people here each year.

Our series combines interviews with Paterson, former refugees and the people who work with them, plus excerpts from the book. One of the challenges in a project like this is finding a reader who can embody the characters in the novel. We were fortunate to find Nijaza Semic, a home-school liason in the Burlington school district. Nijaza left Bosnia after war broke out and came to Vermont with her husband. In addition to giving us a compelling interview, Nijaza used her skills as a former newsreader in her native country to become the voice of the novel's narrator, Meli Lleshi.

This project also allowed us to learn more about some of the great work that goes on at the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, just one street away from us in Fort Ethan Allen!

You can hear the entire series online.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Listener Feedback: Gubernatorial Debate

A lot goes on behind the scenes to prepare for a live broadcast debate with the candidates for governor. The format needs to be clearly thought out, the hosts' questions need to be researched in advance, listener questions are sought and incorporated, the candidates themselves need to agree to the date involved, microphones need to be wired in place and checked for proper audio levels, media coverage needs to be considered, and more.

It's no small job but it's a great public service and very exciting to be able to provide a statewide opportunity for Vermonters to hear a one-on-one debate.

So it was especially heartwarming after the debate when a listener wrote in and said this:

"You put some needed and clear pressure on, grilled them, did not let them slide endlessly around the park and tried to get the treasured goods. The candidates responded. The result was 90 minutes of quality."

He also said in his note: "Who won? I think Kinzel and Lindholm won."

Thank you! A few other comments we received:

"Job well done last night with the questions and keeping at these two who continue to wiggle around answering straight on. It is clear that Dubie and Shumlin are not fond of one another. I think they are testy with eachother and you both do a good job of defusing the heat." - Amy Robb, Pomfret

"That was the best political debate by miles I ever saw. Bob's and Jane's preparation was super outstanding. The candidates were easy to appreciate for who they are. VPR did a fantastic job informing the public, so Democracy can perform its miracle. I could not be more pleased." - Dan Allen, Montpelier

"Thank you very much for hosting the debate this evening. I was very impressed with the way both Jane and Bob managed the evening and keeping the candidates "on task" to answer the question at hand and allowing the opportunity for the public to participate." - Mei Mei Brown, Brandon

We're so glad our preparation came through! Jane and Bob did their very best to help you draw clear distinctions between the candidates, the VPR staff behind the scenes were the broad shoulders of the debate, and you, the listeners, made it possible to begin with. If you missed the debate, you can listen to it online here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Listener Picnic Photos

What a day! About 900 people came to the Billings Farm and Museum in Woodstock last Saturday for the VPR Listener Picnic! The weather was perfect, the farm was beautiful, the music was fantastic, David Folkenflik was fascinating....and then there's YOU! It is always such a joy to meet and speak with VPR listeners - you make what we do possible! Thanks for making the day a success. Check out a slideshow of photos from the picnic below.

A special thanks again to Monster.com for making the picnic possible, and to the Billings Farm and Museum for being such wonderful hosts!

Friday, September 10, 2010

VPR Classical: Your Proms Date

Forget about hurrying out to rent that tuxedo, and calling the florist for a last-minute orchid corsage. This is one Proms date that's strictly casual. (Except, perhaps, for those on the stage.)

Every year, Royal Albert Hall in London hosts the annual Promenades (Proms) concerts. It's one of the largest music festivals in the world, with more than 70 concerts in just a few week's time. The festival concludes each year in a huge, national celebration filled with celebrities, music, and fireworks.

VPR Classical will transport you live to the grand Last Night at the Proms concert in London tomorrow afternoon from 2-6pm. If you can't be at our Listener Picnic in Woodstock tomorrow, then you can still enjoy a festive day with this special one-time concert.

This year's event features conductor Jiří Bělohlávek with soprano Renée Fleming and the BBC Philharmonic, along with a new piece by Jonathan Dove commissioned especially for the occasion. You can see the complete program here.

Remember: no tux, no taffeta, no corsages. However if you really want to get into it, you may want to dig out your red umbrella and get ready to wave it around at the end of the concert. It's one of the many traditions at the BBC Proms 'Last Night' concert!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Exploring VPR Classical's Music

Earlier this summer I was contacted by the producers at Exploring Music with an intriguing proposition. They were beginning to work on a series called "Director's Choice", with radio program directors all over the world being asked to submit some of their favorite music to share with the audience.

The question: "Do you have any favorite pieces you can share with us?" My response: "DO I!"

But where to start? I have many favorites. My personal tastes in classical music run from opera to choral and early music, to Dvořák and very contemporary compositions.

In the end I decided to send in four recommendations, based solely on the criteria of what pieces I most wanted other people to have a chance to hear. They were:
Of the four I suggested, we recently learned that three had been selected to be featured on the "Director's Choice" series! There wasn't time to include the Neapolitan canzona, but the other three were chosen for the show.

In particular I am very happy that Troy Peters' piece has been selected. I first became familiar with Between Hills Briefly Green right when I arrived at VPR for my new job here in the fall of 2004. It's a lush, shimmering piece that beautifully evokes the verdant, fleetingly sweet days of Vermont's summertime. How perfect that it's being featured now, post-Labor Day, as we make the transition from summer to autumn.

This evening's performance of Between Hills Briefly Green features the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, in a recording made at Middlebury College in September of 2003 as part of the Orchestra's annual autumn "Made in Vermont" tour. I hope you'll be able to hear it with our other choices on this special "Director's Choice" program.

Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin airs this evening at 7pm ET on VPR Classical. Remember you can also listen online, here at VPR.NET!

VPR Music Director

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The VPR Saturday Special Goes Back To School!

Here’s something you’re not likely to hear as your kids go back to school this month: “Stay out of school until the books are gone!” But you’ll hear it spoken in earnest on this week’s VPR Saturday Special from American Radio Works.

This week we’ll hear about “The Great Textbook War,” a fight that erupted over controversial textbooks in West Virginia in the 1970s. A proposed change in textbooks and novels taught in public classrooms prompted a discussion on race, religion and class that boiled over into violence and captured the nation’s attention. Parents protested the schools, insisting that their kids stay out of school until the controversial texts were removed.

It’s a powerful hour of radio, and one that resonates today, given how heated discussions about religion and race still seem to be. Listen Saturday at 4 o’clock on VPR.

And listen to the VPR Saturday Special on September 11th and 18th for two more documentaries from American Radio Works. On September 11th, we look at the way teachers are trained, tested, hired and fired, and how that effects educational opportunity for impoverished students across the country.

And on September 18th, we examine why President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society” dream is still beyond our reach.

We'd love to hear your comments, questions, and suggestions for the VPR Saturday Special and we hope you enjoy the programs!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


(From left to right: Walter, Sandra, Sylvia, Cheryl, Leane and Barbara)

One October Saturday afternoon a couple of years ago, I was on the air with Peter Fox Smith during the Saturday Afternoon at the Opera membership drive. We were enjoying some Jussi Bjoerling and reviewing incoming pledge forms together when I remember Peter's eyes fixing on one of the pages, making him smile and exclaim "SYLvia"!

Sylvia's name was familiar to Peter from her long standing as a VPR opera supporter. I realized Sylvia and I were from the same town, so when I read her name on the air I mentioned that we should get together some Saturday and listen to the opera together. About a month later we did just that, and it was the beginning of a good friendship.

This past Tuesday afternoon Sylvia brought three friends to VPR to spend some time learning about VPR Classical and chatting with Walter Parker, Joe Goetz and me. We enjoyed the comfort of air conditioning together (on a humid 90+ degree afternoon!) and shared an interesting conversation that ranged from modern music to VPR's live performances and the future of radio.

On some level, on-air hosts always know they are potentially talking to hundreds of people every time they go on the air. But it can still feel isolated sometimes in that studio, where a single mic and the blinking lights of the equipment are the only immediate company. We always love to meet the real people behind the thoughtful e-mails, calls and comments that arrive each day in reassurance that there is an attentive, responsive audience beyond those studio walls.

Thanks to Sylvia, Sandra, Leane and Barbara for visiting on Tuesday. If you'd like to come in for a tour, give us a call (800-639-2192) and let us know when you can stop by. And if you're a little shy like most of the radio folks I know (it's true!), you can always take the virtual tour.

By the way, it's a special day tomorrow at VPR Classical for Jussi Bjoerling fans - be sure to listen in to Saturday Afternoon at the Opera for our special annual tribute to the Swedish tenor.

Report From Afghanistan: Soldier's Advice

VPR's Steve Zind will spend three weeks in Afghanistan, covering some of the 1,500 members of the Vermont National Guard who are deployed there. He'll provide a close-up view of the Guard's mission and how things are going from their perspective. In addition to filing reports for broadcast on VPR, he'll be posting photos and a reporter's journal about his experiences on this page.

If you have suggestions for stories he might do when he's with the Guard, or questions you'd like them to answer about their mission; or if you have friends or family serving in Afghanistan, feel free to send him an email at ReportFromAfghanistan@gmail.com.

The following is re-posted at the VPR Blog from Steve Zind's Reporter's Journal. Follow Steve's blog and reporting from the region in VPR's Report From Afghanistan.

