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WAMU’s The Animal House, a weekly radio program less about drunken frat brothers and more about pet husbandry and animal science, will go off the air Nov. 29, the station announced last week.
The show has been broadcast on 88.5 FM weekly since 2009. But according to a WAMU statement, it’s ending its run because it couldn’t secure enough funds to cover its $150,000 annual budget.
“Through the years we were unsuccessful in securing enough funding for Animal House for it to grow in production and marketing strength, or to make it financially sustainable in the long term,” WAMU spokeswoman Benae Mosby emails City Desk.
The Animal House airs every Saturday at noon in D.C. Hosted by Sam Litzinger and Gary Weitzman, the program also airs in more than 30 markets around the country. The weekly shows discusses everything animal-related, including science, the environment, and conservation, and offers advice on wildlife issues and pet care. This summer, the show, according to Mosby, ranked seventh in the D.C. market for its time slot.
“Since 2009 and in more than 200 editions, Sam and Doctor Gary have informed, helped and entertained thousands of listeners, humanized complex scientific stories, and made a powerful contribution to the critical debate about the environment,” the show’s executive producer Mark McDonald and WAMU General Manager J.J. Yore wrote in a staff memo announcing the cancellation.
WAMU will announce new programming changes in wake of the The Animal House cancellation before the show ends.
Read the full staff memo, obtained by City Desk, below:
It is with great sadness that we have to announce the ending of our weekly program, The Animalil”>House, on November 29, 2014
Since 2009 and in more than 200 editions, Sam and Doctor Gary have informed, helped and entertained thousands of listeners, humanized complex scientific stories, and made a powerful contribution to the critical debate about the environment. The program has been heard around the country in more than thirty markets. It was frequently the number one program in the Washington metro market, and attracted a high number of young listeners.
Newcomers may not realize that when the show started it had virtually no budget at all – Tara Boyle, Karen Munson, Nancy Robertson and Mark worked on it in their spare time to get it off the ground.
The program’s annual budget is currently $150,000. Through the years we were unsuccessful in securing enough funding for Animal House for it to grow in production and marketing strength, or to make it financially sustainable in the long term. As we seek to realign our income and expenditure this change allows us to consolidate and focus more on our core programming.
There are many people to thank – starting of course with Steve, the program’s only full time producer, who put his heart, soul, experience and extraordinary talents into creating a unique product, week after week. We’re talking with Steve about a potential new role in programming, with more details to follow.
Natalie Yuravlivker is the latest in a long line of talented staffers who have supported Steve’s work and contributed great features on air. Many thanks also to members of the WAMU News team, members of the Kojo Nnamdi Show production team and numerous WAMU volunteers for their enthusiasm, and vital help and support.
We’ll be announcing the schedule changes this triggers in the coming weeks.
JJ and Mark
Photo by Mike Locke via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0