Brave Little State

What if you could decide what stories Vermont Public Radio should be covering, before they're even assigned?

That's the idea behind Brave Little State, a podcast where you ask the questions, you decide what VPR investigates, and then you work with us to find the answers.

So tell us: What question do you have about Vermont, our region or its people that you want us to explore? Submit it below, or leave us a short voicemail at 802-552-4880.

Presenting Homegoings, a special series from Brave Little State. Conversations with Vermont musicians of color — about Black grief, reslilience and music. All episodes out now:

Credit Elodie Reed / VPR

Coming soon:

  • "Who, and what factors, determine the placement of moose signs on our roads?" — Jocelyn Hebert, North Calais | Available in June
  • "I have black children and wonder if they would be made to feel uncomfortable if we move to Vermont?" — Anonymous | Available in July
  • "How did the F-35s end up being based in Vermont?" — Bobby Arnell | Available in July

Subscribe to Brave Little State for free, and never miss an episode:


Brave Little State is powered by Hearken. Our theme music is by Ty Gibbons. All questions asked make it to the question archive unless they don’t meet our guidelines for decorum, fairness or obvious conflicts of interest.



Hearken loading...

A black and white image of a person with three blue dots on their forehead, an orange flower crown and yellow lines shining like rays from their face, all against a lime green background
PHOTO: Shanta Lee Gander, Courtesy / GRAPHIC: Elodie Reed, VPR

A conversation with DonnCherie about compassion, artistic authenticity and taking Blackness back.

A black and white image of a person holding a sunflower. Blue hearts are over the persons sunglasses, and little yellow crowns are on the ends of the person's braids. Red background with green outlines around the image of the person.
PHOTO: Myla Jacobs, Courtesy / GRAPHIC: Elodie Reed, VPR

A conversation with Rivan Calderin about BIPOC exhaustion, safety and music as a platform for consciousness.

A black and white image of a person in a long robe against a bright yellow background with a flower crown and red triangles shaped like a cape.
PHOTO: Jack Rowell, Courtesy / GRAPHIC: Elodie Reed, VPR

A conversation with Senayit Tomlinson about Black trauma, music and getting through.

Three people in black and white with colorful lines drawn on their clothing, against a bright blue background, with orange lightning bolts framing them
Photo: Brian Glenny, Courtesy / Graphic: Elodie Reed, VPR

A conversation with Bobby Hackney Jr. about Black grief, resilience and music. 

A person stands with a sign reading: A pension is a promise, do the right thing, in front of a grey building and a dozen other people surrounds them
Angela Evancie / VPR

Vermont’s underfunded pension system has forced an awkward question: If the state makes a promise to its workers, does it have to keep its word? And just how urgent is the problem, anyway?

Two people are pictured here posing, from a distance, with their VPR field recorders and microphones.
BLS Team / VPR

You’re going to be hearing some new voices in Brave Little State. Who are they, and what do they do? Join us for this meet-and-greet with VPR’s two new engagement producers, Myra Flynn and Josh Crane.

Two panels. On right: A person in a wheelchair on edge of huge cliff. On left: A person in a wheelchair with two speech bubbles reading , "do I get a job and lose my benefits?" and "or do I stay where I am?"
Kristin Laflin / For VPR

Federal disability insurance is forcing some Vermonters with disabilities to make an impossible choice — between keeping their benefits and working full time. Why aren’t there better options?

This black and white photo, thought to have been taken in a mill in Winooski, includes a caption suggesting that the man's name is Abair.
Vermont Historical Society

We explore an aspect of the state's history that some say is overlooked — and answer listener questions about Anglicized names and discrimination — in this encore episode of Brave Little State.

A collage of portraits of people who died after contracting COVID-19 in Vermont.
Elodie Reed / VPR

More than 200 Vermonters have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Brave Little State looks back on a year of loss.

A black and white photograph of a group of students and a teacher standing outside a one-room schoolhouse.
Vermont Historical Society, courtesy

How did Vermont end up with so many small, one-room schools? And why don’t we use them anymore? 

A diverse group of people stands together, smiling.
Emulsify Art for VPR

How can a state that is 94% white do better? Brave Little State presents an illustrated guide, featuring insights from Vermonters of color.

Katherine Welles / iStock

This one goes out to our future neighbors. To answer a question from Samantha Spano, of South Florida, Brave Little State collected your advice.

A snowy mountain against a blue sky
Elodie Reed / VPR

Ever been called out for mispronouncing Calais, or Topsham? Or wondered how to say “Lake Champlain” in Abenaki? With your help, we’ve built an audio guide for that.

Sen. Patrick Leahy is sworn in as President Pro Tempore of the Senate on Feb. 4, 2021, with wife Marcelle Pomerleau by his side.
Greg Nash / Associated Press

The Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump begins Tuesday, Feb. 9, and Vermont's Sen. Patrick Leahy will play a key role in the trial. 

A white church on a snowy day
Angela Evancie / VPR

The small town of Fletcher did notably well during the 1918 flu pandemic. How did they manage that, and how are they managing COVID?

If You're Worried About Climate Change, Where Should You Live?

Jan 7, 2021
A car is submerged in flooded waters with people looking on in the background
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

A listener question with some local implications. We pass the mic to our friends at New Hampshire Public Radio's show Outside/In

A comic with the text welcome to vermont up top, with two cows looking at each other with speech bubbles above them, one reading flatlander, one reading woodchuck, with camel's hump in the background
Comic: Elodie Reed / Images: GlobalP, iStock / Niranjan Arminius, Wikimedia Commons

Where did these unusual labels come from, and what do they evoke today? A question about blatant stereotypes, and the Green Mountain lingo we use for them.

An upward view of the statehouse dome.
Elodie Reed / VPR File

Health concerns associated with the coronavirus pandemic mean the 2021 legislative session will be quite different from previous years. But before lawmakers get together in January, Vermont's three electors to the Electoral College will meet in Montpelier on Monday, Dec. 14.

A sign reading north 139 and Canada Border 2 miles with a holiday wreath hung up next to it
Elodie Reed / VPR

In the heart of this strange, sad holiday season, businesses and families continue to navigate the ongoing border closure between Vermont and Canada. So how are they doing?

A man in a hard hat in a bucket truck next to a white barn with a tree and mountain in the background
Elodie Reed / VPR

The pandemic has shifted even more of our lives online. So what's being done to address Vermont's internet inequities?

That's what Maggie Eppstein of Hinesburg asked Brave Little State, VPR's people-powered journalism project.