Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Celebrating Milestones

Each June, the VPR staff gets together for lunch to celebrate each other's achievements and milestones. This year, we recognized five employees for their service to VPR.

From left to right, they are: Robin Turnau, president, 20 years; Jean Ferguson, administrative assistant, 5 years; Chris Albertine, production engineer, 10 years; Melody Bodette, Morning Edition producer, 5 years, and Dan Palow, director of membership and underwriting, 5 years.

Congratulations all!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

VPR prEview: Win A Hybrid Car, The Long Trail Turns 100, New VPR Classical Stations

The only downside of having a lot of hobbies is that you never get as much time as you’d like to spend on any one activity. It used to be that the only choice I had to make was which trail to hike, but my choices have grown exponentially. Now I ask myself, "do I roller skate or run? Mountain or road bike? Read or write? Visit my farmer’s market or explore a new town?" The possibilities are endless!

I plan to reconnect with the mountains by hiking the Long Trail this summer, just in time to celebrate the trail’s 100th year. Read on to learn about how you can contribute to VPR’s coverage of this anniversary. Also in this edition of prEview, you could win a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid in VPR’s first-ever Summer Car Raffle. Plus, learn more about VPR Classical coming to central Vermont next month.

Wherever the summer takes you, I hope you’ll bring VPR along for the ride.

Happy trails,
Michelle Jeffery

Continue reading this edition of prEview or subscribe here!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Announcing the VPR Summer Car Raffle!

Turn the ignition, roll down the windows, and crank up the radio: there’s nothing quite like a summertime drive.

It doesn’t matter if I’m running to an appointment, dropping the kids off at day camp - or ideally, going to the beach - as long as the sun is shining, the music is soothing, and the wind is blowing through my hair.

Of course, driving is a daily necessity for many of us living in a rural state, but that doesn’t take away my appreciation for a good road trip. But the people I know also share my concern about the impact our driving has on the environment.

This summer, let Vermont Public Radio help you connect the dots with the VPR Summer Car Raffle! Starting on June 14, you can purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, provided by our good friends at Heritage Automotive Group in South Burlington.

The VPR Summer Car Raffle is a first for VPR, and we’re hoping to make it just as fun as a summer road trip. Over the next four weeks, you’ll hear from people in the community about the many great reasons to participate, and we’ll share your favorite summer road trips, road tunes, driving tips from Car Talk, and more. And to top it off, all proceeds from the raffle will support the programming you value on VPR.

The VPR Summer Car Raffle is open to residents of Vermont and New Hampshire and you must be 18 years old to participate. Please see our website for the full contest rules. Unfortunately, due to the specifics of certain state and national laws, we are unable to offer raffle tickets to residents of New York, Massachusetts and Canada.

Why is VPR doing a raffle? As you know, we are constantly working to reduce the amount of time we spend fundraising on the air. We’ve looked closely at the success of other public radio stations that have held car raffles and think it is something that our listeners will respond to.

We will spend just a couple of days on the air in July encouraging listeners to get their hands on some tickets, but it will be a far cry from a membership drive and it will be much, much shorter! If our raffle is a success, we hope that we can reduce the length of membership drives in the future.

I hope you’ll participate in the VPR Summer Car Raffle; you have until noon on July 17, 2010 to get your tickets. We’ll announce the winner during Car Talk on July 24. I also welcome your feedback and comments on this important effort for your public radio station.

Start your engines!


Brendan Kinney
Vice President of Development & Marketing

The Long Trail At 100

The Long Trail turns 100 this year, and VPR is planning a month-long series to mark this milestone. We’ll explore the history and future of the Long Trail, learn about the ins and outs of hiking and camping, and meet the people who hike and maintain it today.

