Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations cancels ‘All IN’ talk show

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Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations has ended the daily statewide news talk show All IN, citing financial pressures.

All IN’s staff announced the cancellation Feb. 28. The radio show’s final broadcast will air April 1. 

All IN airs on seven of the nine public radio stations that belong to IPBS, a nonprofit that also creates content for the state’s public TV outlets. The pandemic constrained IPBS’ finances, changed audience behaviors and hindered the organization’s ability to raise underwriting funds to support All IN, said Mark Newman, IPBS’ executive director. 

“While underwriting is an area where we anticipate growth, the pandemic significantly reduced potential income from that source — a challenge for both IPBS and for many of our member stations,” Newman said. 

Newman said that given those difficulties, IPBS’ board of station representatives decided to focus on IPB News, which provides in-depth news coverage to member stations.

IPBS took All IN’s staffers off guard when it informed them of their terminations in January. The team had previously heard that the show’s listenership was strong, so the news was surprising “because it has nothing to do with the quality of the show,” said host Mariam Sobh. “… Yes, it could have been done much better with a bigger staff and all the high-end effects, but we did what we did with our three-person team, and we did really well.”

An offer letter sent to Sobh in February 2021 and obtained by Current indicated that her position was grant-funded through 2023. IPBS would not comment on personnel matters, but Newman acknowledged that “based on projected funding, we had anticipated a longer run” for All IN.

All IN launched in 2019 with the concept that the hourlong time slot would give its staff creative freedom to deliver hard news and features with a statewide focus, particularly outside Indianapolis, said producer Drew Daudelin. Topics explored on the show included an HIV outbreak in southern Indiana and laws affecting the state’s LGBTQ community. Although the program focused on Indiana, several shows took on broader topics, such as the exploitation of minor league baseball players or finding one’s passion.

“It was very intentionally meant to cover whatever we want but to try to be a good mix of news and some lighter topics,” said Daudelin. “We have room for lighter stuff, but we try to leverage the talent from all the reporters around the state.”

Greg Petrowich, CEO of WFYI in Indianapolis, said the show did its best work during the height of the pandemic, when its journalists regularly took the full hour to interview epidemiologists.

“That was some of the best work we could do, because people were hungry for so much information, and you can’t explain a global pandemic necessarily in five-minute chunks,” Petrowich said. “So being able to interview different experts in the state and how policies, rules and procedures in Indiana differed from the rest of the country or even different communities within the state … there was a lot of nuance there that they could get into that was just harder to do in short form.”

Since announcing the cancellation, All IN’s staff has received supportive phone calls from its listeners. Still, the outpouring hasn’t softened the blow for assistant producer Micah Yason, who has worked at IPBS since her first internship in 2019. The night before IPBS informed the team that the show would end, she expressed gratitude for the show in a phone call with Daudelin.

“We just kind of had a heart-to-heart about like, ‘We have great jobs, we’re lucky we get to do this kind of work. It’s fun, and we love our team,’” she said. “And then the next day, we’re told that our show is getting canceled. So yeah, I was gutted. I cried a lot during that [meeting].”

For Sobh, the show is not only a loss for the staff but for the local news ecosystem in Indiana.

“It’s a loss for local news in the community we’ve been building, and it’s a loss for diverse topics and voices,” she said. “It’s a loss for public radio at a time when there’s a clear issue with diversity and representation in our industry.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified Greg Petrowich as director of WBAA in West Lafayette, Ind. He is CEO of WFYI in Indianapolis.

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