Asking A Lot!
Fran Stoddard – Keeping Beat with Community
Fran Stoddard recalls vividly the summer evening she was outside hosting a barbeque when her phone rang. “This is the Supreme Court!” boomed a gruff male voice, that went on to brusquely convey the message that Chief Justice William Rehnquist had declined her request for an interview on her Vermont Public Television (VPT) program, Profile.
“I was this close [to getting him],” she recalls of Rehnquist, who for many years had a home in Greensboro, VT until his death in 2005 – and who had been high on Stoddard’s list to court for an interview.
While that live-to-tape conversation with the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court did not come to be, there has been no shortage, however, of luminaries who have sat across the table from this award-winning interviewer, as well as many other intriguing individuals who may not be household names. Profile, which Stoddard has produced and hosted since October 2001, features guests from Vermont as well as from the national and international realm.
“I can show you my continuous running list [of potential guests] and it never gets short! Which is great!” Stoddard laughs as we talk in the kitchen of her Williston home.
Guests are selected with the criteria that they are individuals who have made a significant contribution, with diversity in terms of gender, race, occupation, issue, and geography. Stoddard describes her modus operandi: To consider the audience; research thoroughly; be responsive; value knowledge and inspiration over merely entertainment; get to the hard questions in a human, not sensational, “gotcha” way; and to listen intently.
Stoddard let us put her in the guest seat to talk more about Profile, the art of live interviewing, the thrill of Taiko drumming, and much more.
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