American Public Media cancels Wits



There will be no more Wits at the Fitz. St. Paul-based American Public Media — which owns Minnesota Public Radio, among other stations —- announced Monday it is canceling the celeb- and music-focused radio variety show. Something of a millennial answer to A Prairie Home Companion, Wits was recorded in front of live audiences at St. Paul's Fitzgerald Theater since 2010 and was featured on more than 100 public-radio stations around the country. The following note was posted earlier today on the Wits website:

"After an amazing few years, Wits, the radio show, is coming to an end. For the time being, we also have suspended the live shows and podcast so we can step back and think about what a Wits 2.0 might become in the digital world, possibly on stage and who knows where else. Thank you, Witizens, for all you’ve done for us. Here we go, off the radio and on to the future!"

Wits was able to attract big-name talent during its run, with comedians and actors like Zach Galifianakis, Maria Bamford, and David Cross joining musicians like Father John Misty, Neko Case, and Yo La Tengo. The show had failed to turn a profit as of last year, according to the Star Tribune. Host John Moe fired off a string of tweets Monday regarding the demise of his radio show. Here is a small sampling: 
— John Moe (@johnmoe) July 27, 2015 Earlier this year, Twin Cities writer Steve Marsh wrote a fascinating and probing profile of Wits for Mpls.St. Paul Magazine. It posed the question, "Can the program become MPR's next A Prairie Home Companion?" Five months later, we have an answer. 

Last week, MPR laid off nine employees and Garrison Keillor announced he would be retiring from APHC.