And that’s where you come in. If you’re out on the trail this summer, let us know about it! Why do you love the Long Trail? What are your favorite hikes and sections? What was your best (or worst!) experience on the Long Trail? Send your thoughts, photos, and favorite recipes for camp meals and trailside snacks to

Planning for this project has gotten me thinking about my own experience with the Long Trail. While I have yet to hike it end-to-end (one of my lifetime goals!), I’ve spent many happy days and nights on the trail. A few memories that stand out for me:
  • Hiking the last 10 miles of the Long Trail with friends who were thru-hiking, and high-fiving Canada.
  • Getting held up by a giant moose on Mount Mansfield. We watched him from a distance for over an hour!
  • Trekking up to the Twin Brook tenting area for dinner because we knew the ramen would taste better if it was cooked in the woods.
  • Losing my balance on snowshoes and falling into a snowy ditch, thereby earning the nickname “Meesh in a Deetch.”
  • Hiking Camel’s Hump on New Year’s Day. I’ve done this almost every year since moving to Vermont. There’s never a view but what a way to start a year!
I even think fondly of my less-pleasant memories, like getting mild hypothermia in October, then yelling at my best friend for trying to force-feed me a peanut butter sandwich. But that's the beauty of the Long Trail: hardship and challenge are as much a part of the experience as the victories. Millions have followed this path, but no one has the same experience twice. Each excursion, whether a day trip or a thru-hike, adds to the Long Trail's storied history.

So, come on. Share with us. And happy hiking!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Why Radio Is So Cool

As a VPR listener you know there are a myriad answers to that question, but today, it’s all about two words:

Tropospheric propagation.

I should back up. We got this email from a listener over the weekend:

I was listening to A Prairie Home Companion and I got a lot of static, which happens occasionally on 88.7. I caught the call letters of the interfering station, WAGP 88.7, Christian Radio from Beaufort, SC serving the Savannah, GA area with 100,000 watts. I live in Porter Corners, NY on the first rise of the Adirondacks at 1000' elevation. This is amazing reception for FM. I just thought you would like to know.

Might seem strange, but this is actually an annual phenomenon, according to Rich Parker, VPR’s director of engineering: This time of year always brings reports of reception of distant stationsin various places around the country. In case you would like to know more about this phenomenon, there is an excellent article on WikiPedia here.

Radio is so cool!

Friday, June 11, 2010

"We're On The Air!"

A special morning of music, friends, and - a whole new radio station! - this past Tuesday at the Mahaney Center for the Arts at Middlebury College. Around 130 of us gathered to celebrate the launch of WOXM 90.1 FM, broadcasting classical music to Addison County and beyond. Many months ago when the planning for this day first began, I was delighted when Annemieke Spoelstra said she would be able to join me on the air for a live performance.

Her lovely performance of Chopin and Schumann were the perfect complement to all of the excited applause, just moments after WOXM went on the air. I was reminded of the Hans Christian Anderson quote: "Where words fail, music speaks."

Come Learn More About VPR Classical In Central Vermont!

VPR Classical will soon be on the air in Central Vermont! VPR will be closing on the purchase of Randolph-based WCVR 102.1 FM this month, and VPR Classical will go on the air as WVXR in early July.

You’re invited to come learn more about this major expansion of VPR Classical at one of the two community gatherings we'll be holding this month. I’ll be at the Vermont Law School on Friday, June 18th at 4 p.m., in the Chase Community Center. And on Wednesday, June 30th at 10 a.m., I’ll be at the Chelsea Town Hall.

I hope you’ll bring your questions and comments about VPR Classical, VPR, and public radio in general! If you can’t make it, you’re always welcome to give me a call at 1-800-639-2192 or send an email. And stay tuned for details about the launch of VPR Classical’s newest station!

At left: VPR listeners and staff with young artists at Chandler Music Hall at a community gathering in May.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Vermont Edition Broadcasts Live From The CBC In Montreal

Hydro-Quebec was designated by the Vermont Legislature as a renewable energy source this spring. But the decision was not without controversy, as critics examine the environmental impact of the utility's plan to generate more power for New England. Tomorrow, Vermont Edition travels to Montreal to find out what Canadians are saying about this issue.

We'll speak with Claude Demers, Hydro-Quebec's science communicator, and Daniel Breton, an environmentalist with the organization MCN21. What's your take on Hydro-Quebec? Let us know at, and listen tomorrow at noon and again at 7 p.m.

VPR will be following the Hydro-Quebec issue all summer. Explore our coverage here, and thank you for listening!

