WAMU to end ‘The Big Listen’ in May

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WAMU in Washington, D.C., announced Friday that it will end production of its NPR-distributed program The Big Listen.

The weekly radio show about podcasts “did not get the level of traction with NPR stations we needed in order to continue supporting its weekly production,” Andi McDaniel, WAMU’s senior director of content and news, told Current in an email. She declined to share the show’s carriage.

Hosted by Lauren Ober, the show debuted in January 2016 as a way to introduce radio audiences to new podcasts through clips, listener recommendations and interviews with podcast hosts. NPR picked up the show for distribution later that year, marketing it to stations as a weekend show and “natural companion” for programs like This American Life, TED Radio Hour, Ask Me Another and Radiolab.

“The show was an experiment in adapting podcast content for broadcast — and we’ve learned a lot about both,” McDaniel said. “We’re glad we tried it out, and we’re committed to adapting quickly. We plan to reinvest the resources in a number of new content initiatives, several of which involve podcasts.”

McDaniel said WAMU is “actively in conversation” with Ober “about what comes next, including a number of possibilities at WAMU.”

“We’re grateful that The Big Listen offered a platform to shine a light on Lauren’s talent,” McDaniel said.

Stations will receive the show’s last episode May 25.

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