Monday, May 21, 2012

A Little Change Goes A Long Way

VPR member Susan Beard is a big believer in change; loose change, that is.

When Sue arrived at this year's Commentators Brunch, she presented the VPR staff with a gift: a cake tin full of pennies, nickels, and quarters, adding up to $26.31.

In her work at a car dealership in Rutland and while she runs errands on weekends, Sue is always on the lookout for any orphaned change that needs a home.

When asked what her strategy is, she noted that the best place to look is under parking meters, especially in the early spring.

"If people drop money in the snow, they won't bother to go after it," she explained. "In my view, it's public money, so I thought it should go to public radio."

Thanks Sue! That change is now being put to good use and your generosity is truly appreciated.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Art Hounds Wants YOU!

Building on an idea originally created at Minnesota Public Radio, VPR is excited to announce a new project called, Art Hounds!

Art Hounds invites people within our own vibrant, local arts community to rave about and recommend performances, exhibits, concerts and happenings in Vermont, New York, the Upper Valley and Quebec.

Each week, VPR will feature these Art Hounds on the air, briefly talking about a performance or event they're excited to see and want to share with others. There is a catch: The work can't be your own!

If you'd like to become an Art Hound and brag on an art opening, photography showing, dance performance or poetry reading so we can share it with the VPR audience, go here!

And stay tuned to VPR for the first installment of Art Hounds!  

Art Hounds was created by Minnesota Public Radio News, and is powered by The Public Insight Network.


Friday, May 11, 2012

VPR's 2012 Summer Music Festival Guide

The Freight Hoppers at the Old Songs Festival/Bill Spence

VPR has launched its Summer Music Festival Guide for 2012!

Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer music season in the VPR listening area with the GottaGetGone Festival at the Saratoga Fairgrounds in Balston Spa, New York.  The three-day folk fest bills itself as "a friendly, informal folk festival packed with good music both on stage and off."  

It’s another interesting season that will see Bonnie Raitt and Jimmy Cliff playing the  DiscoverJazz Festival, James Taylor, Yo-Yo Ma, Annie Sophie Muter, and Andre´ Previn at Tanglewood and Menahem Pressler and the Ariel Quartet at the Vermont Summer Music Festival.

We’re always struck by the diversity of music you can hear around Vermont.  On any given weekend you’ll find fiddle fests, string quartets, bagpipes, orchestras, operas, rock, jazz, funk and more all within reach.

If you know of a live music event that should be added to the list, email it to us.  And if you have photos to add to the festival gallery, be sure to send full size versions our way at

Friday Faces: Meet Cody Fiala

Cody Fiala is VPR's membership coordinator. She responds to member questions and requests, processes contributions, and handles pledge reminders, renewals and acknowledgments. 

Do you have a favorite public radio voice?
Jane Lindholm, Mitch Wertlieb, and Terry Gross are such exceptional interviewers. They are my favorites because as an introvert, and I appreciate listening to them convert curiosity into questions that get others to do the talking. They also all explore sensitive topics with such compassion, respect, and directness - which is what I savor in so many stories on VPR.  But, this question is like asking me my favorite flavor of jelly bean, so I must add that another favorite is Nina Totenberg, because she distills complex and lengthy exchanges into succinct straightforward reporting.

What are your plans for this weekend?
8 AM Bikram yoga on Saturday and Sunday, just like every weekend! It is one of the best ways to stay warm in this state I love. It's really helpful in other ways, too, of course, and my wife and I also treasure the community of folks we see there regularly and would likely not otherwise have made connections. After lunch, Jenny and I will go for a long walk in the woods with our two pups, who will have a blast running until they're all muddy and tired. Afterwards, maybe we'll read on the porch and if I'm feeling energetic, I'll make dough and a pizza, or whip up a simple Mexican dish.

What are you listening to/reading/watching right now?
Well, I have a habit -  supported by our fantastic public libraries - of reading several books simultaneously. So, right now I am reading Black Boy by Richard Wright, The Obamas, by Jodi Kantor, Billy the Kid: The Endless Ride by Michael Wallis, and A Singular Woman by Janny Scott.

As far as we know you are the first person at VPR who uses a stability ball as a desk chair. Have you ever fallen off? And did anyone see?

Well, this is something new I am trying to alleviate a nagging injury I think is somehow connected to breaking my tailbone glissading down Mount Mansfield a few winters ago. Since there's not enough time to tell that story, I'll go back to answering the question... no one has seen me fall off my stability ball because I haven't fallen...yet. I know one colleague is watching and waiting (in good humor, of course). And, while it is a comfortable alternative to my typical desk chair, I am definitely ready to upgrade. I need to add wheels so I can swivel and scoot around as quickly as I'm used to doing in my chair.  Then have a different answer to the question!

Monday, May 7, 2012

YOU Can Cut VPR's Membership Drive In Half!

Nicole Spiridakis for NPR
Membership drives – they’re as American as apple pie.

But unlike pie, we know you could do with less on-air fundraising. That’s why we’re giving you the power to slice VPR’s membership drive in half.

When you help VPR raise $245,000 by June 18, we’ll cut the drive in half to just five days!

You count on VPR to bring you the latest news, the best storytelling, the context around complicated issues, and much more. A shorter membership drive will mean more of the programming you count on – election coverage, live musical performances, and weekend favorites like the new season of Radiolab, The Splendid Table, and A Prairie Home Companion.

We’ve never tried this before, so we’re taking a leap of faith that you’ll come through for VPR and make this shorter drive a reality.

Need more incentive to make a contribution early? We’re holding several prize drawings before the drive begins. The sooner you pledge, the more chances you have to win some fun prizes, including a $1,500 gift certificate to Gardener’s Supply, an iPad from Small Dog Electronics, a $1,000 gift certificate to Northshire Bookstore, and many more. (Sustaining members – you are already included in these drawings, but there are other ways you can help!)

We hope you’ll make a gift online today, or by calling 1-800-639-6391. Thank you so much in advance for your support.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A New, Extra-Long Season Of Radiolab!

For the past couple of years, our friends at Radiolab, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich of WNYC, have released new episodes in small batches. I say "small" because five episodes never quite seemed like enough Radiolab for me (and many VPR listeners have contacted us to share similar feelings). Jad and Robert explore science, mathematics, the natural world and the human mind like no other radio journalists.

This spring and summer, however, they're trying something new. Radiolab has produced 10that's right, 10!—new episodes. Through July, we'll enjoy these new episodes of Radiolab, plus 3 encore episodes, each Saturday at 4 as part of The VPR Saturday Special.

For this new season, Radiolab will tackle a variety of compelling subjects. Episodes include "Patient Zero," which looks for the one person who holds the key to the beginning of an important story or movement; "The Bad Show," in which a man tracks down a dangerous serial killer to ask him why he kills; and "When Brains Attack!" which features stories of people whose brains have turned against them.

This week, we'll kick off the new season of Radiolab with "Talking To Machines," an examination of the ways in which we interact with and depend on machines and technology. If you've ever had a conversation with a "Furby," you'll love this one!

Learn more about Radiolab, and join us every Saturday at 4 through July!