MPR cuts

I blogged about NPR dropping two shows because of budget cuts last week, so I can’t very well ignore an MPR press release today.

American Public Media™ is cancelling weekly production and distribution of Weekend America® as a result of the current economy’s impact on station carriage and sponsorships. The final broadcast will be January 31, 2009. Thirteen full- and part-time positions will be affected. Weekend America is carried on 134 stations with a weekly audience of about 657,000 listeners.

American Public Media is proud of the many accomplishments of Weekend America’s talented staff. They have produced personal, thoughtful, funny and challenging journalism that you couldn’t hear anywhere else. The program topics ranged from in-depth reporting on the fallout from the Iraqi war, multi-part series on foreclosure and immigration, and the lessons of racism. The hosts and reporters also engaged people all across America on their weekends, skydiving or dancing or giving concerts or celebrating the diverse cultures and festivals of our country.

MinnPosts’s David Brauer reports more cuts are coming:

Margaret Ann Hennen, APM’s VP of Corporate Communications, says, “Yes, there will be further reductions, but we don’t know when or what. This is part of the alignment of revenues and expenses … that has been going on for the last year. We continue to make very methodical decisions.”

As Linda Ellerbee used to say, “and so it goes.”

  • brian

    That is too bad. I really enjoyed that show, although I did only rarely get to listen to it.

  • Bruce

    You’ve got to keep John Moe.

  • mombalabamba

    I’m so sad about Weekend America’s demise. I love listening to it when out running errands, or at home doing chores. It was the perfect combo of serious and light hearted.

  • tiredboomer

    My heart goes out to anyone who loses a job whether it’s a journalist, auto worker or any other occupation. I’m concerned there will continue to be a lot of pain in this recession. I was reduced (“reduction in workforce”) during the 2001 recession (October ’01). I hope I don’t have to do it again.

    Good luck and God bless everyone who finds themselves out of work. I will be happily paying my taxes knowing some of it is finding its way into your unemployment checks.

  • Bob Collins

    Mary Lucia and I were talking earlier about the difference between this and other recessions, specifically that in other recessions there seemed to be regions or particular industries that were doing well, that you could point to and say “that will lead us OUT of the recession.”

    What do you all think will lead us OUT of the recession — at least in terms of industry or sector?

  • Sam

    If we’re lucky, it’ll be energy companies. Smarter people than me have shown that the best way for governments to help solve large-scale problems like climate change is to create incentives for private industry to participate in the solution.

    A big part of stimulating the American economy could be incentivizing big energy companies to add huge numbers of workers to develop and maintain new clean energy solutions like wind power, algae, and other biofuels. Since large infrastructure changes will be needed to wean us off fossil fuels, it stands to reason that huge amounts of manpower will be required to physically change the energy system. That means new jobs, big profits for the companies that figure it out fastest, and possibly a new way forward for the planet as well.

  • totally unqualified

    Bob. That’s an interesting question. Let somebody completely unqualified take a stab at it.

    As we are relearning the lesson of the thirties, the keystone to a capitalist economy is its financial sector, every business MUST finance its operations. When the financial sector leads the recession it takes all other business sectors with it. So, who leads us out of the recession? Probably the much maligned “government pumping money into the economy”.

    Sam has one version of pumping money into the economy. Emotionally I like his answer, it’s the right thing to do and it will eventually be done anyway. But I’m concerned that creating a new energy economy will take too long. As we see, the pain of layoffs is happening now.

    Perhaps another way out has already been put in motion. The government has flooded the financial sector with free money. Hopefully bankers will get tired of sitting on cash at 0%, or if not tired, maybe have their arms twisted. If “banker group think” turns around, the economy will be flooded with money and we’re off to the races. The problem is, I have no confidence in bankers making the right decision.

    Rhetorical Question: Why would an industry that charges its captive credit card customers usurious rates and fees exceeding 24% loan money at 5%?

  • Michael

    Who was first to coin “And so it goes”? Linda Ellerbee or Kurt Vonnegut? Either way, it’s the perfect mantra to live by in today’s times.

  • bettyt

    My understanding is that Weekend America has struggled since its first show, so that fact that it is being cancelled now does not concern me (other than the possible unemployment of its current producers, hosts, and reporters).

    The thing I most hope is protected at MPR is the newsroom staff and local/state/regional news crew. With the Strib and PiPress downsizing so much it is more important than ever that MPR keep its newsroom buzzing. To me they are a very precious resource.

    I wish that MPR would not use its resources to buy radio “real estate” (WCAL, and the other stations around the country that MPR has bought or considered buying). I wish that MPR would be MPR and not be American Public Media.

  • Tyler Suter

    I must admit that I was not as dissapointed to hear of day-to-day being cancelled as many other were, but Weekend America has been an integral part of my weekend routine for quite some time now and I will greatly miss it. If they decide to even touch The Story (with John Gordon) or the broadcast of As It Happens (with Barbara Budd and my favorite live interview journalist: Carol Off) I don’t know what I will do with myself.

    What’s the feeling around the news room Bob?