‘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.

44 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?

    • Absolutely agree with the above observation. MHP accuses executives of “an act of institutional cruelty and abuse.” Sounds like she could be a guest on “The Takeaway” as long as she provides no other perspective or observations as to why the show was cancelled. I’ve been listening to NPR for decades and now I’m discouraged as to what often passes for news ie…identity politics.

  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 👍🏽

      • I’m going to really miss MHP and the Takeaway. Wow, it was so enlightening and informative. Topics from this show are rarely aired on NPR and, well, when it has been, the shows have been usually cancelled. I think maybe it’s because the people who listen to these shows and value them don’t have funds to donate (To be clear, I’ve always donated but yawn at some of the shows with little teeth related to my interests). Public radio can be a bit elitist sometimes. I don’t think the mission is to provide programming to appeal to all Americans no matter the cost, but just to a general group of Americans at a certain cost. This is the 3rd show I can think of with an AA host and topics related to minority groups that has been cancelled. Of the three shows that have been cancelled, two of the hosts have stayed with NPR. Let’s see if MHP can find a slot. She is fantastic and I enjoy listening to her.

        • Interestingly enough, that was my first thought. I found refuge in the topics and the tone of the show, the topics and, most definitely, the host, MPH.
          I listen to this, one of the most informative shows I’ve ever heard. She targets issues that often get buried and creates a space for making community with knowledge, wisdom and understanding, and accessibility– consciousness,critical thinking, deeply, truthfully, and with pcompassion.
          You, Michelle represent incredible GREATNESS!!

          • Agree. Will sorely miss this show. and in these last weeks of “good-bye” I have greatly appreciated MHP’s covering all of the staff engaged in the production of The Takeaway. The $ issue, if real, is immaterial – as certain material is worth the cost – as this has been.

    • Hear, hear! I have an alarm set on my phone so I don’t miss it. I’m a middle class white woman, and I’m seeking all of the mind-expansion that I can get, especially regarding perspectives from people who do not look like me, and I’m so grateful for their sharing. The range of topics covered is extremely enriching. I was shocked to hear that it’s being canceled because of a small drop in syndication buys. There are times when a small number of rejections means you’re doing something right, and The Takeaway fits into that category, imho. If a few old white guys complain it’s “too woke,” those guys aren’t thinking about the 99% of old white guys for the last hundred years on the radio. We need something more, and different; the truth of other voices into the mix. I love the atmosphere of The Takeaway. It’s always spot on, whether the topic is serious or lighter. It’s hopeful, and not cynical. I feel sad for listeners who are missing the show now, and hope WNYC and PRX will reconsider and figure out a way to keep it going well beyond June. We may need it in the next year or so even more than usual, if you catch my drift. Thx

      • I agree with every word Kathy A wrote… to the letter! I am a 68 year old white middle class woman who has tuned into MPH on the Takeaway precisely BECAUSE of the topics and interviews she covers. I have been a lifetime NPR listener and public radio supporter but the canceling of this show just sickens me. I will be waiting to hear what MPH will do next and will follow her to her next project. As for WNYC corporate: Shame on you!

        • I am adding my voice to this conversation. I am a retired, white, 75 year old male who listens daily to NPR and locally here on OPB, Portland, OR . The Takeaway has been my early morning coffee that has started my day since the hosting days of Tanzina Vega. I find the programing always interesting and fodder for futher reflection on a daily basis. I will miss Melissa Harris-Perry’s confident, engaging voice and in depth interviews, supportively created and produced by an incredible staff of talented individuals. Short of hoping that this cancellation decision can be reconsidered, I wish MHP and whole TA team the best in their future endeavors.

          • I too am shocked and disappointed that The Take Away is being taken away. For being “too woke”???? I have been a listener and supporter of NPR since the late 1970s. I listen every day and am a fan of MHP since first seeing her on MSNBC. I was delighted when she was picked up by NPR and will try to follow her wherever she goes. As a 79 year old white woman in a mixed race family The Take Away has always been a fascinating learning experience for me that I look forward to daily. I often follow up by pursuing more information on a topic or a guest. I hope dropping this show is not just another indication of the dumbing down of America. Does NPR really believe that their listeners have become too cynical and lazy to be interested in subjects and experts who are educating us all on existential issues that are of vital importance to all of us. Things we need to hear about over and over until we finally wise up and decide to that we all need to take responsibility for creating a sustainable future for all of us.

      • I’m going to really miss MHP and the Takeaway. Wow, it was so enlightening and informative. Topics from this show are rarely aired on NPR and, well, when it has been, the shows have been usually cancelled. I think maybe it’s because the people who listen to these shows and value them don’t have funds to donate (To be clear, I’ve always donated but yawn at some of the shows with little teeth related to my interests). Public radio can be a bit elitist sometimes. I don’t think the mission is to provide programming to appeal to all Americans no matter the cost, but just to a general group of Americans at a certain cost. This is the 3rd show I can think of with an AA host and topics related to minority groups that has been cancelled. Of the three shows that have been cancelled, two of the hosts have stayed with NPR. Let’s see if MHP can find a slot. She is fantastic and I enjoy listening to her.

