Live Backstage Chat
October 30, 1999

MODERATOR: Bagpipe tuneup - eeek!

HOST: Hi everybody, welcome to our live online backstage chat for a Prairie Home Companion.

MODERATOR: [15 minutes to warmup]

HOST: Tom Keith just walked by with some crazy vampire teeth.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Who's PHC, do you mind me asking?

HOST: PHC is A Prairie Home Companion, the National Public Radio variety program hosted by Garrison Keillor. Jokes, skits, musical guests, the works! Tonight's guests are the Battlefield Band - an eclectic scottish bagpipe band and classical violinist Gil Shaham, with a few non-classical surprises. To find out about the show, and to listen LIVE online when it starts at 6pm ET, go to www.prairiehome.org

AUDIENCE QUESTION: When does the action start?

HOST: The show starts at 6 pm ET - the cast is just about to start their warmup, which they do at 5:45. Garrison does a sample monologue, they run through a song or two, etc. Tonight they've got lots of surprises planned - it's a halloween special. After the show starts, cast members stop by backstage in between their skits. Tom Keith, Sue Scott, Tim Russell, band members, and show staff all usually chat with us.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: How do you like tapeing out of MN?

HOST: It's nice, actually - PHC is a big, national production, but the atmosphere is a lot more laid back.

MODERATOR: [applause onstage - Garrison Keillor is starting the warmup]

MODERATOR: [Garrison Keillor is singing a little song for the warmup]

HOST: You can listen live online, view live images from the show and this week there'll be some very interesting shots, and find out more about the show.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Any hope that Garrison just could chat with us?

HOST: Garrison's generally the busiest person in the building during the show so it's kind of tough to get him back here, but we're always trying.

HOST: Garrison's doing a warm-up tune now, rhapsodizing about Halloween.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: I read a Dave Barry article saying that Garrison Keillor rarely laughs - is that true?

MODERATOR: I've frequently seen him laugh, myself. He finds a lot of amusement in the world.

MODERATOR: [applause as the warmup song wraps up. People are striding back and forth backstage here, Rich Dworsky and the Guy's All-Star Shoe Band is doing a little warmup now.]

HOST: If you don't know about Prairie Home Companion, go to our Web site, www.prairiehome.org, and listen to it LIVE online - it starts in about 4 minutes.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: What is your favorite place in Minnesota?

MODERATOR: My favorite place is Mille Lacs Lake where my family has a cabin.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Is it possible to download audio copies of the show?

HOST: No, you can't download them to save to your computer, but you can listen to them on our web site, www.prairiehome.org We archive all past shows, plus you can listen to the live show right now.

MODERATOR: Rumor is that Tim Russell is going to sing tonight.

MODERATOR: [ah, the audio logo - the show begins!]

HOST: Are people listening to the show right now?

HOST: David O'Neill, the show's Production Assistant is with us now.

DAVID O'NEILL, PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: Happy Halloween everyone! We've got a great show tonight.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: How did you think of the duck tape bits?

DAVID: Out of necessity - things kept falling apart around here and we were inspired!

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Hey man, what's up? What are you going to do this Halloween?

DAVID: We've got a ton of ghouls and werewolves, vampires and other scary folks dropping by tonight. Be sure to tune into the Netcast to see some of our special effects tonight.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Is there a station in SoCal where I can listen to the show?

HOST: You can find station listings for the entire country, and the times they air the show, at www.prairiehome.org

AUDIENCE QUESTION: How does it fell to be the center of attention, or to be asked to chat with people?

DAVID: It's overwhelming. Actually it's a lot of fun to see what folks are thinking about the show as it goes live.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Is the show live today?

DAVID: Yes, tune into your local public radio station right now and hear all the fun.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Where's Mister Rogers? I thought they had a guy talking like Mister Rogers.

DAVID: I think that Mr Rogers is getting ready for Halloween and so he won't be with us tonight. But Tim Russell is here tonight doing a host of voices, including a very scary bat.

MODERATOR: We're chatting backstage with David O'Neill, Production Assistant. He's the first of our guests. The show is live right now. They're interviewing a bat.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: How tall is Garrison?

DAVID: Garrison is the tallest humorist in the United States.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: I am just starting dinner...will there be a story from Lake Woebegon tonight?

DAVID: Absolutely, a great tale from the little town that time forgot.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: The bat sounds like Wally Cox.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Does Garrison write his own material?

DAVID: Yes Garrison writes the shows scripts and the show's monologue.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Can we pick up Prairie Home Companion off computer?

HOST: You can listen to the show online right now at www.prairiehome.org

DAVID: Through a satellite off the roof of the Fitzgerald Theater in St Paul.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: I loved the Jesse bits. Do you care that he is dissing you like every other group in MN? (you know what I mean if you live in MN)

DAVID: The Govenor has proven to be a great source of material for not only APHC but everyone in the state.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Does he read the stories as he is telling them on the air?

DAVID: Garrison memorizes the show's monologue. The others scripts are read from stage by the actors.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Where is the show being produced right now?

HOST: It's live from Saint Paul, Minnesota - we're downtown in the Fitzgerald Theater.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Is PHC broadcast outside the US?

DAVID: Yes, it's carried on the American One and you can also both listen and watch the broadcasts via our web site.

HOST: Don't forget, you can listen online and view live images from the show while you're chatting, right now at www.prairiehome.org

AUDIENCE QUESTION: How much are tickets for the show?

HOST: They vary in price, but you can get rush tickets for $10 the day of the show and sit onstage!

AUDIENCE QUESTION: I do wonder, I've tried buying tix for the show outside of Minnesota for three years. Always sold out. Any hints?

HOST: Tickets go on sale to Minnesota Public Radio members one week before the general public, join MPR and you'll be all set.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: When is the next comedy/joke night?

DAVID: Our annual joke show will fall on April 1st this year - the show will be live from New York.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Does Garrison act like he does on the radio or is it just an act on the radio?

DAVID: He is pretty much the same wherever he is.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Does the sound effects man get a chance to practice his sounds or does he "shoot from the hip?"

MODERATOR: [Gil Shaham is performing now. I think there's supposed to be a ghost appearance following his performance...]

DAVID: Tom Keith, our sound effects man, does do some rehersing prior to the show, but some if it's on run.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: How does the show get so many people to get on it?

DAVID:: Listeners and chatters like you!

AUDIENCE QUESTION: About how many times does everyone practice before the show?

DAVID: The Guy's All Star Shoe band, our house band, gets together Friday night and then again Saturday mid-morning. Our special guests fly in town either Friday night or Saturday morning and rehearse Saturday afternoon.

HOST: If you just joined us, we're chatting with David, the Prairie Home Companion Production Assistant.

HOST: David is leaving now, Michael Danforth, Assistant Producer, is joining us now.

MICHAEL DANFORTH, ASSISTANT PRODUCER Hi...are there any burning questions you want answered?

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Are we talking to Garrison Keillor himself?

MICHAEL: No. I'm shorter than Garrison.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: What are some of your favorite radio programs?

MICHAEL: My favorite radio program is Morning Becomes Eclectic on KCRW in Santa Monica, CA. I also like This American Life.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: What does an Assistant Producer do exactly, Michael?

MICHAEL: I do a lot of comedy research - searching for and finding little humorous bits. I also prepare and edit all the scripts.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Do the All Start Show Band play somewhere for real?

MICHAEL: No.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Do you have any plans to bring the show up the East Coast to Boston or Providence?

AUDIENCE QUESTION: What about shows in NYC?

MICHAEL: We'll be in NYC in a few weeks at Town Hall. You can find tour and ticket info on the PHC web site, www.prairiehome.org. We'll be doing a live broadcast from Town Hall on Christmas day.

MODERATOR: [violin has given way to powdermilk biscuit bit - with audience clap-along]

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Who is this Guy?

MICHAEL:: He is the Guy behind Guy's Shoes, a cobbler of sorts.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: What bands are playing?

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Battlefield Band...wow...tell them hello from Austin.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Is the show only radio? Didn't it used to be on television?

MICHAEL: The show did a bunch of episodes for Disney that were broadcast on TV.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: When will Greg Brown be on the show next?

