Friday, August 31, 2012

We 'Like' You Too!

While many of our listeners make a pledge during the membership drive or like us on Facebook just because we ask, let's face it, there's nothing like the phrase "you'll be entered to win" to encourage you to do something you were thinking about doing anyway. That's why we are grateful to the businesses that offer their services, products, and gift certificates as prizes during our membership drives and other contests!

We want to thank the following businesses for contributing prizes to our August Facebook contest - 'like' doesn't begin to describe how we feel about these VPR supporting businesses and all of our new Facebook fans! Congratulations to all the prize winners!

KeyBank donated our grand prize: a $500 KeyPossibilites Master Card gift card.

Kiss the Cook, a locally-owned kitchen and gift shop on Church Street in Burlington, offered a Le Creuset gift package, including a French oven and utensils.

Dear Lucy, a shoe and hand bag shop on Church Street in Burlington, provided a $200 gift card.

Hunger Mountain Co-op, a community-owned natural market in Montpelier, contributed a $200 gift card.

The Perfect Wife Restaurant in Manchester is treating four people to experience Amy Chamberlain's freestyle cuisine.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Three-Day Pledge Drive Will Fight Hunger And Promote Nutrition Education

As a statewide organization dedicated to public service, VPR is deeply rooted in the communities we serve. Over the last several years, we’ve been taking our mission a step further by bringing listeners together during membership drives to support organizations that help improve the quality of life in Vermont - while raising the money to support the programming you count on.

We’re proud to announce another community partnership for our “mini” membership drive next week: For every pledge VPR receives through noon on September 8, the Vermont Community Foundation will donate a bag of groceries to Hunger Free Vermont's Learning Kitchen program.

Hunger Free Vermont is a statewide organization with the mission to end hunger and malnutrition for all Vermonters. The Learning Kitchen program empowers low-income Vermonters to make healthy food choices through classes taught in schools and community centers throughout the state. After learning to prepare (and enjoying!) a meal in class, participants take home a grocery bag that includes all of the ingredients to recreate the meal at home with their families. The Learning Kitchen enhances community health and self-sufficiency by enabling parents and children to develop the practical skills necessary to establish life-long healthy eating habits.

The Vermont Community Foundation fosters philanthropy in Vermont by helping individuals, organizations, and businesses put their values and their spirit of giving to work in the state. 

We are grateful to our partners Hunger Free Vermont and the Vermont Community Foundation who have joined with us in the unique partnership!

Now it’s up to you.

Your pledge during this short, three-day fundraiser benefits you, VPR, and our community. Of course, you don’t have to wait to make your pledge – your pledge online today will support VPR and Hunger Free Vermont.

Thanks so much!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The VPR Picnic: Save the Date... and Volunteer!

This year’s VPR Listener Picnic is going to be Saturday, September 29 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. at the Vermont Agricultural Business Education Center (known locally as “the Famolare place”) in Brattleboro. Our special guest is Lynne Rossetto Kasper of The Splendid Table who’ll be playing Stump the Cook with us. There will be lots of Vermont foods, live music and of course, your favorite VPR hosts! Picnic goes on rain or shine. Check back soon for more details!

Also, volunteers are needed to help with the picnic. Lunch will be provided, and you’ll get to take home a VPR mug as a souvenir. Please contact Ty Robertson to sign up by emailing

Friday, August 24, 2012

Introducing Friday Night Jazz With Reuben Jackson

We’d like to you meet Reuben Jackson, who will host Friday Night Jazz with Reuben Jackson from 8-11 p.m. beginning Friday, August 31.

Reuben takes you on a new adventure every week, exploring the great American invention called jazz. You’ll explore the back roads and alleys of the genre, the musicians and standards you love, and experience that essential element of surprise. Reuben also shares his in-depth knowledge of the stories behind the music.

Reuben Jackson is a poet, music critic and educator with jazz in his soul and radio in his blood. He hosted his first jazz radio program as a student at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. Now, after 50 years in Washington, D.C., Reuben has returned to Vermont to teach and share his passion for music.

Reuben was curator of the Duke Ellington Collection at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. for more than 20 years. His music reviews have been published in The Washington Post, Washington City Paper, All About Jazz, Jazz Times, Jazziz, and on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Reuben is also a poet, a mentor with The Young Writers Project and educator. He now teaches English at Burlington High School in Burlington, Vermont.

“I am drawn to jazz's emotional and structural possibilities."
- Reuben Jackson

His decision to leave Washington and return to Vermont to teach is chronicled in a series of interviews on The Story with Dick Gordon.

Reuben says that he loves music – period, and because of that, he doesn’t always distinguish between genres. However, “I am drawn to jazz's emotional and structural possibilities. It allows the player room for his or her musical personality to profoundly shape the musical direction and output. I look forward to sharing what poet/musician Patti Smith dubbed the 'sea of possibilities' within this rich genre.”

What can listeners expect on Friday nights?

“I seek to achieve chronological, stylistic and emotional balance. I'm a romantic with a real thing for ballads, so I have to constantly remind myself that I'm not in my living room (although I hope listeners feel that degree of comfort), and that not everyone wants to hear ninety versions of 'Time On My Hands.' I also think that we as jazz programmers have to include more female performers - and not just vocalists.”

“I think that a well-arranged show is not unlike a well-written piece of music. You want it to be interesting to the audience, and you want the audience to feel like they’re part of the experience. I also feel that variety is important. I'm reminded of something the great saxophonist Lester Young told a journalist: 'You've got to be original, man.'"

We hope you’ll join Reuben, a true original himself, on Friday nights beginning August 31!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Marking The Anniversary Of Tropical Storm Irene

About this time a year ago, tropical weather was swirling in the Atlantic and would shortly become Hurricane Irene. Little did we know what was coming our way.

A house in Bethel was moved from its foundation. AP Photo
Vermont hadn't been hit full force by a tropical storm since the great New England Hurricane of 1938, before we started naming storms. And this one was worse, rivaling, and in some ways exceeding the flood of 1927.

So, with the anniversary, VPR News will take time over the next week to assess the storm and how we're recovering.

We've found that it's quite difficult to come to any blanket conclusions about how we're doing as a state. We've fixed the roads and most of the bridges are back in shape. But there is still a lot of pain and frustration and confusion among the people whose homes were battered by the storm, or whose homes simply washed away.

We aim to tell their stories over the next week. Some of them are heartwarming tales of overcoming what Irene threw at us. But for far too many of our friends, family and neighbors, recovery remains a distant dream clouded by the uncertainties of FEMA buyouts and charitable foundations.

VPR made a commitment last year to tell the stories of those affected by this incredible disaster until Vermont has recovered. And so we are. Listen all week during Morning Edition, Vermont Edition, and All Things Considered.

And we encourage you to share your own stories and photos in the comments below or on VPR's Facebook page.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Voyage Through The Heart Of Africa

VPR Audio Engineer John Billingsley on Location in Africa
VPR’s John Billingsley works magic with audio for his day job, but he’s also a film producer.  Billingsly co-directed and produced the documentary film Liemba, which will be screened in New York City on the 18th.

Liemba takes the viewer on an epic journey down the longest lake in the world on Africa’s last surviving steamship, the MV Liemba.  A voyage down Lake Tanganyika aboard the Liemba reveals how people living along the remote shores of the lake continue to rely on this battered old relic of the German colonial era for their livelihood as they have for almost 100 years.

The MV Liemba is a vital lifeline for otherwise isolated communities; the principle means of transport for cargo and people traveling throughout Africa and a meeting place where Africans from all walks of life come together.  Billingsley says the Liemba is a microcosm of the contintent.  “Traveling to Africa with this project was a dream come true.  Interviewing people, shooting video and recording music as we traveled down Lake Tanganyiga was a incredible experience.”

The New York screening is Saturday, the 18th on the deck of the Lilac, a 1930s lighthouse tender that is now a nautical museum docked in Tribeca.  We plan to screen the documentary here at VPR in the near future.

More about Liemba 
John's Production Company:  Breadbox Productions
The German government recently announced plans to refurbish the MV Liemba. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Celebrating 35 Years Of Public Radio In Vermont

August 13th is a very special day for Vermont Public Radio! We went on the air 35 years ago today, bringing public radio to Vermonters for the first time.  It's also the 5th anniversary of Vermont Edition becoming a daily program! To celebrate, we put together this slideshow of VPR through the years:

Back then, people said Vermont was too small and rural to support a vibrant public radio service, but today we’re one of the most listened-to and best-supported public radio stations in the country. Thank you for proving them wrong!

When did you first discover VPR? We hope you'll share your memories by posting a comment below.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Reaping The Benefits Of The Digital Era

With Public Post Vermont Public Radio takes advantage of electronic records to conduct more independent fact-finding for the benefit of Vermont. In aggregating government documents in a searchable online database, our newsroom has rethought the way we cover Vermont’s communities.

Since we launched last year, we’ve already reaped the benefits of the digital era. For example, we found an item about license plate readers sparking privacy concerns in Hardwick’s minutes, which became a story in a VPR newscast and then was carried by NPR.

But not all agenda items turn into long-form national broadcast stories. Some are shared on social media (“@vprnet: In Killington, select board member proposes giving free tuition to people who relocate to the resort community: #VT #PublicPost.”), before we report and produce a story for our statewide newscast.

Of course, we don’t have the resources to cover all city council and select board meetings in the state. But with Public Post we hope to tease out themes that help to define our regional identity.

We present our work online and on-air in compelling ways, and we hope you will help by sharing news from your town. So search the city council and select board minutes for a topic, and post a comment or share it on Twitter using the hashtag #PublicPost to open a discussion about an issue that affects your community.

And if you don’t see the records from your council or select board and would like us to add them, send us an email at

Kirk Carapezza
Online Editor/Reporter

(note: the blog post was reposted from the VPR News Blog)

How Do You "Like" Us Now?

If you're not following VPR on Facebook, you're missing out on striking photos, the answers to some clever questions, and lots of spontaneous conversations. When you like us on Facebook this month, you’ll enjoy all of this – and you could win some cool prizes.

We're giving away:

August 22: Dinner for four at The Perfect Wife Restaurant and Tavern in Manchester, from award-winning chef Amy Chamberlain.

August 24: $200 gift certificate to the Dear Lucy shoe shop on Church Street in Burlington

August 27: Le Creuset gift basket from Kiss The Cook, including a 4 1/2-quart round Le Creuset French oven with selected accessories.

August 29: $200 gift certificate to Hunger Mountain Coop, a community-owned natural foods cooperative in Montpelier.

August 31: $500 KeyPossibilities MasterCard Gift Card from Keybank

If you like prizes, we hope you'll like VPR and enter to win at our Facebook page.

With all the great conversations happening on our Facebook page, we’re looking to grow that community - all while having some late-summer fun with our listeners and underwriters.

Thanks for "liking" us and good luck!

(Update: Even if you don't use Facebook, you can still participate)