Garrison Keillor Retiring: Looking for Replacement

job interview How will the folks in Lake Wobegon ever survive without him? Legendary radio host Garrison Keillor, 68, has told the AARP Bulletin that he plans to retire in 2013, but not before a replacement is found to serve as host of 'A Prairie Home Companion.'

"I am planning to retire in the spring of 2013, but first I have to find my replacement. I'm pushing forward and also I'm in denial. It's an interesting time of life," said Keillor in the exclusive interview. "I sure don't want to make a fool of myself and be singing romantic duets with 25-year-old women when I'm 75. But on the other hand, it's so much fun. And in radio, the lighting is right."

Keillor created his show in 1974 in Minnesota. It is now broadcast on 590 public radio stations across the country and is heard by over 4 million people each week.

Of course, he won't be idle in his retirement. He's said nothing about giving up his poetic interests. He currently reads a poem each morning on the air for 'The Writer's Almanac' and edited a poetry anthology called 'Good Poems: American Places,' which will be published April 10.

And he also told AARP that he's working on a screenplay about a son of Lake Wobegon coming home for a funeral and finding out that, despite his long years of exile in distant cities, he still belongs to these people. If that project gets a green light, it could keep Keillor busy well into his 70s.

Details of how he's going to find his replacement and what exactly he's looking for have not been released, but something tells you he's not going to go for a hot, young Generation Y host in order to appeal to that lucrative demographic

A large part of the appeal of 'A Prairie Home Companion' is its folksy charm. Do you have any suggestions for his replacement? A wise country singer? Perhaps a host from NPR who can sing? Maybe an actor known for playing country rolls like Robert Duval? Or is Keillor completely irreplaceable, and should the show wrap once Keilor leaves? What do you think?

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NPR does not host a "Prairie Home Companion" as suggested by this article's prompt title: American Public Media produces and distributes the program.

American Public Media, and National Public Radio are independent organizations that produce and/or distribute programming to public radio stations nationwide. They vary in structure and principal activities.

American Public Media is the nation's largest owner and operator of public radio stations and a premier producer and distributor of programming. It is responsible for programs such as A Prairie Home Companion.

National Public Radio operates a news department, produces Morning Edition and All Things Considered and other national programs

March 22 2011 at 9:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I think Garrison Keillor is fab. Despite some of the comments, his life changes made a difference in the flow of the show, but they were "natural" ones, ones that happen in a community, even imaginary ones. Charles Kuralt seemed irreplacable on Sunday Morning, but Charles Osgood has been brilliant. Harry Smith and other subs have been great too. I'd love to do Prairie Home Companion, and I'm sure many others would too. I'll keep looking for the opportunity, because it will be there!

March 22 2011 at 8:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Love him or hate him, Garrison Keillor IS the Prairie Home Companion. It will be a sad day when I can no longer hear PHC, but I can't imagine those stories told in a voice other than Keillor's.

March 22 2011 at 4:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I nominate Eddie Murphy's character ( Mr. Robinson's Neighorhood).

March 22 2011 at 4:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've been listening to Keillor for a quarter century now and have enjoyed every moment. Becauses he is so completely identified with Prairie Home Companion, I honestly believe the show should be retired with him.

March 22 2011 at 4:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It's just a very sad day when his retirement is announced. I go way back to the Eddie Cantor, Fred Allen, Red Skelton, Jack Benny, Henry Morgan, Fibber McGee and Mollie, etc. days. None of them was ever replaced, either. Garrison is one of a kind. Hopefully, someone else, young and intelligent,, in a different venue, will come along and fill the gap.

March 22 2011 at 4:13 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

What difference does it make who replaces him. Thanks to the short-sighted GOP jerks in congress, we will never hear the show again! That drop in the bucket saved must make a lot of Tea-partiers thrilled to pieces for their "accomplishment"! I've always been a poor man that could NEVER afford tickets to a major event shown freeon public T.V., or listen to the news and visiting experts on radio--that didn't sound overly "liberal" to me.! It's a good thing I'm a good and decent man, otherwise I could REALLY get off on those "conservative" Limbaugh-types for their short-sighted negativity, because they need some SERIOUS come-uppance.

March 22 2011 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to ajschrod's comment

Red Green

March 22 2011 at 3:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Garrison Keillor is the Mark Twain of today. extremely gifted and prolific writer and consumate story teller. I am sad to hear of his retirement, his "News From Lake Wobegone" is like no other. He brings to life a town and its people, their stories and customs and a simpler life just by the sound of his voice....THAT my friends, is the true magic of radio...even AFTER its "glory days". How cruel the people that judge someone from their outter appearance. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Sad nobody ever taught you right from wrong or how to act appropriately. I celebrate Mr. Keillor for his incomparable contributions to Amercian Literature, Storytelling, Radio, AND Screen. All the best GK!
And no....I seriously can't imagine anyone else doing it. Yes, there are some very talented people out there who might be able to do something creative, and still have a requisite gentleness about Steve Martin. But I think it can't be seen as someone trying to replace Garrison would just be someone and something that is different added to the PHC show. Kudos to the entire cast of talent that has been a part of this since day one!!!! Thank you for all the smiles...the best gift you can give!!!!!

March 22 2011 at 3:14 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Lisa may be an award-winning journalist but country "rolls" earns her the Medill j-school F and makes me wonder if anyone edits this stuff....Keillor is spelled incorrectly in the last graf as well.

March 22 2011 at 3:11 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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