Friday, January 27, 2012

VPR's Community Forum Seeks New Members

Do you describe yourself to friends as a passionate listener of Vermont Public Radio? Maybe you're all about the news or social media or classical music. Maybe you're fascinated by the all the changes occurring in media. Then a seat on VPR's Community Forum may be just the right thing.

What exactly is the Community Forum?

The Community Forum is a volunteer group of about 40 listeners that meets twice a year in half-day sessions over a two-year term. It's something like a large focus group. The Forum provides VPR with a valuable regular connection to listeners from our communities. In our sessions, members share perspectives on programming (broadcast and digital) and learn how VPR works behind the scenes. It's also an opportunity to meet the VPR staff and fellow listeners from around the region. Some of the sessions are held at VPR's Colchester studios. Some are held in central or southern parts of the state.

We're taking applications now for the new two-year term on the community Forum. Check it out here, tell us a little about yourself using the Community Forum Application.

This year's meetings will be held in April and October.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcome Mary Williams

VPR is pleased to announce that Mary Williams has joined us as a full-time producer/announcer. Mary has more than 20 years' experience in the broadcast industry - as an on-air personality and production director. A native Vermonter and long-time public radio fan, her favorite programs are, Says You, Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, and The Splendid Table. Mary has a B.A. in Journalism from Saint Mike's and is also the owner/operator of Good Girls' Cupcakes, which offers 100% vegan treats and sandwiches. Mary is on the air 10 till noon every day on VPR.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The ($100k) Challenge Is On!

There’s a buzz in the pledge room.

Phones are ringing off the hook.

Volunteers sit elbow-to-elbow taking pledges.

Then, a dramatic countdown…

There’s just NOTHING like a challenge to add some excitement to membership drives – and to give VPR an important financial boost.

So why wait?

When you and fellow listeners come together to contribute $100,000 to VPR before the drive begins on February 15, a member of VPR’s Board of Directors, and listener Neda Nobari of Meriden, NH, will contribute an additional $15,000 to VPR.

Click here to make your pledge now, or call 1-800-639-6391!

Why $100,000? We’re working to keep our membership drives as short as possible by raising more support without interrupting programming. Your gift will go directly to pay for the programs you enjoy and rely on every day.

So, exactly what does $100,000 pay for?
  • Eleven weeks of Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
  • One year of tower leases to operate our VPR Classical network of 13 transmitters and translators.
  • One year of the weekend programs, including Car Talk, Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me, A Prairie Home Companion, and This American Life.
  • Five years of web streaming service at
  • One year of electricity to power our 23 transmitters and translators statewide.
As a member of the VPR community, you know full well that when people work together, great things happen. $100,000 will go a long way towards paying for the programming you love – and when we raise $100,000 by February 15th, VPR will receive an additional $15,000.

Every pledge will help VPR meet this important goal. Whatever amount is right for you, please call 1-800-639-6391 or pledge online today.

Thank you so much. Together, we can do it!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Covering The Upper Valley & Northeast Kingdom

Charlotte Albright is a familiar voice to most VPR listeners. It'll soon become much more familiar.

Charlotte has covered the Northeast Kingdom for VPR News for a number of years as a free-lance reporter. She's fit reporting in with her duties as a professor at Lyndon State College.

But now Charlotte has joined the VPR News staff and she'll have expanded responsibilities. Charlotte will continue to cover the Kingdom from her home in Lyndonville. But she'll also cover the Upper Valley, up and down both sides of the Connecticut River from Windsor County north.

Charlotte has a long history in public broadcasting. She worked at the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for 15 years where she was host and producer of MPBN's weekly public affairs television program, MaineWatch.

When she moved to Vermont in 2006, Charlotte produced features, stories and series for VPR News while teaching journalism at Lyndon State. She'll be teaching a reduced course load at Lyndon while she expands her reporting from the Upper Valley and the Northeast Kingdom.

If you've got a story that you think Charlotte should know about, please be sure to send her an email. Charlotte will be based at VPR's studio in Norwich.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Met And Mimosas

We love the opera on VPR Classical. And with the Met’s radio and HD broadcast season in full swing, VPR is doing something else we love: having a party.

Join me for food, drink, and conversation with VPR and other Met in HD ticket holders on Sunday, January 22nd at 11 a.m. at the Top of the Hop, before the HD broadcast of the Met’s exciting new production, “The Enchanted Island.”

What a broadcast it will be, too! Combine two Shakespearean plays with the operatic music of several Baroque composers and the flawless technical and artistic prowess of the Met, and you have a recipe for a very “enchanting” afternoon! It will be a truly unique experience and I hope to see you there! Click here for more information.

- Joe Goetz, VPR Classical Host

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

George's Best Jazz of 2011 - A Start

Here's my list, in random order, of great jazz from 2011, which could have been three times as long! I'd love to add your favorites to the list. What's moved you in jazz in the past year?

Will Patton - "Flow" -
Vermont mandolinist plays jazz, Brazilian, jazzgrass & musette musics.

