'This American Life' Dropped by Distributor But Don't Freak Out

Much like that time your cousin broke up with her boyfriend of five years out of nowhere, beloved radio program This American Life is breaking up with its longtime distributor.

That sound you hear is the shocked screams of people who think they are better than you because they listen to This American Life instead of watching marathons of Dateline Saturday Night Mystery. According to Deadline, after 17 years Public Radio International is bowing out as the show's distributor.

PRI notifed stations yesterday in a statement that it would be ending its agreement this summer. "During our most recent negotiation, it became clear that our organizations' expectations regarding our futures were different, and therefore, we mutually agreed that beginning July 1, 2014, PRI will no longer distribute the program," the statement said.

But don't start having a conniption fit and screaming about how all America wants is to be entertained by talking cartoon dogs and The Bachelor. It's not like the show is doing poorly—the show is broadcast on 587 stations and has an audience of 2.2 million. (Showtime once carried a TV version of the show which ran for two years and won three Emmys.)

You can totally relax, because show will continue to be made, according to the people behind it. Host Ira Glass posted a message on the This American Life website which reads:

We're leaving our distributor Public Radio International. What this means for listeners is ... nothing! We'll continue to make our radio show and podcast. The same public radio stations will continue to broadcast it. They just won't be getting it through PRI.

PRI has been a great partner. When we signed up with them in 1997, we were already on over a hundred public radio stations. It'd taken us a year to get that many. In three months, PRI doubled the number. A miracle. Over the years since, they built that number to 587 stations.

But looking at where PRI is now pushing its business and where we're growing – especially on the digital side of things, which we've always done without PRI – both we and our colleagues at PRI came to the same conclusion: to go our separate ways.

Glass also cleared up a misconception about how the show is distributed, too:

Most listeners I meet seem utterly unaware of who our distributor is, or they think – mistakenly – that we're part of NPR. NPR is the company that puts out Morning Edition and All Things Considered and many fine programs. But there are several other companies that distribute public radio shows around the country. Local public radio stations get shows from all of them.

Image via Getty Images.