'42-year detour' ends: Garrison Keillor homeward bound
Saturday, July 2, 2016
US public radio network , hung up his microphone this week. The final episode of Companion to be hosted by Keillor was recorded yesterday at the with 18,000 people in attendance. It was broadcast today., the humorist and longtime host of on
Musiciantakes over as host in October. Thile is expected to keep the program's basic format intact while updating its content.
Keillor, 73, created A Prairie Home Companion in 1974, and it turned into a "42-year detour". He had gone to, he said, "to write about the for ." Keillor found Nashville "so unbuttoned. All of these wonderful performers — was there, and , . They were all children of the , and they felt so lucky to have whatever they had. And it was really a happy place. So I got seduced by that into trying to start my own show."
On Friday, Keillor said he kept going for the friendship. "[I]t was to get to meet people if you had no social skills. And people would walk up to you and say, 'I heard you on the radio.' This was the beginning of a conversation that would lead in all sorts of interesting directions." The final episode changed direction very little; Keillor added duets with five of his favorite singers, then closed the show with a medley he performed alone.
Companion highlighted the sensibilities of the Minnesota. Now, he says, that version of the Midwest "is receding in the rear-view mirror at high speed."of Keillor's youth. His on-air persona was a throwback; a "radio bard" telling amusing stories spun from the fictional town of ,
Garrison Keillor was one of six children raised in afamily in . Television was forbidden in the home, but their large radio allowed him to listen to music and like .
Keillor began writing after deciding he wanted to play football, only to learn that he had a . "So instead of playing football, I wrote about football. No better thing for a kid, than to write about actual things that are happening before your eyes. [...] I was very, very lucky." His broadcasting career started after a speech coach suggested he could overcome his fear of performing in front of other people by taking off his glasses. "And when you learn that you don't have to be afraid of people you can't see, you've taken a step towards broadcasting, you see?"
42 years later, Keillor says he plans to resume writing. A memoir and a screenplay are in the works.
- Bryan Alexander. "Garrison Keillor leaves his Prairie Home after 42 years" — , July 2, 2016
- Betty Lotterman. "A listener's lifetime with A Prairie Home Companion" — , June 27, 2016
- "Garrison Keillor signs off" — , June 26, 2016
- Ellen Gamerman. "Public Radio's Existential Crisis" — , June 16, 2016
- Neal Karlen. "A Prodigal Son Makes His Way Home" — , March 27, 1994