Actor quits classical radio in solidarity with Woody Allen

Actor quits classical radio in solidarity with Woody Allen


norman lebrecht

November 13, 2020

The celebrity actor, broadcaster and Trump imitator Alec Baldwin has resigned from WNYC after being ordered to grill Woody Allen over allegations of sexual misconduct that he has long denied.

Baldwin, who has appeared in three of Allen’s films and is a regular presenter for the New York Philharmonic, has hosted Here’s the Thing on WNYC since 2011. He is moving the show to iHeartRadio from January.

He told Billboard: ‘Once WNYC said, ‘We won’t air the interview unless you ask these questions’ and forced that editorial content on me like that, I knew I was out of there…. That might be the only criticism of NYC that I have. I’m not saying to people to turn their backs on them or not support them. This is an experience that I had that was a singular experience which I thought was handled very badly by them. Having said that, I think there is still a lot of good there.’





  • John Borstlap says:

    In Saturday Night Live, Baldwin was so much better than Trump himself.

  • Ask Woody says:

    Mia Farrow lied in order to retain custody, doing terrible damage to her daughter. Nobody becomes a pedophile — and this would have been true pedophilia, not criminal behavior with an adolescent — for one single act.

    • Warren Parkinson says:

      Woody Allen has givens much to entertainment. To tarnish his carrer with ONE allegation from a disgrutled ex wife is very sad.

  • Greg says:

    Based on his own terrible behavior in the past, I’m surprised they kept him this long. If I ran the NY Phil he certainly would not be my choice for host. He is a disgrace and a loudmouth punk. Good riddance.

    • Michael says:

      He is not a very good host for the NY phil broadcasts to begin with. He’s very dry and boring. Those broadcasts are basically unlistenable, in my opinion.

    • NYMike says:

      Baldwin has been an excellent radio b’cast host for the NY Phil. Have you even listened to their b’casts or are you just commenting from an alternate universe?

      • Greg says:

        I don’t hear many of the broadcasts these days, and whether he is loquacious or engaging really wasn’t my point. I just have always found it odd that a venerable cultural institution such as the NYPO could not find a less controversial announcer. Perhaps someone who doesn’t berate his young daughter by calling her pain in the ass and a pig, or someone who doesn’t have multiple arrests, or someone who hasn’t repeatedly physically assaulted photographers, or someone who hasn’t had to attend court-ordered anger management counseling after a physical altercation over a parking spot. Just saying. Those are kind of unorthodox qualifications for a gig such as representing an orchestra.

        • Jim says:

          Baldwin has a great radio voice, and he doesn’t put up with shit. People like to screw with him.

          Get off your high horse, dude.

    • Con hater says:

      Somehow Greggie, I’m being that it’s YOU who is the loudmouthed punk.

      • Greg says:

        Somehow, Con hater, I am not surprised by your inability to construct a proper sentence. Nor am I surprised by you only being to call someone names as a retort. Brilliant. You represent yourself quite well. Maybe you can be the radio voice of the NYPO.

  • Bill says:

    Hi there! WNYC is New York’s public radio station, NOT its classical music station. WQXR is New York’s classical station. Basic Google.

    • Bill says:

      Look a little more carefully and you’ll see that WNYC radio owns WQXR…

      Please, if you are going to post under my name, try to keep the same high standards I’ve established!

    • Stephen Owades says:

      WQXR is part of the WNYC organization, much as WCRB is part of WGBH in Boston. “Here’s the Thing” is a podcast, not a radio program, so it matters even less which call letters are attached to it.

  • sam says:

    It takes a certain kind of man to call his 11 year old daughter a “thoughtless little pig”, and a certain kind of man to have sex with his companion’s daughter when she was 22 and he 57

    not sure what the aim was to ask one to interview the other

  • Karl says:

    Public radio has become a bottomless pit of woke stupidity.

  • Bruce says:

    Not to weigh in on did-he-or-didn’t-he (since everybody obviously already knows what they think), but they were wrong to impose requirements on the interview like that.

    • V.Lind says:

      Not disagreeing with you, but given that WNYC was offering Woody Allen a space that many have denied him in recent times, it is not necessarily improper to at least suggest that the interviewer raise the questions that have stalled the film-maker’s career. Like another poster here, I do not know if “grill” was Mr. Baldwin’s or Mr.Lebrecht’s word. It make a huge difference. But letting Mr. Allen have a forum is already taking a position, so the interviewer –as intermediary — has some responsibility to present a rounded picture.

      I once went to interview a very famous politician who was leader of a party in which another very prominent member was actively involved in a sex-scandal. (I know, take your pick…) My editor insisted that I ask the subject about the scandal. I protested that the man would never speak about it. The editor said that all I had to do was get that on the record. So I started with the pol by telling him exactly what my instructions were, he provided a “no comment” with a grin, and honour was satisfied. (My editor has assured me, and subsequent experience proved, that if my subject had wanted to say anything about it, he would have).

