VPR Celebrates 40 Years Of Public Service

Aug 1, 2017

VPR celebrates its 40th anniversary on August 13, 2017. Join us all month as we look back at everything we've accomplished together, while looking forward to the next 40 years of public service.

We’ll be sharing our favorite stories and concerts, vintage photos, a look behind the scenes, playlists and more. Check back here throughout the month for updates, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to join in the celebration! We hope you’ll share your own photos, memories and hopes for the future of VPR using #VPR40.

"There are too many mountains in Vermont. You have more cows than people. It will never work."

"There are too many mountains in Vermont. You have more cows than people. It will never work."

That’s what national experts said in 1975, when a small group of Vermonters got together and pitched this crazy idea to start Vermont Public Radio. VPR had just two employees and one big vision: to create a statewide resource that would connect Vermont’s many communities to share ideas and discuss issues that affected us all.

Read more about the history of VPR.

"I had about a week's worth of programming lined up...and now we had to feed the beast." - Betty Smith Mastaler

Betty Smith Mastaler produces VPR’s Commentary Series, but we also know her as VPR’s “Founding Mother.” She’s been with the station since the very first day. She started out in commercial radio and was one of the first women on the radio in Vermont. She worked as a volunteer with Ray Dilley and Ray Phillips to put the station on the air in 1977.

When the StoryCorps Mobile Booth was in residence in Burlington last summer, VPR President Robin Turnau sat down with Betty to talk about the station’s auspicious beginnings and how far VPR has come. 

VPR President Robin Turnau and VPR "Founding Mother" Betty Smith Mastaler in the StoryCorps mobile booth in August 2016.
Credit StoryCorps

Listen to their conversation.

Today, VPR is thriving as one of the most listened-to public radio stations in the country. That says a lot about the people of this region —  that they care about community, value cultural connections and believe an informed public strengthens our democracy.

According to Betty Smith, “because we had made the critical decision not to depend on another organization or the state for financial support, but to stand or fall on the value of our service to the community, every single step of building this network has depended on the support of people with vision, commitment and a few dollars to spare."

Thank your for being part of our community; we would not be here without you. We can’t wait to see what the next 40 years will bring.