Beginning Friday, Aug. 3, Virginia Public Radio (VPR) stations, including WVTF Public Radio, will begin broadcasting “Virginia Conversations” live across the commonwealth. 

The weekly one-hour program that will focus on timely topics of statewide interest, will air Friday mornings at 9 a.m. on WVTF, RADIO IQ, and on WHRV and affiliated stations in the Hampton Roads/Tidewater area. It will replace the first hour of Morning Classics on WVTF and National Public Radio’s (NPR) Morning Edition on RADIO IQ.

Hosted by May-Lily Lee, Virginia Conversations is co-produced by WVTF Public Radio and RADIO IQ's Connie Stevens and Jerry Caldwell. 

Lee also is the host and senior producer of “Virginia Currents” which airs on public television stations statewide. She has covered Virginia public policy for public broadcasting since Gov. Doug Wilder's inauguration, and she has hosted weekly programs from the state capitol during General Assembly sessions. 

Stevens is the news director for WVTF and RADIO IQ and managing editor for VPR. Caldwell, who has worked as a journalist for 32 years in newsrooms in Roanoke, Va., San Diego, and Norfolk, Va., has received several awards for his work, including two regional Emmys and a Peabody Award.

Other participating radio stations will rebroadcast the show at different times. Links to the VPR participating stations may be found online and the program also will be streamed live on the WVTF website.

Upcoming editions of “Virginia Conversations” will include a discussion on the impact of globalization on manufacturing jobs in Southwestern Virginia and on workers at the Port of Virginia in Hampton Roads and a conversation with Paula Johnson, the Virginia woman who in 1998 discovered the little girl she had been raising was not her biological daughter.

WVTF Program Director and VPR Manager Rick Mattioni says, “We’ll do a little occasional catching up on what some famous Virginians are doing these days. Scheduled guests for a special 'Where Are They Now' edition of 'Virginia Conversations' includes John Warner, Chuck Robb, Jim Gilmore, and Ollie North. 'Virginia Conversations' will also feature guests from the world of arts and entertainment and listeners will have the opportunity to join in the conversation by calling a statewide toll-free number much like 'The Diane Rheem Show' and 'Talk of the Nation' from NPR”.

VPR is a news and information service providing daily news reports and in-depth weekly features to public radio stations in the commonwealth. WVTF Public Radio and RADIO IQ are the lead stations and VPR is managed by the WVTF and RADIO IQ staff. The other participating stations include WAMU covering the Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.,-metro area, WEHC covering southwest Virginia from Abingdon, WHRV in Hampton Roads, WTJU in Charlottesville, and WVRU which serves the New River Valley.

“As far as I can tell, 'Virginia Conversations' will be the first regular weekly news/talk program to broadcast throughout the commonwealth. It is also the first regularly scheduled full hour conversation program produced by VPR. The WVTF/RADIO IQ extended coverage area and the VPR network of stations allows listeners from all around the commonwealth to participate.”

WVTF general manager Glenn Gleixner adds, “We expect to continue to provide more in-depth reporting, special features, and regular weekly programs as participation and support for VPR continues to grow."

VPR and “Virginia Conversations” are underwritten by grants from the Virginia Education Association.

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