      Alex Baldwin may regard himself as an entertainer, not a journalist — I am not familiar with his programme. WNYC may believe that giving a controversial individual air space requires more than a cosy chat between two people who are in the movie biz. (By the way, the interview was run in June, and Baldwin — who is a longtime friend of Allen — did ask some of the questions WNYC wanted him to, after giving Allen notice that he would). Honour was served?

      I wonder if this does not have more to do with money. He’s going from public radio to an aggressively commercial host that is doing very well in a fiercely competitive market.

      BTW: under the new format, will we have to sign in every time, with email? How is this better?

      • Greg Bottini says:

        Adding to Ms. Lind’s comment about the new (and unimproved) format:

        Once one writes a comment and clicks on the button, that comment then becomes invisible until it is finally deemed acceptable and made visible on the site. This is VERY annoying, particularly when one wants to make more than one comment to a particular post.

        I also think the up- and downvote function should be restored. Feedback is a good thing.

        And I agree with Ms. Lind: the inability to save name and e-mail from comment to comment is unnecessarily punitive to frequent commenters.

        Norman, I think you dropped the ball on this refashioning of the comment section of your blog. (“dropped the ball”: that’s an American sports metaphor meaning “mucked up”.)

        P.S.: Hello, Ms. Lind – I hope you’re well.

    • Jim says:

      Check. Pretty appalling.

  • C Rogers says:

    I am heartened by Alex Baldwins statement. He articulates clearly and simply that being told what he should question WA about is not acceptable to him as the interviewer and he speaks respectfully of his former employer. I am reading WA autobiography with great interest and enjoyment.

    • ofer desade says:

      Next, read the mf’s. Given a choice who would YOU believe?

      • Yes Addison says:

        Woody, Soon-Yi, and Moses are more plausible to me than Mia, Dylan, and Ronan on the molestation matter. I agree with Baldwin that the two investigations in 1992-93 came to the correct conclusion, which is why the case died.

        When people say “Woody Allen makes my skin crawl!” it’s hard to know what specifically they mean. Everything gets lumped in together, and it shouldn’t. We can have our opinions on the irregularity or even the wrongness of beginning an affair with the adult daughter of a partner with whom you share other children, but molestation of a 7-year-old is on a different order of magnitude. And it’s child molestation over which actors are saying they regret working with him now. It’s a perception that he is (or may be) a child molester that has harmed his career. That harm isn’t done by his consensual relationship with Soon-Yi, which is approaching 30 years at this point.

        Everything I’ve read on the subject from all sides leads me to believe Mia concocted the child molestation story as revenge, and Dylan is either repeating it as an adult to please her mother or she truly believes it now after decades of indoctrination.

  • anon says:

    Hmm, no more thumbs up thumbs down, not sure that’s better, a lot less interactive

    • Brian says:

      Yes, the thumbs up/down tool added a layer of contentiousness but it also encouraged engagement. That said, this comments interface seems to load faster.

      Mr. Baldwin was hired as a “personality,” not an investigative journalist. I’m not sure why the station seems to think otherwise.

    • V.Lind says:

      Agreed. AND: there appear to be no records of anything posted up to yesterday. AND: some of this morning’s postings do not have this format.

      So no chance to see how the readership of this blog responded to Pavarotti singing Liszt — I was interested in that.

      Perhaps a posting by the owner on the change of format and the reasons for it?

      • Peter San Diego says:

        I replied to the Pav/Liszt item under the old format, but it never appeared. All I said was that the Petrarch sonnets formed the centrepiece of Pavarotti’s recital in San Diego, some time in the mid-80s. Despite being under the weather with a cold, he sang the sonnets with unexpected insight and sensitivity; just hearing Liszt’s settings, live in recital, was a wonderful experience.

        • V.Lind says:

          Well: it’s posted now, along with a few others, and thank you. The past postings have reappeared in this new format, at least back to the Jonas Kaufman White Christmas story, which I belatedly listened to and responded to.

          Some rollout logistics, no doubt. But we are still left with no thumbs up/down function, no recognition of sign-ins (the “Remember Me” button), and posts do NOT appear more quickly — my comment on the role of interviewers, whatever its merits, was posted very early yesterday afternoon and was not up when I last looked mid-evening my time (late in the UK, so “the moderators” would have been done for the day. The only difference is that for a while you can see your post (but not, as far as I can see, correct typos, etc.) before it has been moderated. It is there now, of course, datelined yesterday.

          I am reluctant to discuss this further at the moment absent the participation of the moderator, whom I asked in an earlier post to

          That’s my experience so far. I can never figure out why people have to tinker with technology, especially when it is no improvement. (Are you listening, Microsoft, re Windows Bloody 10?).

      • Greg Bottini says:

        Hear, hear!