  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?

    • More National Propaganda Radio with its great “production values” and its ability to jump from a story about human tragedy to comedy with only a moment lost to thank a corporate sponsor.

  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 👍🏽

  9. I love this show and feel I learn so much– even stories I think I don’t care about become interesting. I don’t understand what people who call it “woke” are getting at– I feel that too many people don’t have an open mind about experiences other than their own. Even if I don’t agree with every guest, I learn something and expand my knowledge. Take care, MHP.

    • I agree with a lot of the views branded as “woke”, but I can agree that this and other shows on NPR (such as Morning Edition) focus disproportionately on certain cultural issues at the expense of others which are just as valid.

      For example, trans issues matter to me, but they’re about .5% of the overall population. There are more blind people, and blind people have more immediate challenges in our society. Trans folks can drive cars, play sports, etc. I hear far less about blind people’s challenges on NPR than trans people’s. This is just one example.

      Much of NPR seems to espouse an unquestioned assumption that certain demographics are severely oppressed in America. Racism, sexism, and other discrimination exist, but I think that much of NPR is stuck in a mode of self-appointed vigilantism, ever seeking to do battle by pointing out injustice (rather than informing us objectively of facts and letting us decide whether to take action), and this creates a feedback loop which exaggerates and obscures the real problems. I also feel that it’s sort of demeaning to these minorities, painting them as victims who need society to make grand motions to rescue them. All this “crying wolf” weakens support for true issues and provides ammunition for those who wish to demonize left-leaning political views.

      I used to listen to NPR a ton and I listen less now. Seems pretty tribal to me. Not as bad as Right-wind talk radio, but not that dissimilar if you disregard specific issues and look at how information is being appraised and reacted to.

  10. Well, I and some of my Progressive friends predicted this. It’s not just The Takeaway, but most of the discussion shows on NPR that we have issues with. We want NPR to be a truly educational outlet. (Thankfully, there’s BBC World News) Instead, the topics mainly revolve around racial, sexual orientation and gender issues, digging deep into someone’s hurt feelings, all day, every day. Terry Gross especially culpable. We would like to imagine swing voters tuning in to NPR to see what the “smart” folks are listening to. Instead they hear a non-stop litany of pain and suffering centered on a very small slice of our population. All global turmoil pinned on US Imperialism or European Colonialism. You lose those who might be willing to enlighten themselves.

    • It appears from your reply that you are fortunate to have been spared from “pain and suffering” but if you are a regular listener to NPR, as I have been for many years, you will find hardly any mention, let alone criticism of US Imperialism or European Colonialism.

      You won’t even learn that Pres. Biden, early on, exempted the US military from any climate threatening restrictions and has since authorized more climate damaging joint military exercises than any of his predecessors.

      I had a radio program on world affairs on a public radio station for 19 years that immediately followed NPR’s Morning Edition so I speak from that experience.

    • Amen to that. While there are certainly minorities that suffer, I’m getting tired of programming on NPR that spends much of it’s time on guests that are whining and blaming, and name calling. In the case of The Take Away they got rid of an award winning host and went to two replacements who turned the program into their personal soap boxes. Goodbye!

  11. Many of the stories on the Takeaway have been interesting and I enjoyed them. I regret that the stories became more and more about a left view of social justice to the point where objectivity was gone. I think the management made a good decision to move on.

  12. I have learned a lot of general knowledge from the Takeaway which I value. I don’t always agree with the program’s slant, but I guess those of us who regularly listen to programming and stations that offer both alternative views and alternative facts understand the value of knowing your “enemy” so you can better “fight” your enemy. I currently have a good idea of what listeners/watchers miss if they watch exclusively Fox, NPR/PBS, ABC/NBC/CBS, CNN/MSNBC, Newsmax, or Newsnation, . . . OAN before Verizon dropped it. My current favorite car radio station is C-span. And I learn so much by watching C-span coverage of political events, but tune in to NPR/PBS for post commentary discussions.

    But that’s me. I will greatly miss The Takeawy.

  13. I am accepting of the change of programs in those cases in which the replacement program is good.
    And vice-versa.

  14. I’ve read all the comments posted; but I do turn to another channel when the TakeAway comes on. It’s the ONLY TIME I move the dial. I basically listen in to the wonderful discussions until the 3:00oclock hour. I think Jennifer White on 1A should be the goal.. It’s a lively discussion; not a rehash as MHP does. I believe this program will be reinvented in which a rewarding discussion evolves more than the daily mantra that MHP states in “Talk to Me” about..as tho she’ s setting the goal.
    Not everyone has the ability to do a daily radio show. Perhaps, she should return to the classroom.

