Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Moth Is Coming To Vermont!

I was hooked the first time I ever heard The Moth. I was running early in the morning on Burlington's Bike Path, listening to Adam Gopnik’s story about communicating with his son and the meaning of “LOL.” I "LOLed" so hard I was glad there was no one else around to see it.

Next, I listened to Anthony Griffith’s story about working as a comedian while his daughter was undergoing treatment for cancer. I had to stop dead in my tracks because I was sobbing too hard to breathe.

The Moth Radio Hour has also been a hit with VPR listeners, which is why we are so excited to be bringing The Moth’s signature true stories told live without notes to Burlington’s Flynn Center on October 22!

The show will feature Moth regulars as well as local voices on the theme "Building A Bridge: Stories from Both Sides.” Proceeds will benefit VPR and PH International.

Tickets are going fast, so don’t miss your chance to see the first-ever Moth show in Vermont! You can get your tickets online here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Introducing The VPR iPhone App

We're pleased to announce that you can now download the VPR iPhone App from the iTunes Store. This is the easiest way to enjoy all your favorite VPR content on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

With just a couple taps of the screen, you can stream the live broadcasts of VPR and VPR Classical and hear the latest VPR Newscast and Eye On The Sky Forecast. You'll have on-demand access to the latest VPR News, Vermont Edition, VPR Commentaries and other Program archives along with the list of Station Frequencies and Program Schedules. There are even feeds of the latest VPR Blog posts, Twitter tweets, and even School Closings!

The VPR iPhone App is the most convenient way to enjoy your favorite VPR content and it's also the easiest way to engage with VPR and share stories from your neck of the woods. With the "Tell Us" feature, you can share text, capture images, and even record audio, then easily submit them to VPR for use in reporting, broadcasts, and online projects. Whether you're breaking news, sending feedback, or sharing a beautiful photo, we hope you'll use "Tell Us" and be part of the story.

Many listeners are wondering what about Android and Blackberry? We decided to start with an iPhone App because it's the most established, it's been the most requested by listeners, and because development is less complicated than apps for Android. However, we are looking into the possibility of developing an Android App and serving listeners on as many mobile platforms as possible. For now, the best solution for Android and Blackberry users is to use the NPR mobile apps here.

The VPR iPhone App was developed with our partners at PRX Public Radio Exchange. PRX is the group behind many of your favorite apps, such as the Public Radio Player, the This American Life Apps, and the new KCRW Music Mine App for the iPad. They're also the presenters of The Moth, one of the most popular new shows on VPR. The app was developed with support from VPR listeners and the VPR Journalism Fund.

There's more information about the VPR iPhone App here at VPR.net. We hope you'll download the app, give it a try, and let us know what you think.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pictures From VPR's Listener Picnic

What a gorgeous day for VPR's Listener Picnic! We had a great crowd of human and canine VPR fans come out to Dog Mountain in Saint Johnsbury on Saturday! We enjoyed hearing from NPR’s Linda Wertheimer, great music and food, while the dogs enjoyed Frisbee, swimming, and any cheese that dropped off the snack table.

Here are just a few photos of all the fun!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

VPR Listeners Rally To Raise $628,000 For The Vermont Disaster Relief Fund

All we can say is, “wow.”

Thanks to the tremendous generosity of our listeners, Vermont Public Radio raised more than $628,000 for the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund during our special one-day fundraiser.

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised, after all, we know that our listeners are community-oriented folks – but still…wow. Your outpouring of support went beyond anything we imagined.

Thanks also to the more than 150 volunteers who helped take donations over the phones from very early in the morning to very late at night. (And, for bringing food for the biggest potluck VPR has ever seen!)

If you didn’t get a chance to donate yesterday and would still like to, you can do so here.

And, you can keep up with our coverage of Irene recovery online here.

It has been inspiring to see Vermonters from all walks of life reaching out to one another for support, and we were so pleased to carry that spirit of community at VPR through this special fundraising effort.

Thanks again to everyone who made a donation to this effort, and to everyone who is supporting other recovery organizations through their donations and volunteer work. We are so proud to be a part of this tremendous state of Vermont.