MICHAEL: Greg Brown will be on the show in either January or February. Check out the site for complete info.

HOST: Happening on the show now is www.larrydotcom.com

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Will the perfect guy's name be Mike?

MICHAEL: It would seem that there are many Mikes in the world today... But is it perfect? I don't think so. I prefer to be called Nigel.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: If you were stuck on a desert island with only one food to eat what would it be?

MICHAEL:: That's a hard question...but probably not those peanut butter kisses that come in the orange and black wrappers.

HOST: There's Halloween Oreos out too, with orange filling - another bad choice.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: How does Tom Keith make those crazy noises?

MICHAEL: Two words: Baked beans.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Who chooses the music for the show?

MICHAEL: Stevie Beck does all the booking, but of course Garrison Keillor has the final say.

HOST: Joining us now is Andrea Murray, the Company Manager.

ANDREA MURRAY, COMPANY MANAGER: Hey all.

AUDIENCE QUESTIONS: Where will you be touring soon?

ANDREA: We'll be visiting Pasadena and Redding, California, in May. No plans this year for Texas, Maine, Illinois or South Dakota. I certainly hope we get to the UK sometime soon. It's one of my favorite places.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: How crazy are the touring prepartions?

ANDREA: It depends on the locale and venue. If it's a city that's difficult to get to, the flight arrangements can be a nightmare. It's also difficult sometimes to get people to decide when they want to travel.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Whose idea was it to have this internet chat?

HOST: It was developed by MInnesota Public Radio's New Media division, with lots of help from the show staff and crew!

AUDIENCE QUESTION: What is the number of staff to produce the show?

ANDREA: There are ten full-time staff, plus about 5 or so who work on a more limited basis.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: When was Praire Home Companion started? and who is the founder?

ANDREA: The first show was on July 6, 1974, and was founded by Mr. Garrison Keillor, of course.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Any jobs open now?

MODERATOR: YES! There's a Web producer job open. You too could be backstage doing chats, working on the Web site, helping Larry with larrydotcom.com.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Is Alistair back with Battlefield Band yet? (guitarist, vocals)

ANDREA: He's not with the band now and I don't know that he has any plans to come back. As far as I know, Davy Steele is their guy now.

HOST: If you're not listening online right now, you're missing a great band - the Battlefield Band is outstanding! Open up another browser at www.prairiehome.org

AUDIENCE QUESTION: When was the battlefield band formed?

MODERATOR: The crowd's going wild for the Battlefield Band!

ANDREA: I'm not an expert on the group, but I know it was about 30 years ago in Glasgow.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: What do you like most about your job?

ANDREA: At the end of the show on Saturday, I like the feeling of knowing that the completion of all my various tasks has resulted in a good show.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Andrea, about the job position on the Web site will this require being located in the Twin Cities metro or could it be a telecomuting position?

MODERATOR: The job requires working in downtown St. Paul. A lovely corner of the world!

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Are archive tapes/CDs available of past shows?

HOST: Not of entire shows, but you can get compilations of Garrison Keillor's monologues. The catalog is online at www.prairiehome.org

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Where is PHC filmed?

MODERATOR:: Prairie Home is a live radio program, broadcast every Sat. night from downtown St. Paul.

ANDREA: PHC is not filmed. We're a radio show. We broadcast from the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, MN.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Is there any serious musicians in the place?

ANDREA: Well, that depends on your definition of "serious." We have several musicians who play classical music, and some who do more jazz. They're all professionals and very good at what they do.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Will Mr. Keillor be joining us?

HOST: He's kind of busy right now, being onstage and all, but we're always hopeful that he'll stop by.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Who's Tim Russell?

ANDREA:: He's an actor who does many of the voices in our scripts. He also has a radio show on WCCO radio.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Can you come and watch it live? Never been to the Fitzgerald Theatre...but I have many books, tapes of Garrison Keillor's.

ANDREA:: Yes, by all means. We sell tickets to all of our shows. However, they sell quickly, so we also have rush tickets available day of show. And now I turn the keyboard over to our lovely and talented marketing director, Tiffany Hanssen.

TIFFANY HANSSEN, MARKETING DIRECTOR: Hello!

AUDIENCE QUESTION: I was wondering what it is like to work with Garrison Keillor.

TIFFANY: It is fantastic. He is truly a genius and we all marvel at his abiity to work nonstop!

AUDIENCE QUESTION: If I was interested in getting into radio, what would you suggest - I love Scandinavian dry humor.

TIFFANY: Well, the funny thing is that there are very few people that I know in radio who got their degree in communications. I, for example, have a graduate degree in French. If you're interested in radio, I would go volunteer at your local radio station and see how it goes from there.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Then I'm heading in the right direction.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Tiffany, what do you do as Marketing Director?

TIFFANY: I have a lot of things that I'm responsible for. I am responsible for promotions, public relations, media, marketing,station relations, and whole bunch more stuff.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Is there really a Lake Wobegon?

TIFFANY: Yes there is. It is in Mist County, MN. Just north of the Twin Cities.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Yeah, Mist County is the county where one would fine the city called Brigadoon as well.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: How much of each show is improvised?

TIFFANY: Very little is what I would call "improvised." There is a lot of the show that gets shuffled around once things get rolling.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: How does Garrison continually come up with new material? Is it a team effort or does he think of most of it himself?

TIFFANY: He is mostly responsible for the content of The News From Lake Wobegon, however we have quite a few people on staff who do research. There are some folks who do comedy research, some who research music, and we're always just throwing ideas out.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Out of all the special guests that have been on who is your favorite?

TIFFANY: I would say, personally, that I enjoyed Emmylou Harris. She is an extraordinary musician and I love her music. I am constantly amazed by the caliber of musicians that we have on our program, though. Stevie Beck, our associate producer, has a knack for finding and attracting people to our show that may not be that well known to the general public, but who are fantastic artists.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Tiffany do you like your job, and if you do, why?

TIFFANY: I love my job. I suppose I like it most because there is a lot of variety. Also I suppose because we all have input in this great radio show. There is nothing better than 5 o'clock on a Saturday night.

HOST: Are people out there listening to the Battlefield Band right now? You can listen to the show online at www.prairiehome.org

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Is Prairie Home Companion like the old timey radio shows?

TIFFANY: A little bit. It is a variety program that was really conceptually based on The Grand Ole Opry.

HOST: The Battlefield Band is here! They'll answer your questions - ask now!

JOHN, BATTLEFIELD BAND: Hey I'm John from the Battlefield Band.

AUDIENCE QUESITON: Battlefield Band, I will be at your Austin, TX, show and can't wait for another incredible Cactus Cafe show!

JOHN, BATTLEFIELD BAND: We love Austin Texas...we'll see you there.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Which is the favorite of your CDs that you have released?

JOHN, BATTLEFIELD BAND: All of them...especially my solo album!... I'm only joking.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Why are you called Battlefield?

JOHN, BATTLEFIELD BAND: We couldn't think of any other name! It's an area in Glasgow.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Why is New Year's called Hogmany?

HOST: Davy from the Battlefield Band is answering your questions now!

MODERATOR: We're chatting live with the Battlefield Band - they just came off stage.

DAVY, BATTLEFIELD BAND: Hi its Davy here. Hogmanay is an an ancient Pagan festival to celebrate the turning of the year.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Is this band your sole occupation?

DAVY, BATTLEFIELD BAND: The band is our sole occupation and its probably the best job in the world, I mean we get to do things like PHC, don't we?

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Are any of the Battlefield Band members pagan?

DAVY, BATTLEFIELD BAND: Mike's Jewish, is that close enough?

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Which one of you is the Glaswegian?

ALAN, BATTLEFIELD BAND: I'm the Glaswegian.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: What music do you play?

ALAN, BATTLEFIELD BAND: Scottish music old and new!

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Any plans to tour Australia?

ALAN, BATTLEFIELD BAND: There are tentative plans to visit Australia next June.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: How many albums have you released?

ALAN, BATTLEFIELD BAND: Can't count that high.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Which one of you plays the pipes?

MIKE, BATTLEFIELD BAND: It is I , Mike, the one with the disproportionately large ....beard.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: What kind of instruments do you play?

