BRATTLEBORO - For the first time in its history, Vermont Public Radio is going to hold its annual listeners picnic in Brattleboro.
On Saturday, Sept. 29, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Vermont Agricultural Business Education Center at 8 University Way, VPR staff and online personalities will be in Windham County to meet listeners and talk about the station.
The event will even feature Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of the Splendid Table, and more than 20 Vermont food and beverage producers will be there to hand out samples and sell their products.
But long after the tents are taken down and the tables and chairs packed up, VPR will be having a stronger presence in southern Vermont: In the coming
The current station in southern Vermont, 94.5, will become all classical music, though the station may have to move that signal.
And VPR is also set to open a new studio in the Marlboro College Graduate Center. The fully equipped studio will allow VPR radio hosts to travel to Brattleboro to interview local residents, and it will be outfitted with the most modern equipment to allow reporters to conduct interviews from VPR's main station in Colchester.
"This is going to allow us to connect better with the people in Windham County," said Michelle Jeffery, VPR coordinator of marketing and communications. "It's something
VPR applied to the FCC for a license for a stronger station in Windham County back in 2007, and found out in September 2010 that it would be permitted to build the new station.
The new station is expected to deliver a strong signal that will reach from Greenfield, Mass. in the south to Bellows Falls, and from Keene, N.H. in the east over to Marlboro in the west.
The station is expected to go online this week at half power as technicians test the equipment.
The studio, which is still being finished at the Marlboro Grad Center, is expected to open on Election Day.
"Brattleboro has great people and a strong and rich tradition of supporting culture and food and art and we want to be a part of that," Jeffery said. "It's going to be more than a picnic this weekend. It's a big deal. It's a perfect confluence to have this event to celebrate the studio and the stronger signal for Windham County."
VPR holds a listener picnic every year, and the event typically is scheduled for late summer, or early fall. The station brings in a national public radio personality and this year Kasper will travel to Vermont to talk about her show, and about the state's artisan food producers.
"Vermont Edition" host Jane Lindholm will interview Kasper.
Admission to Saturday's event is free and food will be available for purchase.
Jeffery said the station hoped to hold its picnic in Brattleboro this year, when all of its plans to open the studio and station came together. Now, she said, the picnic on Saturday will give the station staff a chance to introduce themselves to the people in Windham County.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at email@example.com or at 802-254-2311 ext. 279.