When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is turn on North Country Public Radio. I leave it on as I eat breakfast and get ready for work. And so I’ve become quite familiar with The Writer’s Almanac, which had aired daily.
In light of Wednesday’s news about Garrison Keillor, the show’s creator, we wondered if we would ever hear it again.
Evidently, the answer is no.
On Wednesday, we asked Ellen Rocco, NCPR’s station manager, if she planned to pull the popular feature from the air. We also asked for her reaction to the news. Here’s her response in full:
“It’s gone. Not our decision. The distributor has ceased all connection with Garrison as of today. Still unclear if we’re talking about a single episode with Keillor or a pattern. But, American Public Media (APM) and Minnesota Public Radio (MPR)—the distributor and production company affiliated with both Writers Almanac and Prairie Home–have severed all ties with Keillor. Name of Prairie Home will change in the near future. That’s about all we know at this point.”
Keillor also created The Prairie Home Companion, but he no longer hosts the weekly show.
MPR said Keillor was fired over “inappropriate behavior” with a colleague. It didn’t reveal whether the behavior was sexual.
Here is a statement that Keillor provided to the New York Times: “I’ve been fired over a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version M.P.R. heard. Most stories are.” He says he inadvertently touched a woman’s bare back while trying to console her and apologized at once.
On Thursday, in a followup email, Rocco said she no knowledge of what happened other than what has been disseminated in the media.
“I know what you know, which is probably only part of the story,” she told the Explorer. “In general, I think we have to be careful about painting all types of incidents with the same brush and about jumping to unfair conclusions. I do not say this as an apologist for bad behavior—my first sympathy is with the (predominantly) young women who are the usual target of sexual predators in the workplace. But, having grown up in the 1950s in a family that suffered from the impact of McCarthyism, I think we should look carefully at every incidence of sexual misbehavior and not lump, say, GK together with Roy Moore. And, always, be fair to all involved.”
Rocco predicts that The Writer’s Almanac will be replaced by a similar show.
“I expect someone in the system to develop a new poetry feature to replace it, but it may take some time,” she said. “We will not be producing a poetry feature at NCPR. (Though a couple of people have already asked for this.) We simply do not have the producers/talent to take this on in a top-quality way.
NCPR is broadcast throughout the Adirondack Park.