There was a time that there was no Prairie Home Companion show on public radio on Saturday nights...but that was long ago. I mean, Nixon was president when Garrison Keillor, who had been the morning host on Minnesota Public Radio, went to Nashville to write about the Grand Ole Opry for The New Yorker. Mr Keillor got the great idea to produce a radio show that featured music, comedy, and sweet reminiscences of smalltown events that may or may not have ever happened.
If you have heard the show, you know the appeal: singers sing and musicians make music and there are humorous skits and then the big moment comes, when Mr Keillor delivers a monologue called The News From Lake Wobegon. It's a great two hours, but it's coming to an end. Mr Keillor, at 74, is headed to a well-earned retirement, and his successor will be a man who plays the mandolin, Chris Thile. But Thile will only do 13 shows per year so we will hear 39 Keillor re-runs. To be honest, I would rather have leftover filet mignon than a brand-fresh Big Mac.
To be even more honest, my late father was a regular listener to APHC, and I feel that when I am listening nowadays, it's something we still share. I don't know if Dad will care for the show when Chris Thile hosts. Thile has had some exposure on the current show, and he strikes me as lackluster, so we'll have to see. If, during his third show, a huge gust of wind forces Thile to walk off the stage and abandon show business, we'll know why.
The final show will be broadcast from the Hollywood Bowl tomorrow, July 2. In Baltimore, you can hear it from 6- 8 PM on 88.1 FM, WYPR. I know everything comes to an end, but I'm not ready for this end.