Popular nationally syndicated radio program You Bet Your Garden won't be going away after its cancellation at WHYY earlier this week after all. Instead, the show, hosted by Mike McGrath, will now be produced by Bethlehem's WLVT/PBS39.
You Bet Your Garden will continue to air uninterrupted on various radio stations, on Apple Podcasts, and via the Stitcher app, as a result of the move, according to a release from the station. To be recorded in WLVT/PBS39's Bethlehem studios, episodes of the show will also be available via the WLVT website.
The show's new home plans to continue to offer the show to more than 120 affiliates nationwide. WHYY, however, will no longer be airing You Bet Your Garden, which will still wrap its run there on Sept. 29. "WHYY will no longer be airing You Bet Your Garden," a statement from the station read. "You Bet Your Garden will end its run on WHYY-FM on Saturday, Sept. 29. We wish Mike McGrath all the best as he continues to cultivate green (and organic) thumbs."
WLVT/PBS39 also plans to create a You Bet Your Garden television show to air on Saturday mornings. A premiere date has not yet been announced.
"This is an opportunity that we simply couldn't pass up," said Tim Fallon, CEO of WLVT/PBS39. "Not only does [McGrath] bring an energy to our lineup of on-air personalities, he also gives us the ability to diversify our offerings and play in the radio and podcast space."
The move, a release notes, will shorten McGrath's commute significantly, as he is a Lehigh Valley resident. While McGrath, a Philadelphia native, is thankful for that, he said in a phone interview that he'll miss coming to Philadelphia to record the show regularly — and visit food spots like Paesano's, DiNic's, and LaScala's, as well as his favorite comic book shop, Atomic City Comics on South Street. Otherwise, he said, his outlook is good.
"My friends just look at me and shake their heads and say, 'Indiana Jones slides under the closing door once again,' " McGrath said. "There is nothing to be sorry about, except I will have to develop a new rhythm for a reason to come into Philly. I spent my first 30 years there. I'm a corner boy from Torresdale. I want sirens. To me, that's a good day."
WLVT/PBS39, McGrath said, is committed to airing You Bet Your Garden weekly. While WHYY will no longer air the program, McGrath said he is working on other ways for Philly fans to get a listen, aside from the podcast version of the show. His final show at WHYY on Sept. 29 will mark 19 years, 51 weeks, and 4 days worth of production on You Bet Your Garden. The show's exit, he added, was pre-planned, and came after several months of stalled contract negotiations with WHYY.
A weekly call-in radio program, You Bet Your Garden has been focusing on organic horticulture since 1998. WHYY parted ways with the show this week in a move that also ended its NewsWorks Tonight program as the station attempts to organize an updated news radio program.