Thursday, July 26, 2012

Editorial Process Tested In Commentary

As editor of VPR’s Commentary Series, one of my jobs is to advise writers on matters of journalistic standards and ethics. This includes language of all kinds. Our commentaries are intended to be civil and respectful, but we erred recently with a commentary by Willem Lange.

Pieces that you hear on the air and read online go through a process of a text edit and then a recording session at VPR, and in our process we missed the unfortunate instance of offensive racial slang in this commentary. The commentary was describing a moment 59 years ago when Willem and a Mexican friend were setting fence posts in the Texas heat. We should have flagged and removed Willem's use of the slang to describe his friend. But we missed it and therefore apologize sincerely. After we realized our error, we removed the piece from the online archive.

We also want to share Willem's own apology. He says, "As a storyteller and professional writer, I should have known this was an unacceptable term. I do now, and I regret having used it.”

Our goal at VPR is to be transparent on the workings of public radio, sharing the highs and the lows as they occur. This has been a strong reminder of the importance of our editorial process and policies and we are resolved to redouble our efforts to apply them vigorously as we go forward.

Give Q A Listen

Listen next week for Q, a new program we're piloting on VPR. Q is a lively arts, culture, and entertainment magazine hosted by Jian Ghomeshi. We’re testing it out for a few days at 8 p.m. beginning Monday, July 30th. We’re asking you to give it a listen and let us know what you think.

Q explores our cultural landscape, bringing you new ideas from the people who are paving the way. Ghomeshi has interviewed an array of prominent international figures from prime ministers to sports stars and cultural icons. He offers his own editorial insights on the day's events and laces the show with insight and wit. You’ll also hear live music that runs the gamut from R&B to folk-punk. Produced by the CBC, Q is the most popular arts and entertainment program in Canada and is increasing in popularity in the U.S.  The program was profiled in the New York Times July 22nd.

The retirement of Tom and Ray Magliozzi from Car Talk has prompted an important discussion about innovation in public radio. VPR strives to give you the opportunity to hear the best public radio programming being produced today – by stations, networks and independent producers. The TED Radio Hour, Snap Judgement, The Moth Radio Hour, State of the Re:Union, American RadioWorks, and Radiolab are all programs that started out ‘new’ and are now favorites. Piloting Q is a continuation of VPR’s commitment to trying new things.

I hope you’ll give Q a listen and let us know what you think. We’re testing it out for a few days at 8 p.m. beginning Monday.  Learn more about Q here.

For more about innovation in public radio, listen to Vermont Edition from July 20th, which featured conversations with VPR President Robin Turnau and Ira Glass of This American Life.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A New Antenna For WVPR 89.5 And WNCH 88.1

We just wanted to let you know that later this week, WVPR 89.5 in Windsor and WNCH 88.1 in Norwich will be operating at low power to install a new antenna on Mount Ascutney for those stations.

This concludes months of work to upgrade these signals. As part of a granted-funded project, the entire transmission systems have been replaced. The final piece of this work involves installing a new antenna.The improvements will allow us to quadruple the size of the HD signal for WVPR and WNCH, and provide VPR Classical coverage for an additional 10,000 people in the Upper Valley.

In order to ensure the safety of the tower crew and accommodate for the extensive work, WVPR and WNCH will be broadcasting at low power from an auxiliary antenna during that time - which will result in a noisy or reduced signal for some listeners.

This work is expected to begin Tuesday, July 17 and finish up next Monday, July 23. The work is weather-dependent, so that is just our best estimate - we will keep you updated as we learn more.

If you are able, I hope you will listen to online at or by using the VPR iPhone app or our mobile site at And as always, thank you for your patience - we are working to get the work done as soon as possible.

7/27/12 Update: Engineers had to stay off the mountain on Thursday and Friday due to the weather. 88.1 will operate at full power today and over the weekend, 89.5 has to remain at low power until the work is completed, which is expected on Monday.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

VPR Classical Takes You To Tanglewood!

This summer, listen Sunday afternoons at 2 for this special series of seven live concerts by the Boston Symphony Orchestra from their summer home for 75 years.

July 15
Conductor Andris Nelsons leads the BSO in Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and the Symphony No. 2 by Brahms.

July 22
Conductor Kurt Masur leads an all-Mozart program that includes the Piano Concerto No. 24 with soloist Gerhard Oppitz.

July 29
Charles Dutoit conducts the BSO in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3, with soloist Emanuel Ax, and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5.

August 5
Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet is the soloist for Saint-Saëns's Piano Concerto No. 5, the "Egyptian," and Lorin Maazel conducts a world premiere by Michael Gandolfi and the Symphonie fantastique by Berlioz.

August 12
Paul Lewis is the soloist in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23 in a program that also includes Beethoven's Symphony No. 4 and Richard Strauss's Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, all conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi.

August 19
Conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos leads the BSO in Beethoven's Violin Concerto, with soloist Gil Shaham, and Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra.

August 26
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos leads the BSO and Tanglewood Festival Chorus in the season-ending concert, including a world premiere by John Harbison and the Symphony No. 9, the "Ode to Joy," by Beethoven.

