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.

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