Chris Eggersten | June 17, 2020
The Chris Thile-hosted variety series was a retooled version of Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion."
Live From Here, the Chris Thile-hosted radio show that served as a successor to A Prairie Home Companion when the latter series was retooled in 2017, has been canceled by American Public Media. CEO Jon McTaggart revealed the news in a post on APM’s website announcing drastic cuts at the broadcaster.
Thile and Live From Here’s official social accounts also broke the news on Tuesday (June 16).
“Not one live broadcast has gone by where I didn’t thank my absurdly lucky stars for your wide open ears and hearts,” Thile wrote on Twitter. “Over the weekend, I was informed that American Public Media will no longer be producing the show.
“While this news fills me with sadness, I understand the decision, as my extraordinary teammates and I conceived of Live From Here as a celebration of live, collaborative audible art, and there’s just no telling when it could be that again.”
Similar to A Prairie Home Companion, Live From Here featured a mixture of musical performances and comedy recorded in front of a live audience. The show was most recently taped at The Town Hall in New York City -- a move from its previous home at St. Paul's Fitzgerald Theater. Thile took over A Prairie Home Companion hosting duties from Garrison Keillor in 2016. It was renamed Live From Here the following year after sexual misconduct allegations were lodged against Keillor by a former employee.
According to the Live From Here website, the show was heard by 2.6 million listeners each week on nearly 600 public radio stations and online.
“Every decision we made was weighed in the context of our pressing financial deficit due to COVID-19 and the priorities of our long-term strategic plan,” a rep for American Public Media wrote in a statement emailed to Billboard. “Our decision to end national production of Live from Here reflects these same considerations, in particular, the uncertainty for any kind of live events during the coming year.”
In addition to APM’s cancellation of Live From Here and the podcast The Hilarious World of Depression, McTaggart also announced the non-profit would be laying off 28 employees, canceling all merit pay increases in fiscal year 2021, combining departments and teams, “selectively reducing work hours” and making changes to internal operating systems to further cut costs. In April, APM cut executive pay by 20% to 35% and put in place voluntary furloughs in an effort to avoid layoffs.