Hartmann and Ratner to headline Goddard College Alternative Media Conference

Plainfield, Vt. – Internationally recognized progressive radio talk show host Thom Hartmann and White House Correspondent and Bureau Chief for Talk News Radio Service Ellen Ratner will headline the Alternative Media Conference to be held at Goddard College on May 18.

Hartmann’s appearance will include a live, in-person, broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, The Thom Hartmann Show, from Goddard’s community radio station, WGDR, with guest U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), on Friday, May 17. Ratner will close the conference on Saturday, May 18 at a plenary session.

“We are thrilled to have Thom and Ellen participate in this year’s conference,” said Goddard President Dr. Barbara Vacarr. “From television to radio, they understand first-hand how the digital age has profoundly changed the function and future of media.”

The conference will feature keynotes, TED-style talks, panels, workshops and live performances, featuring former president & chief executive officer of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters Maxie C. Jackson III, cofounder and editorial/creative director of Bitch Magazine Andi Zeisler and Common Cause’s Program Director for Media and Democracy Todd O’Boyle.

The conference is inspired by the original Goddard Alternative Media Conference of 1970, which included performances by Dr. John, Ram Dass and Jerry Rubin and was attended by many who went on to become major media players, including Rolling Stone photographer Robert Altman and Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker and The New Republic.

“The Alternative Media Conference will discuss the future of media and journalism in a rapidly changing landscape,” said Vacarr. “This conference will invite critical conversations that mirror the aims of the historic conference – to ensure that we have a vibrant media that engages and furthers the democratic process.”

The 1970 conference led to a boom in alternative, local, progressive radio stations and programming. This year’s conference celebrates Goddard’s 150th anniversary and the 40th anniversary of WGDR, which was founded in 1973 and was inspired by the original conference.

“The original conference was one of the driving forces that created WGDR,” said WGDR Station Director Kris Gruen. “We’re hoping that this conference will inspire the next iteration of alternative, independent media.”

General admission tickets to the May 18 conference are $65 ($30 for students) and include lunch and admission to the evening performance, Combustible Cabaret/Digital Vaudeville.

The conference is made possible, in part, with an anonymous donation in honor of Thom and Louise Hartmann.

Learn more about the Alternative Media Conference by calling 802.322.1732 with questions.


About Goddard College
Initially founded in 1863 as the Goddard Seminary in Barre, Vermont, Goddard College later moved to its current Plainfield campus and was chartered in 1938 by founding President Royce “Tim” Pitkin. In 1963, Goddard became the first U.S. college to offer low-residency adult degree programs. Now offering accredited MA, MFA, BA and BFA degree programs from the main campus in Plainfield, Vermont and sites in Seattle and Port Townsend, Washington, Goddard’s low-residency education model offers the best of on-campus and distance education, with experienced faculty advisors, rigorous on-campus residencies, and the freedom to study from anywhere.

About WGDR
WGDR was established in 1973, as a unique, college-based community radio station serving the Central Vermont region from the campus of Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. WGDR-WGDH 91.1 and 91.7 FM operates as a true hybrid radio station, supported both by Goddard College and surrounding communities. Over 60 local volunteers contribute to each week’s broadcast, providing music and public affairs programming that reflects the unique and independent spirit of the Central Vermont community.

Important Announcement

The Board of Directors for Goddard College have made the difficult decision to close the college at the end of the 2024 Spring term.  


Current Goddard students will have the opportunity to complete their degrees at the same tuition rate through a teach-out with like-minded institution, Prescott College. Updates and scholarship funds will be available in the coming weeks and months. Information will be posted to www.goddard.edu

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