Vermont Public Radio and Vermont PBS have announced the VPR – Vermont PBS Debates, a new collaboration to broadcast four live candidate debates leading up to the General Election on November 6. The debates will be moderated by Bob Kinzel, Peter Hirschfeld and Jane Lindholm during VPR’s program Vermont Edition and broadcast by Vermont PBS.
The stations began discussing potential partnerships last summer. After successful collaboration on the VPR News Minute and the VPR – Vermont PBS Poll released in advance of the primaries in August, they decided to expand their partnership to include four general election debates.
"It's important that voters statewide have the opportunity to draw clear distinctions between candidates and to have those distinctions illuminated by experienced journalists," said John Van Hoesen, VPR’s Senior Vice President and Chief Content Officer. "With this collaboration, our organizations will bring political debates to more people and help the voters to become well informed about their choices."
“Together with VPR, we bring our audiences a depth of understanding of the issues and candidates that they can take with them to the polls,” stated Holly Groschner, President and CEO of Vermont PBS. “It’s more important than ever this election season that public media advance civil discourse, and the VPR - Vermont PBS Debates do just that.”
The live debates will air from 12-1 p.m. during Vermont Edition’s regularly scheduled program, and again from 7-8 p.m., with the exception of the gubernatorial debate, which will air live from 7-8 p.m. The public is encouraged to participate in the conversation and share their questions for the candidates by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with a text question or voice memo, or by calling 802-552-3425 and leaving a message. These questions may be used in the debates.
The debate schedule is as follows:
Lieutenant Governor: Wednesday, October 10, live from 12-1 p.m., rebroadcast from 7-8 p.m.
- Don Turner (R)
- David Zuckerman (P/D)
U.S. House: Wednesday, October 17, live from 12-1 p.m., rebroadcast from 7-8 p.m.
- Anya Tynio (R)
- Peter Welch (D)
Governor: Wednesday, October 24, live from 7-8 p.m.
- Christine Hallquist (D)
- Phil Scott (R)
U.S. Senator: Monday, October 29, live from 12-1 p.m., rebroadcast from 7-8 p.m.
- Bernie Sanders (I)
- Lawrence Zupan (R)
In addition to the debate series, VPR is interviewing all candidates for statewide office during Morning Edition, Vermont Edition and All Things Considered as part of its Campaign 2018 coverage. Vermont PBS will broadcast and make available on its website one-minute filmed candidate commentaries of all candidates who are on the Vermont Secretary of State’s ballot for statewide office. The debates will air statewide on the stations of Vermont Public Radio and Vermont PBS, and at VPR.net and VermontPBS.org. Audio of the debates will be available at VPR.net after the broadcast concludes.