Paul F. Tompkins (left) and John Moe enjoy golden days of "Wits."/ Photo provided by APM
The future of Minnesota Public Radio just got a little murkier.
Less than a week after Garrison Keillor confirmed that he'd be leaving "Prairie Home Companion," American Public Media announced that it was canceling the radio version of "Wits," while putting the podcast and live shows on hold. APM, based in St. Paul, produces both shows.
"I'm devastated at the loss of our radio show and, frankly, I feel like I've let people down," wrote creator and host John Moe as part of a flurry of tweets he sent out Monday morning.
The decision comes on the heels of Minnesota Public Radio eliminating 11 positions from its newsroom.
"Wits," which launched locally in 2010, had been picked up by over a hundred markets across the country with hopes that its blend of music and comedy would attract younger viewers to public radio. While only 13 percent of MPR members are under 35, one of every four new members is coming from that demographic.
In a 2014 Star Tribune story about “Wits,” APM and MPR’s chief operating officer, Dave Kansas, stressed the importance of reaching millennials. “Assuming younger audiences will come along like their parents did is a very dangerous assumption,” he said. “You have to be very intentional.”