  15. I enjoy the variety of topics and interesting guests on The Takeaway. Melissa Harris Perry asks thoughtful questions, and treats her guests well. They often share interesting perspectives on a range of topics. I was surprised and saddened to see that the program is scheduled to end. Thank you Melissa Harris Perry, and Best Wishes with your next endeavors.

  16. I’ve loved listening to MHP and The Takeaway. Is there any chance WUNC in North Carolina will pick it up? Her interviews are thoughtful, and well researched. MHP’s approach is calm and kind, something we need more of on our airways.

  17. The fact that so many stations are cancelling this show is exactly the reason why it is needed. I love The Takeaway. My social location: white, middle aged, educated, middle class, queer woman.

  18. I wish The Takeaway would continue. I often learn from it, and think Melissa Harris-Perry does a great job as host, inviting interesting people with points of view I do not hear on every other NPR show. Did PRX and WNYC try to figure out what was causing the 13% drop in stations carrying the show? Did they offer any suggestions to the Takeaway staff to try to improve the #s? I wish the article addressed these issues.

    I hope MHP and all the other staff find good positions elsewhere.

  19. I am sad and very disappointed that the Takeo is going off the air. In addition to other NPR, excellent programming, the Takeaway and 1A are two of my all-time favorite shows. I can rely on Melissa Harris Perry to cover topics in depth with interesting and inspirational experts. Weneed more shows like this, not less. May Melissa and the rest of her colleagues on the show find other excellent projects to work on, and I hope to hear their voices elsewhere soon.

  20. I too was sad to learn that the Takeaway was being discontinued. That said, I have frequently provided feedback to my local NPR station (WUCF Orlando, FL) that many of the guests, some of whom were/are journalists or public figures themselves, keep/kept interspersing the words “Ums”, “Ahs” , “You know” so much that I had to switch to a different station. When I was in school (HS and College) the first thing you’re taught in Public Speaking 101 is to avoid the “Ums”, “Ahs” and ” Ya/You Know” when speaking to an audience. This might have been factored into the audience decrease by 13%.

  21. I will miss The Takeaway and MPH. The program was and instrument for developing empathy for the people and events of “the news” which bombards us “every hour on the hour”. Programs like this are the reason I support PBS.

  22. I will miss the Takeaway! I hear from guests whose perspectives are often missing. I learn from and appreciate the show. MHP’s joy and questions deepen the conversation. What a loss. I wish MHP and the show staff the best.

  23. I am sad and very disappointed that the TakeAway is going off the air. I enjoy the variety of topics and interesting guests. MHP “THANK YOU” keep pushing!

  24. I grew frustrated over time with the limited viewpoints of guests invited onto The Takeaway. MHP covered interesting and important topics, but only had experts on from the left and the further left. I would have loved an actual discussion from both ends of the ideological spectrum. It was such a missed opportunity.

  25. I too am upset about WNYC’s choice to cancel this long running show. The reason given for the cut is a decline in listenership. Assuming this is true, then I’m curious if efforts were made to find out why listeners have dropped off, and then making changes in order to bring them back. Why should WNYC go to the effort? Because this is a long-running show with a fairly recent change in hosts. Maybe all that’s necessary are small tweaks or some larger changes. I don’t know but I feel that this show is worth saving. I feel strongly about this for the following reasons: Because this show provides content for a diverse audience that is otherwise sorely lacking on WNYC and on NPR. Why? Because WNYC has little of their own content these days and is sounding more and more staid and rather boring. This show is one of the few programs still made by WNYC. Because I’m tired of hearing little more than the BBC when I turn on my radio,. Because it’s time to make WNYC cutting edge again.

    BTW I am a 62 year old white woman.

    I hope WNYC will reconsider their choice to cancel the Takeaway.

  26. Listeners in blue bubble cities and communities like where I live (Durham, NC, home to the first Confederate statue toppling, you’re welcome) can easily forget how monotonous and tiresome a show like this can be for people not entirely seated on the far left of the political spectrum? Every story is about race, all the time, everywhere? Really? I agree that the method of the show’s termination was nothing WNYC or NPR should be proud of, but I often changed the dial when it became tiresome to listen to, which was often.

  27. I second the statement of “that guy Tony” – I live in a “blue bubble” as well (Portland, OR), white/cis/het/middle-class/late baby boomer, longtime NPR/OPB listener, and in the past few years, NPR has become way more diverse in hosts (yay!) but not in topics, which in some cases have narrowed. Since we have so many media choices available to us, and we commute less in our cars, broadcast/streaming radio has to work harder for listeners. It’s much easier to turn away if one gets “full” on a particular world view or theme, which some listeners like may have felt. I am sorry that The Takeaway as an institution has ended, but can understand how change came about. Best wishes to all and we look forward to hear what happens next.

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