Terell Stafford – “This Side Of Strayhorn” – MaxJazz
Trumpeter tackles Billy Strayhorn – both win.

David Murray Cuban Ensemble – “Plays Nat King Cole En Espanol” – Motema
Tenor sax player does Nat King Cole ala Cuban – everyone dances.

Aurora Nealand – “The Royal Roses” – www.
Young soprano sax player in live Preservation Hall Sidney Bechet tribute.

3 Cohens – “Family” – Anzic Records
Anat, Yuval & Avishai with guest vocalist Jon Hendricks in spirited arrangements of old and new classics.

Christian McBride – “Conversations With Christian” – Mack Avenue
One album of duets with “It’s Your Thing” shinning above all other songs

Christian McBride Big Band – “The Good Feeling” – Mack Avenue
And one spirited Big Band. Two sides of a great bass player.

Enrico Rava Quintet – “Tribe” – ECM
Italian trumpeter at his peak with superb ensemble.

James Carter Organ Trio –“At The Crossroads” - EmArcy
Gritty alto & organ, sweat drippin’ fatback. Very danceable.

Les Doigts De L’ Homme – “1910” – Alma Records
Of all the Django-style groups out there this French quartet has IT.

Roswell Rudd – “The Incredible Honk” – Sunnyside
Duets, ensembles all held together with humor and raw sound.

Monty Alexander – “Uplift” – Jazz Legacy Productions
Monty Alexander - “Harlem-Kingston Express” – Motema
Jamaican pianist swinging hard through standards & Marley too.

Rene Marie – “Black Lace Freudian Slip” Motema
Rene Marie - “Voice Of My Beautiful Country” – Motema
One album of standards and one of her own steamy songs. Guess which is which.

Fred Hersch - “Alone At The Vanguard” – Palmetto
Never still, always quiet, Fred rules the Bill Evans school of solo piano.

Karrin Allyson – “’Round Midnight” – Concord Jazz
The height of this pianist/vocalist’s career, esp. the title duet.

Etienne Charles – “Kaiso” – Culture Shock
A trumpeter brings Calypso back to Bebop.

Marcin Wasilewski Trio – “Faithful” – ECM
A perfect ECM Polish piano trio – melodic and full of joyous space.

Alan Pasqua – “Twin Bill” – BFM
A tribute to another pianist, Bill Evans’s overdubbing duet pianos.

Terri Lyne Carrington – “The Mosaic Project” – Concord Jazz
Simply the greatest (and most successful) gathering of young female jazz players and vocalists ever put together.

Sonny Rollins – “Road Shows, Vol. 2” – Doxy
Live recordings of greatest living jazz tenor player . Hell -"greatest jazz musician" - period.

Vijay Iyer, Prasanna, Nitin Mitta – “Tirtha” – Act
Indian trio of piano, guitar & Indian percussion.

Michael Dease – “Grace” – Jazz Legacy Productions
Great straight-ahead trombone with guests to die for.

Eric Reed – “The Dancing Monk” –Savant
One of the most thoughtful, and swinging, Thelonious Monk trios.

Joe Lovano/Us Five – “Bird Songs” – Blue Note
Charlie Parker tunes done by a master with Esperanza Spalding, James Weidman and two drummer/percussionists.

Ambrose Akinmusire – “When The Heart Emerges Glistening” – Blue Note
Best CD title, best cover, trumpet with Gerald Clayton on piano.

Donald Harrison, Ron Carter, Billy Cobham – “This Is Jazz” – HalfNote
Alto sax, bass & drums soaked in New Orleans, live.

Gretchen Parlato – “The Lost And Found” – ObliqSound 113
Distinctive vocals, sound & Taylor Eigsti on piano.

Sophie Milman – “In The Moonlight” – EOne
Great vocalist in her prime, mostly standards.

Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra - "MTO Plays Sly" - The Royal Potato Family
Extraordinary gathering of jazz players & others with a tribute to Sly & The Family Stone

Monday, January 2, 2012

Iowa & New Hampshire on VPR News

As the presidential election season intensifies, you can count on VPR to bring you ongoing coverage of the candidate selection process.

Listen January 3rd at 9pm for NPR's special coverage of the Iowa Caucuses. Since 1972, the Iowa Caucuses have been the first major electoral event of the nominating process for President.

NPR's coverage will include candidate speeches, newsmaker interviews and, and expert analysis from NPR Contributors. This special broadcast will run from 9pm till 11pm - later if necessary.

On Tuesday the 10th, VPR News brings you comprehensive coverage of the New Hampshire Primaries from New Hampshire Public Radio. NHPR has many years experience covering the Primary from all corners of the Granite State. For the first time, NHPR is making their broadcast available to other stations. Host Laura Knoy is joined by NPR's political analyst Ken Rudin and a team of journalists throughout the state. Listen from 8pm till 10pm when VPR will pick up NPR's special coverage till 11 - or later if necessary.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

All The Traditions Moving To Sunday Evenings

A note from All The Traditions Host Robert Resnik:

Happy New Year! I wanted to let you in on some exciting news that I announced on All The Traditions today: beginning next Sunday, January 8th, we’ll be moving our weekly kitchen party to Sunday evenings from 7-10 p.m.!

