Monday, December 4, 2017

Cutting Ties With Keillor Could Be Risky For MPR's Finances

Minnesota Public Radio and its parent company, American Public Media Group, took something of a financial risk in severing ties with long-time and beloved host Garrison Keillor on Wednesday. The company continues investigating two accusations that Keillor had engaged in "inappropriate behavior."

APMG is stopping rebroadcasts of the Prairie Home episodes Keillor hosted, and it's changing the show's name.

As of late Thursday afternoon, MPR had received 153 cancellation requests from its 133,000 members. The company said members are the most important source of revenue for MPR. Members donated about $22 million over the year ending last June.

John and Ruth Huss are among the MPR members who say their support won't waver. Their contributions have hit $100,000 or more a year. John Huss said he trusts MPR's leaders did the right thing.

But Miriam Simmons and her husband, James Schenz, are thinking differently. They have given more than $10,000 a year to MPR for several years. Miriam Simmons said they were thinking of upping their contribution to $15,000. But now she doesn't expect they will.

"I feel tremendously disappointed in MPR. Unless somebody has done something that rises to the level of a criminal act. I think the action they've taken is disproportionate," Simmons said.

Keillor has said the termination stemmed from an incident where he put his hand on a woman's bare back. MPR, though, has not said what the allegations were. The company said it received complaints from two people, only one of them saying the behavior was directed at her.

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