Chris Thile Transitioning to Full-Time Host of A Prairie Home Companion
By Bradley Klein
June 28, 2015 - 9:00 am
Chris Thile will transition to full-time host of A Prairie Home Companion
Cincinnati, Ohio — A mandolin player is about to assume one of the highest profile positions in public radio.
Garrison Keillor, long-time host and creator of the public radio show A Prairie Home Companion has hinted broadly in recent years that he was nearing the end of his tenure as host. But recently in a press interview and during a taping of the show, he has indicated that Chris Thile will be the stepping into that role, after serving as guest host on two occasions earlier this year.
Mandolin Cafe correspondent Bradley Klein confirmed the rumors, meeting with Thile after Saturday's Punch Brothers show in Cincinnati, Ohio.
"Everything Garrison said is true, and I'm really excited," said Thile.
Keillor is expected to retain an active role in the coming season and beyond, juggling the jobs of host, co-host, writer, and executive producer, over a lengthy transition.
Thile indicated tremendous respect for the program Garrison has built, and for its large and loyal audience.
He says that aspects of the show will evolve but that it will retain its important role in nurturing up-and-coming musicians.
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I don't think so. The website says: A Prairie Home Companion is produced by Prairie Home Productions, and distributed nationwide by American Public Media. The program is underwritten by Ford.
Distributed to NPR, not produced by it, or an affiliate. That's what I've got, so far.
Hiya Clement - I believe he currently lives in Portland, OR as his wife (actress) has a TV series (Grimm) filmed there...
Hey bob-a-ree-bob! )
You know, as much as I'm a bit ashamed to admit it, I haven't listened to the show in years. :redface: Car Talk, either. That was my Saturday morning one-two punch for years, though. No, wait, wait, that's not right. It was Car Talk, followed by Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. PHC was/is on Sundays.
Anyway, the signal for the Miami station that carried these fine shows was/is weak, and there was/is a local Christian radio station at the same frequency that played havoc with my listening. I used to drive to the beach where the reception is better (so is the view) and spend a pleasant couple of hours enjoying the inspired silliness, fascinating information, absorbing dramas, and fine music these shows brought into this uncultured backwater. Somewhere along the line these became available via online streaming, and also available anytime. This led to me getting out of the habit of this ritual, and ultimately to the loss of interest. Also, yard sales here are on Saturday mornings, at the same time. Now this doesn't mean I don't love these shows, and support them in my own lackadaisical way, but it does mean I haven't been keeping up. I wish them well all the same. I have my doubts as to whether Chris Thile will able to be successful as the host - he has rather big shoes to fill, and during his forty years at it, Garrison Keilor and PHC have become virtually synonymous - but I wish him well, as I do in all his endeavors.
Congrats Chris! Now use your powers to get the CBC to replace Vinyl Cafe with APHC
A more interesting question for me is what will this do to the popular conception of the mandolin. The show is much much more popular than the mandolin, and who ever was going to take its helm is destine to become a figure in the entertainment world. Chris will become much more of a household name than he could through mandolinning. And the mandolin will become much more of a recognized item because of it.
Very interesting developments are likely in our corner of the universe.
I will miss Keillor. A lot. I am in fact sad to see him go. But it is exciting to see what will happen next.
On the contrary! I suspect that nothing would make the foundation people happier than if Chris were able to extend the franchise of one of the most important showcases of 'less well-known' musicians in the American media landscape.
The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. There are three criteria for selection of Fellows: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.
The MacArthur Fellows Program is intended to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations. In keeping with this purpose, the Foundation awards fellowships directly to individuals rather than through institutions. Recipients may be writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, entrepreneurs, or those in other fields, with or without institutional affiliations. They may use their fellowship to advance their expertise, engage in bold new work, or, if they wish, to change fields or alter the direction of their careers.
Although nominees are reviewed for their achievements, the fellowship is not a reward for past accomplishment, but rather an investment in a person's originality, insight, and potential. Indeed, the purpose of the MacArthur Fellows Program is to enable recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society.
The Foundation does not require or expect specific products or reports from MacArthur Fellows, and does not evaluate recipients' creativity during the term of the fellowship. The MacArthur Fellowship is a "no strings attached" award in support of people, not projects. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $625,000 to the recipient, paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years.
And I think such a show is timely.
In an earlier thread I mentioned my fantasy of a Chris Thile radio show. But this is way easier for Chris. The popular culture has already made room for PHC, given it a place in the landscape, and the world will be listening to see what Chris does with it.
Exciting times ahead.
I didn't know the details of the fellowship, but I figured it was something like this.
Could be wonderful!
The artist's dressing rooms for PHC were in the basement, down an extraordinarily steep flight of stairs. As John was in an extremely weakened condition, I asked if Mr. Keillor might share his dressing room with him as it was the only one on the same level as the stage. This request was refused and it was painful for me to watch one of America's great musical geniuses struggle up and down those stairs.
I know that Chris will treat his guests better than that and it will be a wonderful thing for the mandolin and music in general to have such an exceptional musician host this popular show.
Tip of the iceberg as far as GK stories go...
Seems to be not cool to go there...
Congrats to Chris, and hopes that he'll fire the James Michenor impersonator who has been going by the name of Sara Bellum for all these years...scheech.
Whoa whoa whoa whoa...
Can't wait to see how this plays out.
A bit of caution for those of us celebrating Chris' ascension ..... it may be short. GK is a micro managing control freak who is "transitioning" out of his role and will have control over who does what for a time after Chris or whoever takes over GK's place in the broadcast. As intelligent and as talented as Thile is he may get to the point of "Who needs this ####!" Perhaps quickly.
There I said it!
I'm thrilled for the show and Chris. I hope Garrison has a fulfilling retirement.
"And in Chris Thile, we've found a successor who has it all: brilliance, enthusiasm, love of radio, and a good heart."
I know a ton more general public people who know of or heard of Claire Coffee than who know Chris. Or which instrument is a mandolin. But I think that will change.
Looking forward to show #1 !