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Farewell to OPB

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 15:00 UK time, Friday, 4 June 2010

We got some sad news from Oregon a few days ago. As you may have seen on facebook and twitter yesterday, OPB has decided to drop WHYS from its schedule from the end of June. This is the statement that it's put on its facebook page. And this is OPB's facebook wall which has some comment as well.

Needless to say it's a real shame as we've a fantastic connection with the station and many of you who listen in Oregon. (We get more comment from Oregon than any other US state and more than any country bar Nigeria.) But clearly for a significant number of listeners our 'tone' and 'production' are not to their liking and we have to respect the station's decision.

This doesn't come out of the blue. We've talked to OPB before about these concerns (and of course reply personally whenever a complaint is passed on), and we've been grateful for the commitment that the station has shown while considering those complaints. It could have dropped us the moment the first person complained, and we appreciate very much that that did not happen.

I know from looking at facebook that some of you are very frustrated by this. We're disappointed too. But I know the people who made this decision and I'm sure they'll only have taken it with much consideration for OPB's listeners and what they want to hear.

If you look at the OPB facebook page you'll see there are listeners who are delighted at the news.

We have said to OPB that it's welcome to post here or on our facebook page if they'd like to explain things further. I'm not sure it'll do that, but to honest 'John B' on their facebook page is answering many of the questions that you may have, so do take a look at that.

I and the only whole team are feeling very sad about it all. Clearly radio schedules are not life and death, but we've loved being on OPB and having Oregonians at the heart of our show. And we've loved coming to see you too.

I remember with particular fondness, the packed pancake house in the Dalles, those two shows in the square in Portland when so many of you turned out, and the evening we went to the pub in Portland expecting 20 of you to show up and instead there was well over a hundred.

We were constantly humbled by the commitment and enthusiasm that many of you out there have shown to the show. More important still, we loved having your opinions and experiences as part of our discussions.

There's no point pretending that losing a lot of that won't leave a pretty big gap. Of course it will, but we're lucky enough to have a big audience and the conversation will of course go on.

One final thought - OPB went out on a limb in taking WHYS 3 years ago, and made a real commitment to the programme, which included two warm welcomes when we visited Oregon. Even though it hasn't worked out, we're very grateful for the efforts and support of OPB's staff while the show has been carried.

Let's at least enjoy this last month in each other's company, and then from July 1 it'll be WHYS minus OPB (or OPB minus WHYS depending on how you look at it!).

We're off to South Africa tomorrow - speak to you from Soweto on Monday.

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