2016 President's Letter

May 3, 2016

At VPR, we are constantly working to connect with you and improve our service to the community, and a  new year is always an opportunity to reflect on the past and look ahead to the future. To that end, I want to share with you just a handful of the indelible and vitally important moments our community made possible in 2015.

Listener support is the cornerstone of all that VPR is and does, and for this, we are so grateful.  You have helped make VPR an indispensable resource for the people of our region.

In-Depth Reporting
You count on VPR to dig deep – beyond the headlines, through close examination of the issues that affect us as a state. The VPR News team continues to bring a vital depth of knowledge to the community and hold people in power to account.

  • VPR News won three regional Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association for writing, continuing coverage of drug addiction in Vermont, and its overall digital news content.
  • VPR News’ Downstream series looked at water quality and pollution in Vermont. The series aired in 10 parts on VPR and featured an extensive digital project that dove deep into the Lake Champlain cleanup plan and revealing exactly what’s being proposed and what parts of the lake are most at risk.
  • We increased our investigative and enterprise reporting through a partnership with independent data journalist Hilary Niles. As Vermont faced an increasing budget gap in excess of $100 million, the first project looked at $1 billion in hidden tax breaks.
  • VPR doubled down on coverage of health care, the economy, education and other public policy issues that impact our region.

Vermont Edition: Connecting Our Community
Vermont Edition, VPR’s daily public affairs program, continues to connect listeners around the most relevant topics of the day.

  • Vermont Edition began the year with a series of on-site broadcasts at the Vermont Legislature and the Vermont Farm Show.
  • Other essential topics that inspired a statewide conversation include Vermont’s large budget gap, a sugar-sweetened beverage tax, multiple discussions about race, the natural gas pipeline, Islam in Vermont, farm-runoff pollution and climate change.
  • Vermont Edition regularly connects you with Vermont’s Congressional delegation, inviting listeners to add their voices to the conversation.

Election Coverage

  • Becoming Bernie examined the rise and record of Vermont presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. The program has aired on more than a dozen stations across the country and was featured at NPR.org.
  • With Governor Peter Shumlin’s announcement that he would not seek reelection, the gubernatorial race is wide open for 2016. As candidates have stepped forward to vie for the office, Vermont Edition has broadcast in-depth, one-on-one interviews with the candidates.

Discovering Vermont’s Sound

  • Whether it’s classical, jazz, folk or contemporary, you can count on VPR to bring you incredible music. We are devoted to supporting the local music community through live performances, interviews, and concert promotion.
  • Live From The Fort, VPR’s online video concert series, has featured 17 Vermont-based bands including Swale, The Grift and Rough Francis, all recorded at our Fort Ethan Allen studios in Colchester. The series provides an opportunity to discover and explore the rich and diverse contemporary music scene here in Vermont. 
  • VPR Classical welcomed James Stewart last year as its weekday afternoon host. James has deep experience with classical music and recently received his doctorate of musical arts from The Hartt School of Music. You can hear his program from 4-7 p.m. on weekdays, and on Saturdays from 8-10 a.m.
  • Timeline is a new podcast and program on VPR Classical that offers an exploration into the development of Western music.

Improved Access
VPR is committed to making our programs accessible no matter how you choose to connect.

  • VPR’s new Podcast Directory includes Wintry Mix, which explores Vermont’s snow economy and culture, and Awesome Etiquette, which is recorded at VPR and distributed by American Public Media’s Infinite Guest network.
  • VPR is a lead partner in NPR One, a smartphone app that connects you to public radio news, stories, and podcasts from around the world and here in our region – tailored to your schedule and interests. It’s “public radio made personal” and it is part of our commitment to make our content as accessible as possible.

In a media and technology landscape that is constantly changing, one thing you can count on is VPR’s commitment to public service. We are dedicated to helping you better understand your world, inspiring you to be an engaged citizen, and satisfying your curiosity. All of these things are rare in today’s world, but thanks to you, they flourish here at VPR .  

Again, thank you for being part of our community! I wish you the best for the new year ahead, and we look forward to serving you in 2016.