‘The Takeaway’ canceled by WNYC, PRX

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Melissa Harris-Perry, host of "The Takeaway."

The Takeaway will go off the air in June, WNYC and PRX announced to stations Friday.

The news program, which launched in 2008 as an alternative to NPR’s Morning Edition, has seen declining carriage and audience, according to leaders at WNYC, which co-produces the program, and distributor PRX. 

The decision to cancel the program “was not a decision made lightly,” they said in a memo, but The Takeaway’s “decline in audience as well as the financial challenge of producing a daily show––a situation made more challenging this year by the headwinds facing many across media––has led us to this decision.” 

The show airs on 241 stations, according to a WNYC spokesperson, who said carriage has declined by about 13% over the past several years.   

In a tweet, host Melissa Harris-Perry called the decision “an act of institutional cruelty and abuse” by WNYC executives. “The producers, editors, directors and team of @TheTakeaway deserve SO MUCH BETTER than this,” she said.

In a memo to New York Public Radio staff, COO Andrew Golis and Kenya Young, SVP of WNYC Studios, said that all Takeaway employees will be paid through June. The program has 11 full-time staffers, according to WNYC. 

“It is a credit to the talent and dedication of the many team members over the years that this show has been such an important part of the public radio landscape and NYPR for so long,” they said. “We especially want to thank the current production staff for their incredible work and Melissa Harris-Perry for her gracious leadership of The Takeaway team since 2021.”

Harris-Perry took over as host on an interim basis in 2021 when former host Tanzina Vega resigned. She was named permanent host later that year.

11 thoughts on “‘The Takeaway’ canceled by WNYC, PRX

  1. It is no surprise that the number of listeners to this to this pathologically woke program has declined. I find much of the programming cringeworthy. As a long-time WNYC supporter, I find myself turning the dial when this program comes on and it does not surprise me that many others do as well. People are not interested in listening to variations of the same story over and over again. When I listen to a news program, I want the facts, not bias. For analysis, I want to hear from experts across the political spectrum, not just those from the self righteous left. I am sympathetic to those who are losing their jobs, but not to those who are responsible for the lousy programming.

    • I guess I’m confused by what “woke” means–I assumed it meant being AWAKE to diverse voices, opinions, and experiences…guess I’m wrong. However, as the demented madness of the Far Right explodes on talk radio, it’s sad that a public radio program providing an antidote to that is losing listeners. I love MPH, but perhaps it’s her and not the topics that have failed to connect with listeners?

  2. I have to agree with the previous post regarding the sameness of the programming. Issues that listeners may care about become background noise if they are discussed every day to the exclusion of so many other urgent problems.

  3. Sameness? Exclusion of other urgent problems? I beg to differ. For the past two years, the Takeaway and Melissa Harris-Perry have been my morning coffee. The range of topics, from national and local politics and political leaders, farming, responsible gun ownership, biodiversity in the insect world, up-close and personal interviews about the earthquake in Turkey, I have learned so much. I am sorry to see them go. Wherever MHP lands, I will be there.

    • Elaine, don’t you see? For some people, all of the diverse topics you mentioned and more can just be lumped together and dismissed as “woke”. And one hour dedicated to that conflated subject is way too much time to spend out of their comfort zone.

    • Ditto! I love MHP’s compassionate energy and perspective on topics of the day. I find I experience many emotions with her interviews and learn about things I didn’t know that I didn’t know! I will miss the show and MHP…I’ll be looking for her in her new gig 👍🏽

  4. I’m deeply upset that this vital program will be terminated. MHP covers stories I don’t hear anywhere else on a wide range of topics, environmental stories, indigenous rights, activism, the history of white supremacy in the US, economic policy…

    This is just wrong. What the heck are we going to get in its place?

  5. It is certainly ironic, at least to me, that when WNYC/prx finally gets it right they decide to cancel it. It took way too long to replace Hockenberry and the collateral damage – the firing of Leonard Lopate and Jonathan Schwartz – would otherwise never have happened. I wish Melissa Harris-Perry only the best and hope she continues broadcasting.

  6. You can’t argue with the audience. You might love it or hate it but if a show’s listenership declines by 13% (meaning 13% of radio stations, paying a hefty subscription fee to put it in their morning lineup, thought it was bad enough to cancel their subscription) then the show was doing something wrong for enough of their audience.

    Only an unprofessional host would play the victim and blame the station (or worse, the audience!) instead of taking responsibility for their own failed show. Harris-Perry is one step away from calling them racists, an accusation that is being thrown around by other clueless people in other NPR newsrooms.

  7. I personally hate that Melissa Harris Perry uses “queer” when she talks about the LGBT community. I like the program up until then when I frequently change the dial to another NPR station. Queer is not universally accepted and she should not assume, especially as a black woman, that a whole community wants to be called a word historically used to diminish us as humans deserving of rights. I wish her well but won’t miss her program.

  8. Ditto! I love MHP’s compassionate energy and perspective on topics of the day. I find I experience many emotions with her interviews and learn about things I didn’t know that I didn’t know! I will miss the show and MHP…I’ll be looking for her in her new gig 👍🏽

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