American public-radio listeners who crave information on Saturday afternoons are about to lose a Minnesota-produced option. "Weekend America," a two-hour magazine-format show that mixed hard news with lighter features, is being cancelled because of low ratings and the tough economy. The last edition will air Jan. 31.
Thirteen employees, most of them based in St. Paul, will be laid off or reassigned, said Margaret Ann Hennen, vice president of corporate communication for American Public Media, the national production and distribution arm of Minnesota Public Radio (MPR). The program, introduced four years ago, is on 134 stations and has about 657,000 listeners.
"The turbulence in the economy was really the tipping point," Hennen said.
She said it was hard to say whether further cuts would be coming to American Public Media and MPR. National Public Radio announced a 7 percent cut in its workforce earlier this month.
"We certainly hope there's no more cuts," Hennen said. "We're looking at making changes that don't affect people on our staff."