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40th Anniversary Celebration Recap

On Wednesday, June 22nd, NHPR closed out its 40th Anniversary celebrations with an in-person and Zoom event, looking at our beginnings, our current news and podcast offerings, and where we’re heading. We brought together a collection of NHPR personalities, producers, reporters, board members, and NHPR President Jim Schachter to connect over some individual and shared experiences. They spoke about the struggles, sacrifices and triumphs that went into making NHPR what it is today, and our aspirations for the future.

You can watch the entire event here- and you don’t need a Facebook account to watch but be aware that the program starts about 8 minutes into the video.

The celebration began with opening remarks made by board chair, Susan Zankel. She spoke to the consistency of the organization, noting how there are few institutions that show up every single day and how NHPR, for over 40 years, has done exactly that.

Passing the mic to NHPR president Jim Schachter, he touched upon NHPR’s beginnings as WEVO, and its pioneering efforts made possible by founder Lou Dumont. After thanking the current and former board members for their four decades of support, Schachter introduced a message from board member and lifetime listener, Graham “Gray” Chynoweth. He reminisced about how NHPR has taken him around the world, and how the station's impact has expanded over the years, saying that NHPR is about looking, reading and listening in many forms.

The emcee’s for the evening, Hannah McCarthy and Nick Capodice, hosts of NHPR’s award winning podcast, Civics 101 welcomed guests, Sam Fleming; former reporter and the first host of Morning Edition on NHPR, Margaret Landsman; former on-air reporter/producer for NH Public Radio, along with 27 year veteran and current host of The Folk Show, Kate McNally. Lively conversation was flowing about the early years at NHPR. All three guests echoed the same sentiment around the feeling of excitement about being a part of something new and fresh, and conversely the difficulties of growing and maintaining the integrity of such a small station.

  • Fleming recalls knowing what a high standard they had to live up to, to be just as good as NPR, “we didn’t want people tuning out because they were listening to us locally.” Lots of the reporters in NH were top notch, prompting us to up our game.
  • McNally, Host of The Folk Show remembers, “they told me, don’t sound like a radio announcer,” be personable. When you’re in the grocery store the person behind you should recognize your voice, like having someone there in your living room.
  • Former reporter Margaret Landsman talks about the access that was given to reporters at NHPR, and how it lent itself to richer story telling. “We had access to people that you would normally have to fight tooth and nail to gain access to.”

Following up, speaking about NHPR in the present, and how we can fit into this new evolution of listening, Michael Brindley; NHPR Program Director and Rebecca Lavoie; NHPR Director, On-Demand Audio, took to the stage. Conversations around in-depth storytelling, community inclusiveness, and the shifting modalities to which we hear the news were front and center.

  • People want to get the news on their time, so we are adapting to fit those needs of on demand listening, “it's the evolution of listening.” ~Michael Brindley, Program Director
  • “The idea that radio is dying is not true, it’s just evolving.”~ Rebecca Lavoie, NHPR Director, On-Demand Audio

President Jim Schachter closed out the event, and spoke candidly about his strategy that will carry NHPR into the future:

  • Acting courageously to produce high-impact journalism and seek solutions to our state’s and our nation’s most pressing concerns. 
  • Taking the risk to acknowledge we don’t have all the answers and to seek them out in partnership with our growing community of users and supporters.
  • Innovating constantly in how we meet the news and information needs of the people we serve. 
  • Being a great place to work, and a great place for volunteers to serve.  

This is how we’ll fulfill our vision: that through trustworthy journalism, NHPR will enrich lives and help build stronger communities, in New Hampshire and beyond. 

Let's fly together.

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