Friday, September 9, 2011

À Bientôt - See You Later, Not 'Goodbye'

It seems like there should be a lot to say, now that I've come to the last bit of time on my final day at VPR.

But what I really want to say boils down to the simple words, "thank you".

In my seven years here I've seen the power of listener support transform VPR Classical from being one station to seven (along with many smaller-coverage translators). I've welcomed new staff members on board, helped to create a strong music library and database for the service, and enjoyed so many thoughtful conversations with listeners from around the world.

It has been my great pleasure to share the music with you, along with those special common experiences that can only happen in a place like Vermont. As I move on today and get ready to step into my new role as the Music Director at WGBH in Boston, I do so knowing I will take the many memories, friendships, and learning I've been fortunate enough to experience here along with me.

This is not a goodbye, but rather a "see you later". Because I know as public radio fans, no matter the geographical location we will forever continue to share the common radio experiences that bring us together as a human community.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

VPR Fundraiser For Irene Recovery September 13th

In response to the statewide devastation caused by Tropical Storm Irene, Vermont Public Radio will hold a special one-day fundraiser next Tuesday, September 13th, to help our communities and neighbors rebuild and recover from this natural disaster. Donations received from listeners will benefit the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund.

The outpouring of concern from listeners over the last week has been tremendous. – on the air, online, and through email and phone, we’ve heard from dozens of listeners wanting to do something to help with recovery efforts by volunteering or making donations, but weren’t sure of the best way to do it.

As a public radio station, VPR has vast experience with on-air fundraising efforts and the complicated logistics that go along with such an operation: processing donations, established phone lines, and hundreds of dedicated volunteers. In addition to our comprehensive news coverage of the aftermath and recovery from Irene, we felt giving listeners a trusted, secure place to make a donation would be another way to help our neighbors. We were granted a one-day waiver from the FCC to make this effort possible.

The Vermont Disaster Relief Fund was created by the United Ways of Vermont in cooperation with the executive board of the Vermont Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (Vermont VOAD) and Vermont Emergency Management (VEM) to be used specifically for long-term recovery. The fund will be used entirely for the unmet long- term needs of survivors from the Irene disaster, and decisions will be made by Long Term Recovery Committees recognized by VOAD and Vermont Emergency Management.

We know VPR listeners are passionate about Vermont and their communities, and hope you’ll make a donation today to help your neighbors. If you’re looking for other ways to get involved, please consider joining us on September 13 to take donations over the phone from listeners next Tuesday - you can sign up for a shift online here.

If you’re looking to volunteer directly with recovery efforts, please visit our resources page here.

And of course, you’ll find the latest news about recovery efforts at VPR.net.

Despite the enormity of this disaster, it is inspiring to see Vermonters from all walks of life rising up and reaching out to one another for support. Thank you so much for all you do for Vermont and your community!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

VPR Classical Bids Adieu to Cheryl Willoughby

Cheryl Willoughby, long-time VPR Classical host and director of music programming, will be leaving VPR to accept a new position of Music Director at WGBH in Boston. Cheryl will oversee all classical music programming for the station.

During her time at VPR, Cheryl contributed greatly to the formation and growth of VPR Classical. She began hosting her daily morning program just after WNCH 88.1 went on the air in the Upper Valley in 2004.

It was under her leadership as music director that VPR Classical has grown and has steadily increased its local programming and community partnerships, as seen most recently with the month-long 60th anniversary celebration of the Marlboro Music Festival this summer.

Cheryl’s last day at Vermont Public Radio will be this Friday, September 9th. We will miss her but wish her well in her new adventure.

During a transition period, you will hear a new line-up of programming on VPR Classical beginning Monday, September 12. Walter Parker will host from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. time slot, followed by two hours of Performance Today with Fred Child. Joe Goetz will continue to host from 3-7 p.m.

Stay tuned for more details as we work to continue our mission to increase our local presence and content on VPR Classical.

