We begin a new chapter this fall as musician Chris Thile takes over for Garrison Keillor as the new host of A Prairie Home Companion, bringing a fresh approach to an audience favorite. Beginning on October 15, 2016, Thile will host a 30-week season, including live broadcasts, produced shows and repeats on public radio stations nationwide.
The only live music and variety show aired nationwide today, A Prairie Home Companion is a Saturday night staple for radio audiences everywhere. For 42 years, the program has built a large and loyal audience, with nearly 3.5 million fans tuning in to enjoy the show each week.
The show will continue to be broadcast live on Saturday nights from the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, as well from venues across the country, including The Town Hall in New York, and will showcase unparalleled guests - Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Yo-Yo Ma, and Edgar Meyer - as well as new digital content. The next version of A Prairie Home Companion is expected to draw new, younger audiences while still engaging longtime fans. Each of the new live shows will feature a mix of well-known and up-and-coming musicians, humor with sketch comedy and spoken word, plus an original ‘Song of the Week’ composed by Thile.
Last summer, Keillor announced that Thile was his choice to take the reins as host. He added in an interview that selecting Thile as host was “the best idea I’ve had since Powdermilk Biscuits.”
“Garrison created a template that I think is immortal. It doesn’t feel like any kind of constraint. It’s like a license. I feel like I have my license to go and make some good radio. … The prospect of getting to make things for people on a weekly basis … is beyond compare. It’s what I love to do.” — Chris Thile in an interview with the AP [Goodbye, Lake Wobegon: ‘Prairie Home’ is getting a new host]
“The variety show in general is such a good idea — to have all of these various forms of entertainment swirling around each other, kind of propping each other up. Music is so much more poignant and impactful after you’ve had a big old belly laugh, and things are funnier after you’ve made it through some sort of three- or four-minute emotional musical roller-coaster.” — Chris Thile in an interview with WBEZ [Chris Thile Is Your New Prairie Home Companion]