Duluth welcomes Prairie Home Companion this Saturday

Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” broadcasts live from the symphony hall at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center this Saturday evening. The show is iconic to public radio, and this broadcast features some great local talent including Duluth’s Trampled by Turtles and the Grand Rapids High School Jazz Ensemble. (My kids could be in that ensemble some day!)

I was honored to be contacted by the show for some background on the Iron Range, which suggests that at least some part of the show will turn its eyes north to my native land. The show’s title is “Here Lies the Stardust” which¬† sounds really, really familiar and exciting. I look forward to listening.

On the topic of down-home radio variety shows, my own Great Northern Radio Show broadcasts its next program April 7 from the Chief Theater in Bemidji. We’re featuring another Duluth bluegrass band Two Many Banjos, a group that has some crossover with Trampled by Turtles. Our show uses a very similar format to Prairie Home, but with a northern Minnesota/Iron Range point of view. I can only imagine how ridiculous that sounds to non-Minnesotans, but some of you know there is a difference.

The Great Northern Radio Show is a flagship program for KAXE/KBXE Northern Community Radio and is set up as a sort of independent alternative on the dial. We’re trying to tweak the format, but we’re obviously inspired by Prairie Home and the long history of live radio and stage variety shows that have come before. Personally, I try to emulate Johnny Carson but friends have informed me that my hosting style is more like that of Kermit the Frog of The Muppet Show than either Carson or Keillor and I will gladly accept that comparison.

This weekend we are all Prairie Home supporters. Tune in to MPR stations or online to listen to the Duluth broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion. I understand that tickets are still available as well.

PHOTO: A Prairie Home Companion

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