Remembering 9/11

Like so many others, I’m reflecting this week about the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

I didn’t work at VPR back then, in fact, I had only recently moved to Vermont. Without cable or internet in the old Shoreham schoolhouse that was my new home, VPR was my only link to what happened that day. I didn’t even see video footage of the attacks until a week later. Ten years on, I am still grateful to VPR for being both my source of information and of comfort in the days that followed.

The 9/11 terrorist attacks and Tropical Storm Irene are very different events, of course, but as we have received comments and calls from listeners about our coverage of the storm and its aftermath, I can’t help but draw comparisons. It is a big responsibility to be your lifeline and a source of comfort in times of crisis, but it is one we take very seriously.

This week, VPR is remembering 9/11. Listen for interviews, stories, commentaries, and an audio “memory quilt” of your reflections, which was produced in partnership with the Vermont Folklife Center. On Friday, join a conversation about 9/11 on Vermont Edition at noon and 7 p.m. And on Sunday, listen beginning at 8 a.m. for special coverage from NPR.

You can explore our coverage and share your reflections online here.

VT Flood Relief Concerts

[North Williston Road - I took this shot on Monday, 8/29. Hard to believe what a clear, beautiful day it was considering the storm just a day before.]

While it has been a very difficult and trying week and a half since Irene flooded much of Vermont, there have been a few bright spots in the aftermath: neighbors helping neighbors, or better yet - helping strangers, selflessly. Stories of hope and strength have bolstered spirits statewide and confirmed what we already knew: Vermont's heart and core is its resilient, caring people.

A number of benefit events are being organized around the region to generate funds for various relief organizations. These are the ones we know about, as of this afternoon on Weds. 9/7.

If you know of others or have details to share on the ones listed below please leave a comment here and we'll get the word out.

It's what friends do.

9/9: Waterbury Good Neighbor Fund benefit concert
Location: Rusty Parker Memorial Park, Waterbury
Time: 6-7:30pm
Donations: Free will
Benefits: Waterbury Good Neighbor Fund (for relief in Waterbury, Duxbury & Moretown)
Online: (on facebook) https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=280452251968545
9/10: Voices for Vermont (various artists, organized by the Good Earth Singers)
Location: State House Lawn
Time: 1-3pm
Donations: Free will
Benefits: United Way of VT & American Red Cross of VT & NH
Online: http://goodearthsingers.org/
9/10: Burlington Ensemble
Location: Alumni Auditorium, Champlain College
Time(s): 6-7:30pm & 8:30-10pm
Donations: suggested $10.00 per set
Benefits: The Intervale Farmer's Recovery Fund
URL: http://burlingtonensemble.com/
9/11: Benefit Concert & Silent Auction (various performers)
Location: Nectar's
Time: 2pm-2am
Donations: $15.00 at the door
Benefits: VT Disaster Relief Fund
Online: http://www.vermont211.org/ , https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=127296787368081
9/14: Phish - A Benefit for Vermont Flood Recovery
Location: Champlain Valley Fairgrounds
Time: Doors 5:30pm, concert @ 7:00pm
Donations: $75.00
Benefits: The Water Wheel Foundation & The VT Community Foundation
Online: http://www.highergroundmusic.com/2011/09/phish/
9/16: Irene Flood Relief Concert with Rubblebucket + Ritmo Masacote
Higher Ground Ballroom & Showcase Lounge
Time: Doors 7pm, Show 8pm
Donations: $10
Benefits: Vermont Foodbank

9/18: Join Hands, Vermont (various performers being organized by Annemieke Spoelstra)
Location: McCarthy Arts Center, St. Michael's College
Time: 2-5:00pm
Donations: Free will
Benefits: TBD
Online: (on facebook) https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=234555203256683

Thursday, September 1, 2011

VPR News' Irene Blog

VPR has been receiving a lot of information from VPR listeners, state agencies, and others in the aftermath of Irene. Much of it makes it on the air and VPR.net, but much of it doesn’t. So we've created a new news blog as an outlet for that information as a means to share it with anyone interested.

Freelancer Neel Tandan (at left) is helping us post content to the blog. If you have news to contribute please send it to news@vpr.net.

Thank you for being part of this important community effort.