Public Radio International announced today that it will end distribution of one of its biggest titles, This American Life.
The Minneapolis-based PRI has offered TAL to stations since 1997.
“During our most recent negotiation, it became clear that our organizations’ expectations regarding our futures were different,” and PRI will stop distribution July 1, said Julia Yager, PRI’s head of sales, marketing and distribution, in an announcement.
Yager told Current that negotiations concluded today and that PRI does not comment publicly on confidential contract discussions.
In a statement posted on the TAL website, host Ira Glass said that “looking at where PRI is now pushing its business and where we’re growing — especially on the digital side of things, which we’ve always done without PRI — both we and our colleagues at PRI came to the same conclusion: to go our separate ways.” The post also said production of the radio show and podcast will continue.
PRI distributed TAL to 587 stations for a weekly audience of some 2.2 million listeners. “We are extremely proud of our productive relationship and role in their success,” PRI said.
Seth Lind, director of operations for TAL, told Current that the show has not yet chosen another distributor.
The announcement was unexpected. NPR Programming VP Eric Nuzum said, “like many, we are still taking in” the news. “We are all huge admirers of Ira and This American Life, for the show they produce and the innovative ways they connect with their audiences.”
Nuzum didn’t comment on the possibility of NPR carrying the show. TAL was the subject of a 1997 bidding war between NPR and PRI for distribution rights.
Another potential distributor would be Public Radio Exchange. Jake Shapiro, PRX CEO, told Current: “We can’t comment at this time. Stay tuned.”
American Public Media had no comment.