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Inside VPR

(Co) host spotlight: meet Connor Cyrus and Mikaela Lefrak

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Connor Cyrus
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VPR
'Vermont Edition' co-hosts Connor Cyrus and Mikaela Lefrak at the Vermont Statehouse.

Vermont Edition is back beginning Thursday, September 9, with co-hosts Connor Cyrus and Mikaela Lefrak.

They want to hear from you about the biggest issues facing your town, Vermont stories you want to learn more about and who’s making a difference or doing something amazing where you live!

Get in touch at vermontedition@vpr.org. In the meantime, here are some things you probably don’t know about them.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Mikaela: My day gets rolling around 7 when my daughter Mara wakes up. I give her breakfast and have a couple cups of coffee while I listen to the news on VPR. After dropping her off at daycare, I head into the office and meet up with the Vermont Edition team. Our day is a mix of brainstorming segment ideas, booking guests, and making ridiculous videos to post on social media. After work I head home to hang out with my family, do projects around our new house, or have friends over for dinner — we love a dinner party.

Connor: My alarm clock almost always wakes me up and I set my alarm to whatever my favorite song is at the time, currently it’s Lizzo’s “Rumors”. Once I’m awake, I catch up on any overnight news, generally by scrolling through social media or turning on one of the local tv stations. At work, I meet with the team to get shows prepared and make sure that we are all on the same page when it comes to how we want the show to sound and flow. Finally, my day generally ends with me hanging out with my friends, either for a quick drink, a boat ride, or meeting up to have a laugh and discuss the day.

Where do you get show ideas?

Mikaela: One of my favorite ways to come up with show ideas is simply through talking to people face-to-face. When a teacher friend tells me a story over dinner about, say, PTA drama at her school, I file it away as a possible story. Or maybe I’m at the grocery store and the bagger tells me a certain brand is going out of business. That could turn into a radio segment one day.

Connor: The majority of my show ideas come from people reaching out to me. I have maintained really good relationships with Vermonters and I rely on them to keep me informed of what is important to their communities. Other show ideas come from my general curiosity about the community and state I live in and conversations with friends.

Who’s your dream guest?

Mikaela: Vermont’s first female representative to Congress, whoever she might be.

Connor: Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama

What do you like to do in your free time?

Mikaela: Yoga, reading and playing with my kid. I also love softball, so if you ever need another player for your beer league, hit me up.

Connor: I love meeting people, so anything that involves me being social. I also love making short movies and social media videos.

What’s your favorite food?

Mikaela: I have two: Raspberries and french fries. I fancy myself a french fry connoisseur.

Connor: Any breakfast item, poutine, or pizza — wait, you said just one, I can't pick.

Are you a morning person or a night person?

Mikaela: I’m an aspirational morning person. My daughter loves the morning, and I try to channel her energy.

Connor: Monday through Friday I’m a morning person, Saturday and Sunday, night person.

Why public media?

Mikaela: I love that public radio stations are powered by their listeners. They are simultaneously our funders, our sources, our audience and our conscience. That sense of community responsibility and care is really important to me. I also think audio storytelling is one of the most effective and emotive forms of sharing information. Being able to focus on someone’s voice -- their laugh, their accent, their particular intonations -- helps me connect with people and understand their story in an entirely different way than if I were reading it online or watching a video.

Connor: I previously worked in TV and oftentimes there’s super tight deadlines and parts of stories get missed especially with complex topics. Public media provides a space that allows more time to tell stories and really captures the nuance of complex stories. VPR and Vermont PBS have amazing reputations for being for the people and I just can’t wait to experience that first hand.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Mikaela: Not really. I take a couple deep inhales and exhales, make sure I have water nearby, then get ready to roll.

Connor: I generally call my mom and remind her to listen. She’s my biggest fan.

How do you balance being in the news business with making sure you take time to unplug and decompress?

Mikaela: I don’t! How do you do it? If someone could tell me, that’d be great.

Connor: I don’t and that’s okay. Everyone has a story to tell and I’m here to listen. I’m always consuming news, meeting new people and half the time it doesn't even feel like work because I would be doing it even if I wasn’t hosting Vermont Edition.

Send your ideas and questions to vermontedition@vpr.org and listen weekdays at noon for Vermont Edition. You can also hear the rebroadcast at 7 p.m. or subscribe to the podcast.

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