After 12 years at Vermont Public Radio, producer and guest host Ric Cengeri was fired on Thursday, he told Seven Days.
Cengeri was probably best known to public radio listeners as host of "VPR Café," a weekly segment focused on food and agriculture that was axed in July. His primary job was producing the station's daily public affairs program, "Vermont Edition"; he also occasionally guest-hosted it.
According to Cengeri, VPR president and chief executive officer Scott Finn intercepted him in the station's Colchester parking lot Thursday as Cengeri was returning from vacation. Finn led him into a conference room, terminated him and did not allow him to clean out his desk, Cengeri said.
"It was a surprise. It was definitely a surprise," he said. "There was no warning that there was anything amiss."
Cengeri declined to provide the explanation Finn gave him, saying, "I'll let them explain." Reached Friday, Finn said, "We respect our employees' privacy, so we don't talk about personnel matters in the media."
Former "Vermont Edition" managing producer Sam Gale Rosen recently left the program for another position at VPR, which means that two of three producer positions are now vacant. But according to Finn, the station remains committed to the show, calling it "an extremely key part of VPR and its service to the community."
Cengeri, who previously worked in public relations, marketing and as a morning host at the Point FM, said he doesn't know what's next for him. "I'm almost 60 years old, so at this point, it's hard to figure out what you do with your life," he said.