Prairie Home Companion’s 40th Anniversary Special

Updated Wed, Jul 2, 2014 4:29 pm

This Saturday, July 5, will mark the 40th anniversary of A Prairie Home Companion.

To celebrate the event, WOUB Public Media will air a three-hour extended version of the show Saturday evening from 6 to 9 p.m. live from the campus of Macalester College, the site of the original broadcast.

The first show, created by Garrison Keillor, had a studio audience of only 12 people and two of them will be brought back for this 40th anniversary celebration.

 “We intended the show to last for a year, or maybe two, but just as we were about to quit, the show started to draw an audience, fifty, a hundred, two hundred people coming to see it on Saturday night, and we kept going so we could figure out what we were doing right,” Keillor said.

“The formula is simple: a variety of music that appeals, radio actors who can do noir, or horror, or soap, strong writing, a Midwestern ethos, and the thrill of live radio. And a support staff to do the work,” Keillor added. “It isn’t what I planned to be doing for forty years but luckily for me my plans went awry.  It’s a good show.  People have grown up listening to it and now they are middle-aged and still like it.”

This Saturday’s show also will feature many of the same guests who appeared on the first broadcast – including Butch Thompson, Philip Brunelle, Vern Sutton and members of the original “Has Your Family Tried em?” Powdermilk Biscuit Band.

Mountain Stage, usually heard on WOUB FM on Saturday’s from 8 to 10 p.m., will be delayed this week and air from 9 to 11 p.m.
Afropop Worldwide, normally heard at 10 p.m., will be delayed until 11 p.m.

The normal Saturday night schedule will resume on July 12.