This time he really, really, REALLY means it.

Right?

We've gotten used to Garrison Keillor stepping up the edge of the retirement ciff, only to back pedal at the last minute. But Monday. he seemed closer than ever to making the leap.

He told the Associated Press that this time, he's certain.

As we reported earlier, Garrison, 73 next month, has named mandolin player Chris Thile as his replacement and the two of them will co-host at least two shows next season, Jan. 23 in San Diego and April 16 in New York.

"Really, it's no big deal. I'm getting old. It's an old story," Keillor told us in an e-mail. "We last longer in radio because you can't see the bags under our eyes."

Keillor's recent AP interview did offer up a few choice details: His final show as host will be next July with Thile taking over officialy in September 2016. Keillor will remain as an executive producer and the show will continue to have a Midwestern feel. (No word yet on whether that means West Coaster Thile will make a move). And we'll have to say goodbye to such staples as Guy Noir and Dusty & Lefty.

Or will we?

As usual, Keillor fans are hoping that the Twin Cities legend will (once again) have a change of heart.

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