    • Brettermeier says:

      “Hmm, no more thumbs up thumbs down, not sure that’s better, a lot less interactive”

      Yes, the poor trolls! They had so much fun with the thumb system.

    • CJ says:

      You are right Anon, I also regret the thumbs up thumbs down, it was great fun.
      Please Norman, put them back!

    • Dave Nelson says:

      I thought it was just my computer after its most recent automatic “upgrade” (which evidently in computer-speak does not mean “improvement”) so I am relieved to see it is a NL/SD thing not something at my end.

      I also notice that S.D. no longer seems to recognize that I am someone who has posted before. Every fresh posting now is met with a writing assignment with an implicit “who the hell are you?”

      I don’t know what Baldwin’s complete role at WNYC is or was but to my mind a host isn’t a journalist. A friend does not put a friend through what a journalist is paid, and expected, to put a newsworthy person through. That is why journalists keep their distance from their subjects, or should.

    • Karl says:

      It’s a bummer. I had so many comments that had all thumbs down and not a single thumbs up.

  • drummerman says:

    Does the word “grill” come from Mr. Baldwin or Mr. Lebrecht? It’s a fairly strong word.

  • Stephen Diviani says:

    All credit to Mr Baldwin for speaking out and resigning on a matter of principle. I am so sick of mob rule and the way independent thinking is being silenced and innocent people demonized and hounded out of work by authoritarian, puritanical bigots engaging in McCarthy-like witch hunts. I’ve just read ‘Apropos of Nothing’ and thoroughly enjoyed it, so recommend it. Roger Lewis chose it as one of his ‘books of the year’ in the Spectator, which is why I bought it.

  • E Rand says:

    Is there a story that could possibly matter less than this? “Loud mouth refuses to do something”.

    Who cares. Hollywood is dead. The Left killed it.

  • Peet says:

    Dumb move on the part of the station. Any interviewer would agree: it’s not your business what I ask or don’t ask.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    The Left eats itself. LOL

  • Barbara says:

    Yes, I would like to know about the change of format. Not able to read or give comments on recent items which is very strange and misses the point of the website.

  • Nijinsky says:

    Moses Farrow, who witnessed the whole proceedings, clearly explained what truly happened, and how Mia Farrow coached Dylan Farrow. And that of course you don’t hear on corporate media because it doesn’t serve as fodder for people’s need to make volatile hateful “observations” based on stereotyping.

  • Sharon says:

    I agree with V. Lind. WNYC group radio stations such as WQXR, although it appears that this incident happened in another station owned by WQXR’s parent company, WNYC AM, are now non profit radio stations dependent on donations from the public WNYC AM has a mainly left of center “Me Too” supporting listening audience. I receive fund raising solicitation letters from WNYC and WQXR all the time

    They may also, I am not certain, still receive some government funding. After all, WNYC AM and the classical music WNYC FM, now merged with WQXR, originally started as the City of New York’s radio stations. Even if they do not receive direct government funding anymore WNYC AM I believe still receives and plays some programs from the government funded National Public Radio (NPR).

    THEREFORE it has to show that it is not condoning child molesters or even alleged child molesters and therefore must require the interviewer to ask questions about it. Otherwise they will come under tremendous criticism about giving Allen legitimacy and may lose a lot of financial support.

    My question is, if this situation was handled and resolved in June, as V Lind believes, why is Alec Baldwin jumping ship now? Could it be the money or perhaps Baldwin just wants to broadcast in California?

    • V.Lind says:

      Well, his SNL gig as Donald Trump is drawing to a close…though there will still be some juice in it while the Big Baby continues to play “let’s pretend” and his moronic enablers let him.

  • Sharon says:

    I agree with V. Lind

    WNYC used to owned by the City of New York. It was comprised of two stations WNYC AM which was largely news and commentary and WNYC FM which was largely classical music and competed with WQXR.

    In the mid nineties WNYC broke ties with New York City apparently at the order or then Mayor Giuliani and formed its own non for profit corporation. They continued to use New York City offices for free, which they no longer do, and obtained shows from National Public Radio, a service which receives funds from the federal government.

    In around 2008 WNYC took over WQXR and made it their classical radio station. WNYC FM became more news and commentary.

    The WNYC network (if you want to call it that) is now entirely dependent on donations. I receive fund raising letters from WNYC as well as separate fund raising letters from WQXR all the time.

    Because they cannot afford to offend their largely “me too” sympathizing donor base nor the management of NPR they must show that they are not condoning or ignoring child abuse. They therefore MUST ask probing questions about it if they are going to interview someone whose abusive behavior was essentially substantiated in court, even if the interviewer does not believe that the accusations are true.

    Alec Baldwin should have realized this.

    My question is, if the situation was resolved in June, as V. Lind says, why is Baldwin jumping ship now? Could in be that there is more money at iHeart (I don’t doubt it) or perhaps he wants to broadcast from California?