Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Prairie Home Companion 2.0

A PHC is a radio show which began in 1974 and is broadcast live on Saturday evenings by public radio in the USA.
It is a mid west based copy of the Grand Ole Opry and has been hosted all that time by the show's creator Garrison Keillor.
It is a mixture of music, comedy, social comment and regular features eg. faux adverts.
I first became aware of the show when I saw the movie of the same name back in 2006 while living in Tucson.
I was immediately hooked. It was quirky, the music nearly always my style and GK's observations on life in general and the mid west in particular had resonance.
We have been lucky enough to have been to the show twice, in 2011 and 2015, at its home at the Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota.
In Australia I have access to it live every Sunday morning our time on the net via either audio or video versions and lately have been able to Chromecast to our TV. I can also listen to it later via podcast.
In early 2015 GK announced he was stepping down and that Chris Thile would be taking over as host post the 2016 summer break.
Garrison Keillor                                          Chris Thile

I initially had my doubts whether the transfer of the reins to Chris would be a success.
He has a completely different personalty which didn't seem to fit in with the vibe of the show.
But when he was a guest on the show we last attended, I changed my mind.
Subsequent guest host appearances confirmed that he was going to be fine.
Now that he is fully in charge and the show has begun its current season, and is a few shows in, reviews are positive.
I will still be listening/watching although I am sure I will miss Guy Noir, Mom, The Lives of the Cowboys (Dusty and Lefty) and News from Lake Wobegon.
The show's format has basically remained the same with a few old faces remaining but the music is different  and the comedy updated and less host centric.
I think there is enough of 'the old' to keep the PHC 'lifers' around and 'the new' should attract a new generation of audience.

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