"Making money has never been a goal of 'Mountain Stage,'" he said. "But we don't want to be a total money suck. 'Mountain Stage' is an expensive show to produce, and I think other public radio stations would be pretty surprised at what we accomplish for the money we have."
Aside from revenue, leaving town also offers the show opportunities it can't get in Charleston, too -- like bigger theaters.
More seats equal more revenue, and the show can sometimes attract artists it might not be able to have appear otherwise.
Harris said a lot of critics of "Mountain Stage" are quick to say, "All the good shows are on the road" or "All the good shows are in Morgantown."
And there might be a grain of truth to that. Concert planning often comes down to routing and where a given artist happens to be. Morgantown, for example, is close to Pittsburgh and has better access to the more populous northern states.
It might be easier for "Mountain Stage" to get someone it wants, particularly a better-known performer, if the show happens to be in the neighborhood.
Likewise, certain name-brand artists can suggest a show in their area.
Harris explained, "If someone comes in and says we want to do a show Oct. 14 in Athens and that works in our schedule, we do it. Sometimes, they can only do that show in Athens. They're just not going to be Charleston."
Traveling also helps "Mountain Stage" reconnect with listeners, he said. "Mountain Stage" has more than 120 affiliates across the country.
"People forget we're a radio show."
It's also part of the reason, "Mountain Stage" likes to play around the state as much possible -- to connect with listeners and remind them to tune in Sunday afternoons and Saturday nights on their local public radio station.
"It's shocking how many native West Virginians don't know what 'Mountain Stage' is."
The shows in Morgantown, Huntington and Princeton are meant to help remedy that.
Still, Harris agreed that if "Mountain Stage" considers Charleston its home, fans in Charleston should reasonably expect to see a few shows
"Mountain Stage," he promised, will return to Charleston. Harris hasn't ruled out an October show getting onto the schedule, and if not by October, then maybe by November and certainly by December.
In December, Harris said, the show will host its 30th birthday in advance of its 30th season, which kicks off in January. It's also working on a Christmas-themed show.
"It's looking that way," he said.
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.