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Friday, September 22, 2017

Opinion
Walters: Radio Vet Steve Cormier Buys WDEV

Posted By on Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 10:09 PM

Steve Cormier and Tom Brennan during their days as Burlington radio personalities "Corm and the Coach" - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Steve Cormier and Tom Brennan during their days as Burlington radio personalities "Corm and the Coach"
After a long search for the right buyer, Ken Squier found his man working right there next to him.

In a Friday afternoon press release, Squier announced the sale of the Waterbury-based Radio Vermont Group, which includes WDEV-AM and FM, to the firm’s director of sales, Steve Cormier.

“I am thrilled that after 87 years [of Squier family ownership] the station will remain among Vermonters,” said Squier in the release.

Squier’s father, Lloyd, founded WDEV in 1931, and the station continues to offer predominantly local programming. Ken Squier, 82, has worked at the station since he was 12 years old; he also achieved national fame as a NASCAR broadcaster, and he is a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

In addition to WDEV, the Radio Vermont Group also operates 101 the One, which plays classic hit songs, and country station WLVB-FM in Morrisville.

Squier had been quietly looking for a buyer for a couple of years. His search was first reported by Seven Days in June. At the time, he said he was looking for “a Vermonter or some Vermonters who are interested in and dedicated to local programming.”

Cormier would seem to be a good fit. Before joining the Radio Vermont Group in 2015, he was station manager at WTSA Radio in Brattleboro. And that followed a 26-year run in Burlington broadcasting, most famously as cohost of the “Corm and the Coach” morning show.

“Local radio, there’s nothing like it!” Cormier said. WDEV’s local-heavy format, he added, “ain’t going anywhere.” That includes Squier, who does weekday sportscasts on WDEV and the renowned “Music to Go to the Dump By” show Saturdays at 9 a.m.

“I want him there every day,” said Cormier of Squier, who will serve as an advisor as well. “‘The Dump’ show, sports, until he decides he doesn’t want to do it anymore.”

Cormier also plans no changes at WLVB-FM, and minimal changes, if any, at 101 the One.

Cormier professed a personal commitment to maintaining WDEV’s emphasis on local programming. “I’ve worked for Clear Channel,” he said of the nation’s biggest radio conglomerate, now known as iHeartMedia. “I saw what they did. They didn’t care about their communities.”

The sale is subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission, which is expected to take a few months. Cormier would not discuss the sale price, referring inquiries to Squier, who did not respond to requests for comment.

There will be one departure from Radio Vermont. Eric Michaels, vice president, general manager and cohost of WDEV’s “Morning News Service,” is resigning. Cormier noted that Michaels has “done wonderful things” in bolstering the company over the years.

“For 30 years, Eric has managed to maintain and grow the Radio Vermont Group as a relevant broadcasting voice in Vermont,” Squier’s press release said.

Cormier promised no changes, but he realizes that the broadcasting industry is constantly evolving. And WDEV itself has changed — slowly, deliberately — over time. He plans a collaborative approach to the future.

“There are a lot of bright people at those stations,” he said. “Any major decision I make, I’ll talk to Ken about.”

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Trump Nominates Prosecutor Nolan for Vermont U.S. Attorney

Posted By on Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 5:39 PM

Donald Trump in Burlington last year - FILE: JAMES BUCK
  • File: James Buck
  • Donald Trump in Burlington last year
President Donald Trump on Friday nominated Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan to serve as Vermont's U.S. Attorney.

Nolan, a native Vermonter who graduated from the University of Vermont and Boston College Law School, would become the first woman to hold the top federal prosecutor's job in Vermont if the U.S. Senate confirms her.

Both U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Republican Gov. Phil Scott recommended Nolan in June, calling her a "fair and tough" prosecutor.
In a joint statement Friday, Leahy and Scott pledged to advocate for her confirmation.

"Christina is a tough and well-respected prosecutor who is uniquely familiar with the challenges of our state’s opioid crisis," they said. "We were both impressed by Christina’s passion for the state of Vermont and for the mission of a prosecutor — to seek justice and improve our communities — as well as her thoughtfulness and leadership."

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Vermont Teacher Fired for Demonstrating Nazi Salute to Third Graders

Posted By on Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 10:37 AM

FILE: KIM SCAFURO
  • File: Kim Scafuro
A Georgia Elementary & Middle School substitute teacher was fired Thursday after demonstrating the Nazi salute for a group of third grade students, according to a district official.

Franklin West Supervisory Union Superintendent Ned Kirsch wrote to parents Thursday night that the incident involved a "long-term substitute" interacting with students who were walking to the cafeteria.

"The children were standing with their arm out in front of them and the teacher was modeling the position," Kirsch wrote. "She then raised her arm slightly and said, 'And now we say, Heil Hitler.'"

"I'm at a loss on the whole thing," Kirsch told Seven Days on Friday. "People are shocked. People I've spoken to are at a loss for words." He declined to identify the teacher.

The teacher admitted she uttered the words and made the gesture, Kirsch wrote. She was "immediately relieved," Kirsch wrote, and will not return to the school of about 650 students.

She was subbing for a teacher on maternity leave who was scheduled to return on Monday, Kirsch said in an interview. The teacher had taught as a substitute at the school regularly for years and had not been the subject of any complaints, Kirsch said.

"It's not a pattern; [I] never had a report about her, nothing," Kirsch said. "No one can quite understand what happened."

The school's principal and a guidance counselor were scheduled to visit the class Friday morning, Kirsch wrote to parents.

"We are dedicated to ensuring a safe learning environment for our students and families," Kirsch wrote. "This incident was completely unacceptable and I apologize."

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