Photo: VPR's John Dillon reporting on the Rupert River in Quebec.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

And The Winner Is....

This spring, New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss designed a series of cartoons about Morning Edition on VPR. We held a contest for a signed print by Harry Bliss on our Morning Edition page. We just wanted to say a big congratulations to Jim Bunch of Bristol, who won the print. He says,

"My wife and I are big fans of both VPR's morning programming (although there isn't a time of day when I won't turn on VPR) and Harry Bliss."

Check out all of our Morning Edition is Bliss cartoons here, and thanks for making Morning Edition a part of your day!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

VPR Classical Is In Addison County!

VPR Classical 90.1 WOXM is now on the air in Addison County! At 9 a.m. this morning, the station went on the air with a broadcast from the Mahaney Center for the Arts at Middlebury College featuring a live performance by pianist Annemieke Spoelstra.

This new station brings VPR Classical to over 83,000 listeners in most of Addison County. Check out a coverage map for WOXM as well as for all of VPR Classical.

The growth of VPR Classical is made possible by the amazing support of our listeners - thank you for making this day possible. Enjoy the music!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Welch, Leahy, and Sanders - Oh My!

By some miracle of scheduling, the Vermont Edition team has managed to schedule ALL of Vermont's congressional delegation - Rep. Peter Welch, Sen. Patrick Leahy, and Sen. Bernie Sanders - within three weeks.

Rep. Welch joined Jane Lindholm last Tuesday and took your questions, and Sen. Leahy (pictured in the studio before the show, at left) was on today's program - you can hear the show again tonight at 7. Bernie Sanders will be our guest next Tuesday, June 8th to complete the trifecta. If you have questions for Sen. Sanders, please email them to

The opportunity to ask questions of our elected officials and other newsmakers is one of the hallmarks of Vermont Edition and public radio. With so much going on in the state and country recently, we are pleased to be able to connect you with all of Vermont's congressional delegation in such a short time. I hope you'll tune in!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

VPR prEview: Allen Toussaint, Pulled Pork, Summer Festivals

Sunday was the sixth time I’ve run in the Vermont City Marathon, either as a full marathoner or as part of a relay team. Over the years I’ve come to rely on certain landmarks to keep me going: the solitary bagpiper on Pine Street, the Taiko drummers on Battery Street, the raucous block parties in the New North End, to name just a few. All of them help take my mind off my legs and allow me to enjoy the event that, for me, marks the beginning of summer.

We’ll mark the unofficial start of summer in this edition of prEview with VPR’s new summer music festival map and a Vermont Edition conversation about barbeque and grilling, complete with a recipe for pulled pork. Plus, George Thomas interviews Allen Toussaint in advance of the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, and VPR Classical goes “live” in Addison County on June 8.

Continue reading this week's prEview....

(Thanks to Steve Mease for the photo. This was almost at the top of Battery Street!)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

VPR Classical Comes to Addison County June 8th

We'll "flip the switch" for VPR Classical in Addison County at 90.1 FM next Tuesday, June 8th, at 9 a.m., and we want you to be part of the celebration! Join us for a community breakfast celebration at the Mahaney Center for the Arts at Middlebury College, featuring a live performance by pianist Annemieke Spoelstra.

The celebration begins at 8:30 a.m. It's free, but reservations are required. Please call us at 1-800-639-2192 to reserve your spot.

The new station will provide a strong signal to a population of more than 83,000 covering most of Addison County, including Salisbury, Cornwall, Shoreham, Addison, New Haven, Vergennes, south to Brandon, and including some towns across Lake Champlain in New York. Click on the map below for a larger version of WOXM 90.1's coverage area.

The VPR Classical launch aside, June 8, 2010 is already a big day here: we're celebrating the bicentennial birthday year of two major classical composers, Robert Schumann and Frederic Chopin. In addition to Annemieke Spoelstra's performance, we'll feature the music of both composers throughout the day, as well local pianists sharing their insights into the legacies and personal meaning of Schumann and Chopin's music.

We are so happy to welcome Addison County listeners to the VPR Classical family. I hope you will join us or tune in next Tuesday!