Classical radio host fired from American Public Media for going against playlist protocols

Posted on: September 11, 2020

“American Public Media has fired Garrett McQueen, Minnesota’s only Black classical music host and a national advocate for diversifying the field,” writes Jenna Ross in Friday’s (9/11) Star Tribune (Minneapolis). “Heard across the country on the radio show ‘Music Through the Night,’ McQueen said he was fired Thursday because he switched up the playlist that had been set for his program. ‘The playlist wasn’t as diverse, wasn’t moving forward to my speed,’ McQueen said by phone Thursday. ‘In response to that, I went against programming protocol for the past several months.’ Instead, he sometimes played music that ‘spoke to the moment,’ he said, including works by Black composers…. An APM spokesperson declined a request for an interview.… In 2018 [McQueen became] an overnight host for Classical 24, a service coproduced by St. Paul-based APM and Public Radio International.… With fellow host Scott Blankenship, he created a podcast called ‘Trilloquy’—spotlighting … groups historically underrepresented in classical music…. APM took McQueen off the air in late August, McQueen said, and gave him two written warnings…. He estimated that he swapped out a quarter to a third of the music programmed for him during a typical shift.” McQueen and Blankenship will continue the “Trilloquy” podcast independently.