If you listen to VPR on weekends, you might recognize Mary's voice. On Saturdays and Sundays from 6 a.m. - 2 p.m., she keeps you company with the latest news on Weekend Edition and your favorite weekend shows. She's been at VPR for eight years in all sorts of roles from producer to director to host. Here are some things you probably don’t know about her.
What does a typical weekend day look like for you?
Before I begin gathering items for the VPR newscasts, I take a few moments to just stand in the VPR lobby and center myself (being a busy mom in a busy world, I cherish the quiet). I also use those few seconds of stillness to ask myself, ‘What would someone who is listening to VPR this morning need to know most?’ I try to gauge the temperature of the previous week in the news then look ahead to the week to come. If I can find myself in the center of it all, I can better present the news to our audience.
I run my own board in the studio and have to juggle sound bites, newscast items, scripts, weather forecasts, music beds and other audio elements during Weekend Edition, which is kind of like conducting your own orchestra and playing all the instruments.
I spend the most time gathering news stories from our own newsroom as well as writing and editing stories from other local, trusted sources for news, weather and information. My litmus test for news items is whether it rises to VPR’s vision of exploring the whole Vermont story, together. When someone listens in, whether for the first time of the thousandth time, I want them to get a true sense of this place.
Do you ever get recognized for your voice in public?
Having spent the last 30 years talking on several Vermont radio stations, in thousands of commercials and even online in car dealership videos, you would think so, but ironically, no! However, since I married and changed my last name, I get recognized all the time. So, I guess that means it’s my spouse (musician and VPR audio engineer Peter Engisch) that gets recognized…
What new features are you working on for your weekend shifts?
I’m really enjoying interviewing reporters from the local newspapers around Vermont. I think it’s essential that we know what issues are top-of-mind in communities in every corner of our region. And, starting this weekend, our listeners will get even more access to gardening expert, Charlie Nardozzi. We’ll have a weekly interview called 'All Things Gardening,' when listeners can send gardening questions to Charlie and he’ll tackle as many as he can each week. (You can submit a question here!).
Your weekends are Tuesday and Wednesday. What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to go to the gym and challenge myself to lift heavier and heavier every day. And, I used to think my affinity for cake-baking just dropped into my lap out of the blue until I researched my family tree. It’s been fascinating to see distant relatives who made their careers baking.
What’s something VPR’s audience might find surprising about you?
I’ve been a vegan for 22 years. I also don’t eat wheat or other grains or even sugar! So those cakes I bake are all creations made from scratch. They are really a combination of nut dust held together with coconut oil…and they are surprisingly tasty.