Courtenay Hameister Steps Down as Host of 'Live Wire!'

After nine years, the charming, witty, and just-acerbic-enough host will step away, but continues on as head writer.

By Genevieve Hudson April 3, 2013

Courtenay Hameister, host of Live Wire!

After a nine-year stint as host of Live Wire!, the beloved Portland-based radio variety show, Courtenay Hameister announced that she will be stepping down as leading lady, but will remain on board as head writer and co-producer.

Hameister has been the face and voice of the show since September 2004, when she sashayed on stage to take the place of the show’s original host, Rob Sample. Live Wire! is an independently produced program that began life with Oregon Public Broadcasting, but is now syndicated to 12 markets nationwide, including Austin, Seattle, New Haven, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh.

Although a permanent replacement has yet to be named, Luke Burbank—who has filled in for the likes of Peter Sagal in addition to hosting his own podcast Too Beautiful To Live—will take the Live Wire! reigns for the rest of the season.

Here’s Hameister’s statement from the Live Wire! site:

It’s not you, it’s absolutely, unquestionably me

Hey there,

Host Courtenay Hameister here. As some of you may have already heard, after nine (amazing, life-changing, wonderful) years, I've decided to step down as host of Live Wire. 

The thing is, I've just finally come to realize that I am simply not a person who is built for getting up in front of 400 people for three hours twice a month. I've always loved being head writer, reading my essays and performing with the sketch comedy troupe, but doing interviews and being the sole conductor of the freight train that is our live show was causing me undue stress that I finally decided was too unhealthy to sustain. (After having minor surgery to remove a rather angry gall bladder, I was told that stress may have caused the issue, and I'm pretty sure I don't have that many expendable organs left. My spleen is already giving me dirty looks.)

I am so proud of what we created with this show, and I think a testament to that is that Luke Burbank was able to walk in with very little notice last show and host without a hitch. (That's also a testament to Luke's talent, our amazing cast, crew and Executive Producer Robyn Tenenbaum, who responded to my decision with a tremendous amount of empathy and understanding.)

I'll stay on as Head Writer and Co-Producer and hopefully finish the book of essays I've been working on for (coincidentally?) nine years.

I am grateful to our Portland audience for accepting me and allowing me to find my footing as host - these have been the most rewarding years of my professional life, and I know I was incredibly fortunate to have the job. I'm sure a lot of people will think I'm nuts for stepping down, and so do I, a little, but I know this is the right thing for me. I'm calmer already. I'm napping right now, actually.

We're hoping to have one last show with me as host if my organs allow. Stay tuned, and thank you so much for all your support throughout years. I'm so grateful, and so lucky. 



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