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MPR cancels ‘Radio Heartland with Dale Connelly’

Don’t have much more than the news release I just received, but Minnesota Public Radio is ending Dale Connelly’s “Radio Heartland” web- and HD-radio-casts Friday.
Connelly has been broadcasting via the alterna-formats since his “Morning Show” with

[Update with member letter added 3:30 p.m.]

Don’t have much more than the news release I just received, but Minnesota Public Radio is ending Dale Connelly’s “Radio Heartland” web- and HD-radio-casts Friday. Sounds like Radio Heartland without Dale Connelly will survive in some form; the service emphasizes “acoustic and Americana” music.

Connelly has been broadcasting via the alterna-formats since his “Morning Show” with Jim Ed Poole ended its run on the Current last December with Poole’s retirement. The release cites money for ending Connelly’s three-decade-plus MPR career, during which he replaced Garrison Keillor on the “Morning Show.”

Here’s the release:

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Minnesota Public Radio is ending “Radio Heartland with Dale Connelly” on the Radio Heartland Web and HD music service effective Friday, June 4, 2010. This move is being taken in order to move the Radio Heartland platform to a more sustainable business model. Dale Connelly is part of the fabric of what built MPR into the strong service that it is today, and MPR is deeply grateful for his 34 years of innovation and service.

Update — Here’s the communication members received … slightly more human:

I’m writing to share some news with you about Radio Heartland.

It’s been eighteen months since Radio Heartland has been in existence. We’ve closely monitored its growth during this time and have come to the conclusion that in order to continue with Radio Heartland music on Web and HD, we need to decrease programming expenses.

We’re continuously evaluating all of our activities, programs and services as we focus on serving your needs in a financially sustainable way. Along with Dale Connelly, we have been constantly assessing the sustainability of Radio Heartland since its launch and we all agreed that we would make changes, if needed, after eighteen months. Unfortunately, the sustainability we all worked toward was not achieved.

As a result, while we’ll be able to continue providing the wonderful music that you expect from Radio Heartland, we’ve cancelled Dale Connelly’s weekday morning show and his Saturday evening show on MPR News. This means that Dale will leave MPR. His last show on Radio Heartland will air on Friday, June 4.

Dale is part of the fabric of what built MPR into the strong service that it is today. We know that he will be greatly missed by you, and that’s why we wanted to let you know about this change first hand. We’re deeply grateful to Dale for his 34 years of innovation and service to MPR and to you for supporting him. It’s because of this that we do not take lightly the difficult decision to end Dale’s involvement with Radio Heartland.

Radio Heartland producer, Mike Pengra, will continue picking the music that you’ll hear on Radio Heartland. And you’ll continue to hear Thistle and Shamrock with Fiona Ritchie, Mountain Stage with Larry Groce,American Routes with Nick Spitzer, and A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor.