Could You Replace Garrison Keillor?

Posted on May 16, 2011


Back in March Garrison Keillor announced his plans to step down as the host of “A Prairie Home Companion” in the spring of 2013; 39 years after he started the show.

In the meantime he is looking for a replacement host. Think you can do the job?

Look at this semi-facetious job description from a New York Times article about Keillor’s departure:

Wanted: Host for a two-hour live public radio show Saturday nights, from the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. Qualifications: Brilliant writer; eclectic musical tastes with a fondness for traditional Protestant hymns and patriotic songs; knack for poking fun at Midwesterners without offending them. Ability to charm four million listeners unhappy to see the present occupant go a plus.

Replacing a legend like Garrison Keillor is never easy. Frankly your career will probably be better if you don’t try. 

But notice the first qualification required for the job; brilliant writer. In the case of Keillor it means writing actual scripts. In the case of someone like Howard Stern it could mean great show prep including being the conductor of the intricate soap opera played out by the show’s cast. If it were an ad about Rush Limbaugh that could be interpreted as a commitment to research that gets boiled down into content.

The true legends of radio make it sound so easy; like they just walk in to the studio, turn on the mic and away they go.  The fact is the best hosts all work very hard behind the scenes at making their show great.

Do you?