Soldier's Advice

In advance of my departure, I’ve been pestering people I know who’ve been to Afghanistan with all sorts of questions.

I’ve been trying to figure out what I need to take, beyond the recording equipment and the protective gear the military requires.

Toward that end, I’ve been corresponding with VPR commentator Larry Doane. As a guard captain in Afghanistan, he commands a unit that’s moved around a lot during the deployment.

With his permission, I’m posting below a recent email he sent, offering advice on what to bring and his matter-of-fact description of what to prepare for. I think it’ll give you a feel for the day to day life of a Vermont Guard soldier in Afghanistan.

Steve Zind

Larry writes,

“Weather wise it is hot as all get out during the day and pretty cold at night. Up to around 100 degrees during the day, drops to about 60-70 at night which feels pretty chilly after the heat of the day. Very windy, when it rains it really rains. Lightweight rain gear will be welcome if that happens. Good boots are an absolute must. You will be living out of them and the terrain here can be very rocky. A very stiff sole, but not absolutely rigid, will be good. Just make sure they're broken in before you get here!

“Laundry takes about 4-5 days to turn around here…Many of us just use a bucket and soap to keep our stuff clean. I wouldn't worry about [cutting down on] your clothing too much. If you err on anything, bring plenty of socks. Bring a good set of shower shoes…The walk to the showers is usually over a gravel parking lot. Or you could just wear your boots to the shower and change there, but I'd avoid bare feet at all costs in our latrines.

“I'm not sure if you've been over here before or other high altitude trips. We're at about 5,000 feet and it only goes up from here. Showing up in the best cardiovascular shape you can, will make a world of difference in acclimating and avoiding feeling like crap for the first week you're here. The jet lag will be tough enough to deal with.

“Finally, and no one wants to talk about this part: It's a no kidding shooting war around here no matter what you might hear. Make sure you bring gear that you've tried out and fits and you're comfortable with. I know you were buying a vest and a helmet. Please also bring eye protection and fire resistant gloves."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Covering the Primary

Vermont moved up the date of the primary election. But it still seems like it’s been a long time coming, doesn’t it?

Just think about it. Five Democrats running for Governor (pictured at left during their live debate last week on VPR). Two apiece competing for Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State. There’s a pair of Republicans going for Lieutenant Governor and two more in the Secretary of State’s race.

Plus there’s a contest among three Republicans who want to challenge Rep. Peter Welch. And there’s a fellow Democrat who’s challenging Sen. Patrick Leahy.

For news junkies, an election doesn’t get much better than this, does it?

VPR News is hoping to help fill your news junkie appetite this week. We’ll update you on Monday with all of the last-minute election preparations during our newscasts in Morning Edition and All Things Considered. (Need a schedule of when our newscasts air? Check it out here.)

Next Tuesday on primary day itself, we’ll keep you posted throughout the day in our newscasts and online about anything that comes up. And then it’ll be the long wait for the votes to be counted.

This is a primary, so it’ll take a long time to tally it all. We’ll air brief newscasts at 9 and 10 p.m. Tuesday so listeners will know everything we know. And we’ll post summaries online of the vote count as it comes in.

Finally, tune in to Morning Edition on Wednesday for the results (if all the races are decided by then!) And at noon we’ll have a reporters’ roundtable on Vermont Edition to analyze the outcome.

Oh, right. And then get ready to do it all over again for November!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's The Economy, Saturday (at 4)!

My favorite stories from VPR and NPR over the past few years have been about the economy. I've learned quite a bit, including how the mortgage market works, what derivatives are, and how it's possible to be "underwater" in your house without an actual flood. Very enlightening!

That's why I'm a big fan of the next two episodes of The VPR Saturday Special. Hosted by Kai Ryssdal of Marketplace, "The Next Economy" and "Living Digitally" feature some of the brightest ideas from the 2010 Aspen Ideas Festival.

"The Next Economy" (Saturday, August 21st at 4 o'clock) features an examination of what the economy needs to look like if we're interested in a sustainable recovery. You'll hear a lecture by Richard Florida, who wrote The Rise of the Creative Class, and a discussion of where our national debt might take us (hint: nowhere good).

"Living Digitally" (Saturday, August 28th at 4 o'clock) will look into how technology is reshaping our lives and interactions. What's the future of our digital world?

Listen Saturdays at 4 to find out!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Join Us At The VPR Listener Picnic, Saturday Sept 11!

This year's Listener Picnic will be back at Billings Farm and Museum on Saturday, September 11, rain or shine, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The museum will be open free to the public and the Teago Fire Department will be throwing their benefit cook out on the premises.

Our special guest will be NPR reporter David Folkenflik. VPR Morning Edition host, Mitch Wertlieb, will interview David about the inside story on covering the media for NPR in New York.