In the 40-plus years that I have been hosting radio programs in our area, this is the very first time that I have ever had an evening show! The show will continue to feature the best folk music from Vermont and around the world, plus live performances and my weekly calendar of upcoming concerts and events. Plus, the new time may also provide opportunities to add some occasional live performances by local and touring musicians.

I hope you’ll join me for this new adventure! You can read more about the other changes to VPR’s Sunday schedule here.

Best wishes for a happy and musical new year!

Robert Resnik

The New Sound Of Sundays

Sundays on VPR will have a new lineup beginning next weekend, featuring a new program and additional hours and times for some of your favorites.

We’re adding The State We’re In on Sunday mornings 6 a.m. The program features first-person stories from around the world about how we treat each other. Then, after On Being at 7 a.m., enjoy an additional hour of Weekend Edition Sunday from 8-11 a.m., followed by A Prairie Home Companion from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

At 1 p.m., enjoy a rebroadcast of Saturday morning favorite Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me, followed at 2 p.m. by This American Life. At 3 p.m., you’ll hear Fresh Air Weekend, a collection of the best recent arts and culture interviews, and then On The Media at 4 p.m., All Things Considered at 5 p.m., and Says You at 6 p.m.

Robert Resnik’s All The Traditions folk music program will move to evenings from 7-10 p.m. And at 10 p.m., round out the evening with the second hour of To The Best of Our Knowledge (the first hour airs on Saturdays at 2 p.m.)

We’re also making one addition to our Saturday schedule: you can now hear A Way With Words Saturday mornings at 6 a.m.

We hope you’ll check out the new sound of Sundays on VPR and let us know what you think!

Update for 1/10/12:

Thanks to everyone who has provided feedback about VPR’s new Sunday program lineup. Hearing your comments reminds us how important a responsibility we have to our listeners and supporters. It’s a responsibility we take very seriously, and while we know that we’ll never be able to get it exactly right for everyone, we carefully consider any change in programming and these adjustments were made after much deliberation.

We wanted to update this post to answer a few of the questions we’ve been asked over the last week.

Why move All The Traditions to evenings?
Our goal with this change was to provide listeners with a consistent experience seven days a week, with news and information during the day, music in the evening and overnight news with the BBC. All The Traditions is a Sunday fixture on VPR, and we felt that moving the program to evenings would coincide with the time of day when listeners can unwind and enjoy music, while reinforcing our commitment to locally-hosted music by making it available every night of the week. While not everyone has embraced the new time of day yet, a few listener comments from yesterday included:

"I am so thrilled to have the program with me n Sunday evening! The only
problem is that I had to forfeit Masterpiece Theater on Public television, as I was enjoying your program too much to turn on the tele(vision)."

"Congratulations on your evening program. It started out with a bang...Dylan rocks! Please bring back the blues. We were dancing in the kitchen and enjoying a look back to "the good 'ole days" as you said. We appreciate your program and will be listening to every program."

Why are Living On Earth, Selected Shorts, and Studio 360 no longer part of VPR’s Sunday schedule?
These programs were a part of the VPR News schedule for many years, but unfortunately, they didn’t gain a lot of traction with listeners. At the same time, environmental and arts reporting, as well as storytelling, has become widely available in other programs that we carry. As a result, we decided to try something new by providing music programming on Sunday evenings as we do Monday through Saturday.

You can listen to or download these shows online:

Why are you rebroadcasting programs like Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me and Fresh Air?
These programs are some of the most popular programs on VPR, and we wanted to provide an additional opportunity for people to access them.

How does VPR make programming decisions?
As a statewide public radio network, it’s a challenge to provide the right programming lineup for every listeners - impossible, in fact. However, we are constantly monitoring our programs and our public radio colleagues around the country to make sure we are serving our audience as a whole in the best possible way.

We make programming decisions based on a number of factors: listener feedback, our Community Forum, audience data, and the experiences of other public radio stations.

While VPR has one of the highest rates of listening, per capita, in the country, Sunday listening to VPR has always been relatively low compared to stations of similar size. In our research of those stations, we discovered that all of them reserved the weekend evening hours for music, but maintained a daytime schedule of news, information, humor and lifestyle programming. That is the primary factor that led us to decide to try this new lineup.

While the transition to the new schedule may jolt some of our listeners, we truly believe that over time, the new programming line-up will attract more listeners and prove to be a satisfying mix for a majority of those who tune in. Again, we realize that we'll never get it just right for everyone, but I want to assure you that we're doing everything we can to make sure we're serving as many listeners as possible, in the best possible way.

We hope you will stay tuned and thank you for your support and loyalty.