It’s official: The radio show successor to “A Prairie Home Companion,” which helped shape the world’s view of Minnesota, is leaving St. Paul for a new home in New York City.
The Minnesota Public Radio show, since renamed “Live From Here,” is moving its creative and production teams and will now be based in the Town Hall, a performance space in Manhattan.
American Public Media, MPR’s distribution arm that’s based in St. Paul, noted in its announcement Monday that the show will now be hosted in “one of the country’s creative centers.” The upcoming season marks non-Minnesotan Chris Thile’s fourth at the helm as host and is scheduled to air more than 25 shows.
But the landmark show that Garrison Keillor used to host has been stepping away from its Midwestern roots for some time. It eliminated most of its Minnesota cast last year. Just four episodes of “Live From Here” emanated from the Twin Cities during its third season.
All that really remained was the production office.
Thile, the host of “Live From Here,” was hand-picked as Keillor’s successor in 2016 and lives in New York City.
“This season has been a dream for me and I’m chomping at the bit to build on it,” Thile said in a news release. “Next season, our public radio listeners and livestream viewers will get the best and broadest selection of music and musicians we can possibly present, and they can also expect an expanded range of spoken word content, including poetry, literature, comedy and storytelling.”
MPR cut ties with Keillor after allegations of inappropriate behavior in the workplace surfaced in 2017, which Keillor disputed. Fallout from MPR’s decision included renaming the iconic radio show and its website, with Keillor holding the trademark to “Prairie Home.”
At the show’s peak, the humorist drew 4 million listeners each week.
MPR also recently sold St. Paul’s Fitzgerald Theater, long the home base for “Prairie Home,” to First Avenue, the Minneapolis rock club. The St. Paul theater generally hosted a dozen or so “Prairie Home” broadcasts each season during the Keillor years.
“This is a great move for us as it puts us in the heart of the one of the great hubs of our industry,” Jeffy Hnilicka, the show’s managing director said in a news release. “It means an even better experience for our audiences with more world-class guests, more variety and livestreaming at every show.”
Though an official schedule hasn’t yet been released, it could include a few stops in the Twin Cities, with the show “exploring additional touring dates with its public radio partners.”
“Live From Here” will kick off its next season Sept. 7.