Friday, July 6, 2012

WVPS 107.9 At Low Power Week Of July 9

Coverage map for the WVPS backup antenna

Next week beginning Monday, July 9, WVPS 107.9 will broadcasting at low power from an auxiliary antenna in order to complete essential and significant antenna work. The work is expected to last 2-3 days* and will result in a noisy or loss of signal for some of our listeners, particularly those in Quebec and to the northwest of the WVPS coverage area. WVPS listening area.

Part of the work will include relocating parts of the antenna to effect the amount of power directed toward the horizon, and as a result the WVPS coverage area may be slightly altered after the work is completed. Affected areas will most likely be on the fringe areas of the signal or possibly the coverage area closest to the antenna.

Vermont’s short summers mean we have a small window of opportunity to get necessary work done at our mountain transmitter sites while the weather is generally cooperative. We know you count on VPR to be there for you everyday, and we want to thank you very much for your patience in advance.

If you are able, we hope you will listen to online at or by using the VPR iPhone app or our mobile site at

Update 7/12/12
We learned late yesterday that the work on WVPS will take longer than expected, due to challenges with the layout of panels for the new antenna. The station will remain at low power through Friday, we'll be at full power over the weekend, then go back to low power for a couple days next week (weather-permitting) to complete the work. We know this is frustrating for many listeners. We want to thank you again for your patience, and please know that we are working to get these upgrades finished as soon as possible.

Update 7/16/12
WVPS is back at low power today to finish up the work. If all goes well, we should be back on the air at full power this afternoon. Thank you again for your patience!

Six National PRNDI Awards For VPR News

VPR News was recognized last weekend by our peers in public radio for our extensive coverage of Tropical Storm Irene's aftermath.

VPR News received four 1st Place awards and two 2nd Place honors at Public Radio News Directors Inc.'s annual conference. PRNDI singles out the best work in public radio each year in four categories. VPR competes in the large station category, which includes major metro stations WNYC, WBUR, and KPLU.

Here are the awards that VPR won:

First Place - Continuing Coverage. Coverage of Tropical Storm Irene.
First Place - Best Multi-Media Presentation. The Irene Effect: Responding to a Tropical Storm's Destruction.
First Place - News/Public Affairs Program. Vermont Edition: Update of Storm Devastation.
First Place - Commentary. April Doherty: First Days.
Second Place - News Feature. Plymouth Rallies Around Residents Who Lost Homes To Irene.
Second Place - Use of Sound. Tapping Backyard Maples.

We appreciate the recognition, of course, but it's bittersweet, considering that we were reporting on the worst disaster to hit our region in decades. We are dedicated to covering the story of Irene recovery for as long as necessary. Thank you for putting your trust in VPR News.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

"Generation Gap," Is Now An iBook

The VPR News series, Generation Gap, is now available in the iTunes store as an iBook.

You can download the book for free from the Apple Store.  It can be viewed using iBooks 2 on an iPad with iOS 5.

The book looks at how young people ages 20-34 continue to leave Vermont in search of jobs and how it affects the economic and cultural well-being of the state.

We're considering releasing additional E-books in the future and we welcome your suggestions and feedback on this first offering!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

VPR Wins A UNITY Award For 2011 To Kill A Mockingbird Series

We learned last week that Vermont Public Radio has won a 2012 national UNITY Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), for our Vermont Reads series last year on To Kill A Mockingbird and race in Vermont. We are one of six organizations – three radio, three television – to receive the award this year, given for ongoing commitment to covering the cultural diversity of the community we serve.

We explored the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee last spring in a week-long series that included a special live broadcast of Vermont Edition at Burr & Burton Academy in Manchester. The series was a collaboration with the Vermont Humanities Council’s annual statewide reading initiative, Vermont Reads.

The series also featured interviews, commentaries, and stories throughout the week during Morning Edition and All Things Considered, taking a contemporary look at race relations in Vermont. The full series is available online here.

RTDNA developed the award with UNITY: Journalists of Color as part of a shared commitment to achieving diversity in the newsroom through developing news content and editorial staffs that reflect the changing face of America.

Congratulations to Melody Bodette, Mitch Wertlieb, and Betty Smith, who produced the series!

Monday, July 2, 2012

You Did It!

Thank you, VPR members!
You did it! On behalf of everyone at VPR, thank you so very much for making VPR’s summer membership drive a huge success! We ended the drive last Friday and surpassed our goal of $485,000 to pay for the all the news, music, conversation, and entertainment you love from VPR News and VPR Classical.

You power VPR with your financial support, but your comments and reflections also keep us going. We get many listener comments during membership drives and throughout the year, but this one-liner really summed it up for us this time around:

Please never stop bringing us such good programming!

So long as there are generous and passionate listeners like you, we won’t! We promise we’ll work harder every day to bring you the best independent, innovative, community-supported news, music, and conversation in Vermont. Thank you so much for all you do for VPR – we couldn’t do it without you!