Fans of public radio’s "A Prairie Home Companion" -- There’s some breaking news from Lake Wobegon.
Creator and host Garrison Keillor says next season will be his last. Except for a hiatus of a few years in the late 1980s, Keillor has stood center stage week after week for more than four decades. He says he’s ready to turn his attention to other creative projects.
"I might be able to do the show another 10 years," Keillor told WFYI Wednesday. "But there are other things that I need to do, and the show is sort of a luxury. To be able to stand out on stage and sing duets and tell stories and tell jokes is really kind of a luxurious way of life for an English major. I only wanted to ever be a writer and I’ve been putting that off now for 40-some years."
Keillor said that mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile – who plays with groups ranging from the stringband-inspired, genre-bending Punch Brothers to symphony orchestras – will succeed him as host of the show, returning it to its roots as a musical variety show. Thile has been an occasional guest host on "Prairie Home."
"The healthiest thing for the show is for it to go back to where it started -- a live musical show and then develop its own comedic style. I’m 72, almost 73, and my idea of comedy is dated, and these new people coming in need to develop their own style, and I’m there to encourage them to do that," Keillor said.
Has he broken the news to the people of Lake Wobegon?
Keillor said he’ll continue to do the Writer’s Almanac, which airs weekday mornings on WFYI. He’ll also be bringing his “America the Beautiful” show to the Indiana State Fair on Wednesday, August 12.
American Public Media, which distributes the program, told WFYI and other stations Wednesday that it "supports Garrison's decision and are working closely with him and the team on what's next."
WFYI airs "A Prairie Home Companion" on 90.1 FM each Saturday at 6 p.m.