The host of a popular, nationally syndicated WNYC-based talk show is leaving following reports that she berated staff and was the subject of internal complaints.
Tanzina Vega, the host of WNYC’s morning radio news show The Takeaway, announced Friday morning that she will exit the station. Melissa Harris Perry will take over the show’s hosting duties on an interim basis.
“As the first Latina to host the Takeaway I’m very proud of the work I did transforming the show into a nationals success that explored the societal gaps of wealth, empathy and truth in our daily lives. During my tenure we increased our digital audience, plowed through a global pandemic, and introduced fresh perspectives from communities that are often ignored in the media. After three years, I’ve decided to leave the show,” Vega wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. “My goal has always been to balance the nuance and rigor that is critical to making high quality journalism. I’m grateful to those who’ve supported me on this journey and to the thousands of listeners and guests who shared their insights and experiences. I also want to thank The Takeaway staff for their work on the show and wish them the best.”
In a memo to WNYC staff, the station’s chief content officer Andrew Golis wrote, “Over the last three years, Tanzina and the entire Takeaway team have worked tirelessly to produce an essential daily national news show for the listeners of 290 public radio stations and thousands more online. They’ve focused the show on the issues that bring us together and sometimes divide us, paying special attention to criminal and social justice, the economy, and racial disparities. We wish Tanzina the very best on her next chapter.”
The well-known journalist has been on medical leave for months at the same time the network has looked into human-resources complaints against her, including claims that on multiple occasions Vega blew up at members of her staff.
Vega has privately disputed the claims, enlisting Neil Mullin, a prominent employment attorney, who told The Daily Beast last month that the media had “spread false rumors about the reason for her leave,” which he said was “indecent treatment of an esteemed radio host.”
Vega’s departure is just the latest as WNYC’s internal tensions have spilled into public view.
Earlier this year, the station fired longtime On the Media co-host Bob Garfield for violating its anti-bullying policy after repeatedly warning him not to yell at members of his staff (Garfield described his firing at the time as “tragic” and said he was let go for “yelling in 5 meetings over 20 years”).
That same month, WNYC employees also filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the station of retaliating against unionized employees by laying off a prominent union organizer and a staffer who had publicly criticized the station’s top editor Audrey Cooper.
As The Daily Beast reported in June, staffers had expressed anger that several union leaders had been let go in layoffs the month prior, and demanded during one all-staff meeting to know the salaries of top WNYC leaders.
Multiple insiders familiar with the ensuing exchange said that Cooper was not pleased with two specific reporters involved in the conversation who, following the meeting, received human-resources emails claiming WNYC brass wanted to meet with them to discuss what the station described as disrespectful behavior. Management backed down after the two staffers requested union representatives be present for any such conversation.