Garrison Keillor reveals next host for ‘A Prairie Home Companion’

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Photo: Erik Hageness

Keillor (Photo: Erik Hageness)

Garrison Keillor told The Berkshire Eagle Friday that he will transition out of his role as host of A Prairie Home Companion during the 2015–16 season of the show, which begins in September.

Keillor’s replacement will be Chris Thile, a mandolinist and singer in the bands Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek. Thile guest-hosted two APHC shows in February.

The website Mandolin Café confirmed the news with Thile, who said, “Everything Garrison said is true, and I’m really excited.”

Keillor told The Berkshire Eagle that he will co-host some shows during the 2015–16 season. He added:

“Chris is my man,” said Keillor, “and I’m eager to stay home and read books. But of course, I’ll do whatever needs to be done to assure an easy transition — sing, dance, do ‘Guy Noir,’ talk about my home town, whatever is required.”

According to the paper, APHC’s 2016-17 season will feature Thile exclusively as the host, and the program will then become “a music-intensive variety show.”

It’s not the first time Keillor has talked about retiring. In a 2011 interview with AARP, Keillor said, “I am planning to retire in the spring of 2013, but first I have to find my replacement.”

At the time, Bill Kling, then president and c.e.o. of Minnesota Public Radio, told a Minnesota Public Radio blogger that Keillor’s comment about retiring “doesn’t necessarily mean anything more than that morning’s musings.”

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  • Aaron Read

    The horror…the folksy, folksy horror…

    • MarkJeffries

      Anyone wanna bet on how long before “PHC” stops booking the folk singers and starts booking AAA acts? And will it be while Garrison is still living?

      • Mason Gibb

        …you mean start booking AARP acts?

        • MarkJeffries

          Adult album alternative. The format that’s slowly replacing classical, jazz and folk as public radio’s music format of choice. For examples, please see KCRW, the Current, KEXP, WFUV, WXPN, etc.

  • ursusdc

    Sorry, I did not think Mr. Thile did that great a job in Feb.

    Nothing is forever.

  • Mike Cressy

    I agree with “ursusdc” in that this is a poor choice. No offense to Mr. Thile but a host needs to be more confidant and versatile than his outings as host last February. Well, I knew it had to end some time. Sorry to see it go.

  • Solomon

    Keillor gone, for some of us it will be hard to miss the show. I have been a fun of him over 4 decades.

  • nashbash

    I thought Thile was a bit better on today’s 1/30/16 show. I felt that he was trying to act like Garrison too much last year. I think it the music choices and such will become the way millennials like it as well…and not the way that all PHC listeners like.

  • guest

    yes, it definitely now seems like a show for millennials. oh well, guess us baby boomers are being shoved aside and cast off in entertainment & culture just like we are in everything else. but its sure going to be hard to like a world with mostly AAA/millennial music formats as they mostly lack history or context. oh well at least we’ve got our social security, medicare and retirements and they just have little phones…

    • MarkJeffries

      You know, you’re sounding just like your parents. And the AAA formats are aimed at Gen-Xers who are now in their 40s, not millennials. I don’t think XPN or KCRW plays Fetty Wap or Ariana Grande.

      • 8Pi

        I’m thinking about the number of younger people who listen to ‘Car Talk’ reruns. That show, along with the traditional ‘A Prairie Home Companion’, has not been cast off, and shouldn’t be. If those who decide such things invest in the belief that the audience is lost, well, then, the audience will be lost, but it won’t be due to lack of interest.

    • 8Pi

      Anyone who must resort to using the terms “millennials,” and “baby boomers,” insults all those who do not fit into these extraordinarily narrow stereotype. Classic. Individuals shape their world with words and language. Prairie Home Companion has simply completed its run.

      But, also, do you not get out to hear all the young musicians who are playing and singing traditional music of all types, and telling stories?

      • guest

        You sound overly sensitive. get over yourself. there’s nothing insulting about the terms “boomers or millennials” they’re merely convenient catchphrases to describe the tastes and likes of different groups of people. and yes i do get out to hear the young people making music these days and it sounds awful as so much of it lacks traditional melody, harmony, arrangement, and composition. its also okay that musical tastes and capabilities change with the generations. peace and love to you and all good blessings…

        • 8Pi

          You can’t shove off with “you sound overly sensitive” and “get over yourself” and end with “peace and love to you and all good blessings.”

  • 8Pi

    It is an absurdity that Garrison Keillor would tell The Berkshire Eagle that he will “transition” out of his role as host. If, by some chance, he did turn transition upside-down and inside out and use “transition” as a verb, then, this must be the Garrison Keillor of a parallel, and evil, universe. On the other hand, he did take to saying, “back in the day,” a mind-numbing phrase, tremendously popular with, (even), 20 year olds.