We'll also enjoy live music by Dave Keller Band, Twist of the Wrist, featuring All the Traditions Host Robert Resnik, and Maple Jam, sweet a cappella jazz.

A big thanks to Monster.com for sponsoring this year's picnic. For directions visit the Billings Farm website. See you on the 11th!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Save The Date: The VPR Listener Picnic!

Join VPR at this year's listener picnic at Billings Farm and Museum in Woodstock on September 11th. David Folkenflik will share his experiences as NPR’s media correspondent, and you'll hear live music by Twist of the Wrist and Maple Jam. The Teago Volunteer Fire Department will be there with great food.

Thanks to Monster.com for sponsoring the listener picnic. Admission to the event is free; food sales benefit the Teago Volunteer Fire Department.

We look forward to meeting you - see you in Woodstock!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

VPR Staff Meets With NPR's Vivian Schiller

This afternoon the VPR Staff had the opportunity to sit down with NPR President Vivian Schiller. We discussed everything from newscasts to NPR's future to her own listening habits. She was also Jane Lindholm's guest today on Vermont Edition. Listen this evening at 7, or download the program here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

PrEview: NPR President Vivian Schiller in Vermont, Blueberry Pancakes, Star Gazing

I haven’t taken a summer vacation yet, but last week I realized that my restlessness had more to do with my desire to break from routine than the need to actually leave town. The result? Over the last week, I started learning to play guitar, experimented with a digital SLR camera, took a mountain biking clinic, studied the reproductive habits of corn, and made delicious use of 14 pounds of freshly-picked blueberries.

I hope this issue of prEview inspires you to do the same. Might I humbly sugest taking your radio outside to identify stars and constellations during tonight’s Eye on the Sky Star Gazing Party, or asking a question of NPR President Vivian Schiller when she’s on Vermont Edition tomorrow. And because you’ll need your strength for all the out-of-the-ordinary fun you’ll be having, try out my recipe for blueberry-ricotta pancakes.

Michelle Jeffery

PS: Save the date for VPR’s Listener Picnic, Saturday, September 11th at Billings Farm and Museum in Woodstock. Meet NPR Media Correspondent David Folkenflik and hear music by Twist of the Wrist, Maple Jam and the Dave Keller Band.

Continue reading this week's prEview.....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fire Up The Fluxtimator, Scotty!

The Eye on the Sky Star Gazing Party is set for 9 o’clock Wednesday night on VPR. The rain date is Thursday, but as of this writing it looks like clear skies for Wednesday.

Mark Breen, Director of the Planetarium at the Fairbanks Museum, will guide you across the night sky, identifying stars, planets and constellations. Together with your host Mitch Wertlieb, you’ll learn how to orient yourself to the sky, some astronomical lore, and how to catch the best view of meteor showers.

If you’re in a dark, rural area, just turn off the lights and go out on your deck or back yard. If you’re in brightly lit city, scope out a location in a nearby community with fewer city lights.

The Perseid Meteor Shower peaks this week. To predict the frequency of meteors you might see in your area, download NASA’s Fluxtimator.

You’ll find links to an interactive star chart, photos of the Perseids, and more star gazing resources at the Fairbanks Museum Night Sky site.

The Eye on the Sky Star Gazing Party is a collaboration of VPR and the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, which is now offering planetarium shows every day.

You can email your questions for Mark ahead of time to community@vpr.net. Or call in during the program 1-800-639-2211.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Leahy/Freilich Debate

(Pictured: Vermont Edition staff and camera crews from Fox 44 and WPTZ in the VPR Studios for the Leahy/Freilich Debate)

This week, VPR hosted the only debate that the two Democratic U.S. Senate candidates will have this primary season. Incumbent Patrick Leahy agreed to one debate with challenger Dan Freilich.

The candidates answered questions from moderator Jane Lindholm on policy in Afghanistan, energy policy, dairy price stabilization, and the impact of the economic stimulus program. For most of the live debate, the candidates challenged each other directly with questions on health care reform, Iraq, job creation and the politics of the campaign. The final round of questions came from listeners, including questions on the affordability of college, immigration policy and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Leahy participated in the debate from Washington, D.C., where the Senate is debating the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. Leahy was in a radio studio at the Democratic National Committee and Freilich was in VPR’s Colchester studio with Lindholm.

About 40,000 people tune in to Vermont Edition each week. VPR’s debate series continues in Vermont Edition, leading up to the August 24th Primary Election. Visit VPR's Campaign 2010 Page for debates, candidate interviews, and news from the primary season and general election.

Patti Daniels
Senior producer, Vermont Edition