A Prairie Home Companion

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A Prairie Home Companion is a live radio variety show created and hosted by Garrison Keillor. The show runs on Saturdays from 5 to 7 p.m. Central Time, and usually originates from the Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul, Minnesota, although it is frequently taken on the road. A Prairie Home Companion is known for its musical guests, especially folk and traditional musicians, tongue-in-cheek radio drama, and Keillor's storytelling segment, "News from Lake Wobegon".

It is produced by Prairie Home Productions and distributed by American Public Media, and is most often heard on public radio stations in the United States. The show has a long history, existing in a similar form as far back as 1974, and borrowing the name from a radio program in existence in 1969. It was named after the Prairie Home Cemetery in Moorhead, Minnesota, next to Concordia College.[1]

The radio program inspired a 2006 film of the same name, directed by Robert Altman and featuring Keillor, Lily Tomlin, Meryl Streep, Lindsay Lohan, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Kline, John C. Reilly, and Woody Harrelson.

Contents

History

The earliest radio program to have this name bears little resemblance to what is currently heard on Saturday evenings. A Prairie Home Companion was originally a morning show running from 6 to 9 a.m. on Minnesota Public Radio.

After researching the Grand Ole Opry for an article, Keillor became interested in doing a variety show on the radio. On July 6, 1974, the first live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion took place. That show was broadcast from St. Paul in the Janet Wallace Auditorium of Macalester College. Twelve audience members turned out, mostly children. The second episode featured the first performance on the show by Butch Thompson, who became house pianist. Thompson stayed with the program until 1986, and still frequently performs on the show.

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