Tuesday, January 5, 2010

VPR Adds Spark and To The Best Of Our Knowledge

The first time I heard the program Spark, I was driving home from roller derby practice in Bolton. I’m usually so wound up after roller skating for two hours that I have a hard time giving my full attention to the giga-bytes of public radio programs on my iPod, so I listen to music instead. But I’d heard great things about Spark, so I hit play and started down the winding access road.

I was hooked immediately as I listened to host Nora Young’s piece about capchas, those funky-looking words you have to type out to verify your identity to a website. I learned about people who are finding ways to put the time we spend typing those out (150,000 hours a day!) to more productive use, like helping to digitize books.

So it's with great pleasure and excitement that I tell you Spark will begin airing on VPR this Saturday at 1 p.m. VPR is the first station in the US to broadcast this program, a production of CBC Radio. It’s about technology in our everyday lives, and how it’s changing the way we live: how we learn, communicate, raise our kids, work, and play.

By a different but no less significant token, To the Best of Our Knowledge is program I’ve followed for years. It’s an audio magazine of ideas, and each program explores a single subject from a variety of different angles. For example, this program explores the difference between loneliness and our need for solitude. You’ll hear the program, hosted by Jim Fleming, at 2 p.m. beginning this Saturday.

At 4 p.m., you’ll hear The VPR Saturday Special, which will include listener favorites like Radio Lab and The Moth Radio Hour when programs are available, as well as other specials and documentaries you won't want to miss from VPR, NPR, American Radio Works, and more. The VPR Saturday Special kicks off this weekend with the first of five episodes of Radio Lab.

I depend on public radio every day to stay up on the news and issues that affect me, my community, and the world. But I think public radio is at its best when you learn about issues you’d never even considered, much less learned about before. That’s what all of these programs do. We’re excited about VPR’s new sound of Saturday afternoons on VPR, and we hope you’ll enjoy the new lineup as much as we do. You can learn more about the new sound of Saturdays on VPR – and hear an audio sample – here.


  1. Julie Center RutlandJanuary 8, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    I am still very disappointed that, living in Center Rutland, I am unable to listen to Saturday Afternoon at the Opera on VPR. As a result I now listen to 103.9 from Ticonderoga. None of the programs you have replaced the opera with have been that exceptional. People have been listening to the opera for years and in fact were introduced to public radio through the opera. Until all of Vermont has access to VPR Classical I believe the opera should be broadcast on all your radio dials.

  2. I'm delighted to hear your program on VPR and fascinated with the vast possibilities for your programming here in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom which is full of active, youthful-minded, still-working or retired folk who are BIG internet users and can truly benefit from user-friendly input to keep abreast of the technology.

    Just heard the call-in from a Senior who asked how to start a Senior blog and everything she said hit home with me. Many of us here in the NEK support each other with our common concerns with plain old email. PLEASE explain ways for us to locate various blogs of interest.

    Betsy Donlon(there was no place for me to "comment" in your pop-ups.)

  3. I just listened to Spark for the first time and I loved it. It was like Wired magazine on the radio without all the distracting over-exuberant advertisements. It's a great show and I went immediately to the CBC website to find longer versions of the interviews.

    Great show. Thanks for finding it.

  4. Thanks for bringing this excellent program to Vermont! Enjoyed the debut today. I would love to see it back-to-back with Radio Lab!

    Many people speak of the digital divide in Vermont. This program will help close the gap.

    Chuck Piotrowski
    Sustaining Member
    Wallingford, Vermont

  5. Honestly, listening to The Spark and To The Best Of Our Knowledge a couple weeks in a row now, I'd really rather have back World Cafe. We loved that show so much!
    However, I am rather greatful that there's a spot for shows like the Moth and Radiolab that don't put out shows on a regular weekly schedule

  6. Goodbye World Cafe, goodbye support for VPR.


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