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APMG head meets with staff to discuss Keillor allegations

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Garrison Keillor's final 'Prairie Home Companion'
Garrison Keillor delivers the news from Lake Wobegon one last time during his final show as host of "A Prairie Home Companion" on stage at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles Friday, July 1, 2016.
Nate Ryan | MPR 2016

American Public Media Group's decision to sever its contracts with Garrison Keillor were the result of "multiple allegations" that covered an extended period of time, the CEO of MPR's parent company said Wednesday.

In an off-the-record meeting with employees, Jon McTaggart added that he alone, among APMG staff, knew the content of the allegations against the longtime host of A Prairie Home Companion. He said specifics had been shared only with lawyers and a committee of APMG Board members addressing the issue.

Because the meeting was declared off the record, journalists covering the Keillor story for MPR News did not attend. This account was compiled from interviews with employees who attended the meeting. APMG spokesperson Angie Andresen said the company did not plan to issue a statement about the meeting.

McTaggart fielded questions, as well as both criticism and support, for his refusal so far to discuss the Keillor saga on the air. He reportedly said that the decision to withhold further comment was his alone, and not based on any legal advice. Similarly, he said the decision to cut ties with Keillor was his own.

The CEO acknowledged that the leadership of APMG has heard criticism from MPR listeners. Andresen said in an email Wednesday afternoon that about 660 people had canceled their memberships since the Keillor news broke. The membership base is about 133,000.

Cancellation calls, she said, "have slowed over the past couple days, though we expect that we could see a range from 660 to 800 cancellations by the time we finish processing emails. We also have had approximately 230 people become members or increase their donations because of this decision."