MIKE, BATTLEFIELD BAND: Lots.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Do you have a Web site to find out your tour schedule?

HOST: The Battlefield Band's Web site is www.battlefieldband.uk.co.

MIKE, BATTLEFIELD BAND: We also have a fan page; just find the link on the Web site.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Is the fiddle player still that very young man? We were all astounded 2 years ago in Austin when they played here.

MIKE, BATTLEFIELD BAND: Yes but he's seems to get older every year.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Who influenced your musical stylings?

MIKE, BATTLEFIELD BAND: Whiskey. Preferably single malt and from Islay.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: How much does a good set of pipes cost?

MIKE, BATTLEFIELD BAND: About $3,500.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: How do you decide where to go when you go on the road?

ALAN, BATTLEFIELD BAND: We wait for the offer of money see if they will still allow us in and go for it.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: What is it like performing for a radio show - is there any difference?

ALAN, BATTLEFIELD BAND: We have to not do mime.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: How many times have you been on the show?

ALAN, BATTLEFIELD BAND: 3569 1/2. I actually don't know but I've done three.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Can PHC be heard in Scotland?

BATTLEFIELD BAND: Only if its very quiet and you listen very carefully.

MODERATOR: We're saying goodbye to the Battlefield Band - comin' up is Tom Keith... sound effects guy.

HOST: Thanks very much to the Battlefield Band guys!

DAVY, BATTLEFIELD BAND: BYE BYE from the Battlefield - keep listening.

MODERATOR: [Pat Donohue is singing right now - One Kind Favor.]

HOST: Tom Keith, the PHC soundman, is now joining us. Any question for tom, ask now!

TOM KEITH: Hi everybody.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Why don't sound guys get more respect?

TOM: We are there just to enhance the sketches and let the true actors get all of the glory and the wierdos that stalk them.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Hi Tom how much area do you have to make all the sound effects?

TOM: I have about an area of 8' X 8' that has a table and my sound effects door.

MIKE DANFORTH: He does a terrific electric guitar sound, but that is it, and he thinks he should be on the show - with one effect, don't make me laugh.

TOM:: That was a response by one of the staff that is jealous of my talent.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Have you ever messed up and put the wrong sound in where it was not suppose to be?

TOM: No, everyone else was wrong.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: What kinds of things do you use for sound effects? What's the wierdest thing you have used?

TOM: I use a number of props that they used in the old days. Like shoes and coconut shell halves and a gravel box for outside walking sounds and wax paper for the sound of a fire etc. The marching feet effect is strange and difficult to explain so I won't. To some they are all weird.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: What has been your favorite sketch or sound effects assignment?

TOM: The last one.

MODERATOR: [Garrison Keillor is performing this week's "the news from lake wobegon" - so the rest of the cast has a break!]

AUDIENCE QUESTION: In this age of digital sound and synthesized FX, is there still room for the old fashioned sound man who made FX with physical objects?

TOM: There isn't a lot of demand for them in radio but the film industry still uses them and they are called Foley artists.

HOST: Tim Russell will be joining us in a minute - ask him questions now! (He does all the great voices on the show, including Gov.Ventura)

TIM RUSSELL: Hi this is Tim. I even type in different voices.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: What do you do while Mr. Keillor is telling his stroies?

TIM: We normally listen with rapt attention, but in deference to you tonight we're taking a little break.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: What was your favorite voice that you have done?

TIM: I like Edith Bunker a lot, but she may have been before your time.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Mr. Russell - so glad you came back to WCCO!

TIM: Thank you.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: What is the most difficult voice you've done on the show? and why?

MODERATOR: [Garrison Keillor is continuing the monologue on the nearby stage - the audience is at rapt attention...]

TIM: All the current politicians running for the presidency sound very bland , that will be a challenge, let's pull for Ross and Jesse.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Who was your role model when you were a child?

TIM: Garrison Keillor of course, but also Rich Little ( or was it Little Richard, or maybe Poor Richard?).

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Tim, has Ventura or his familiars ever contacted you about your spoof?

TIM: I had him on my local radio show to plug his book, and he said, " I hear you do an impression of me." I said, "I'm just a channeler, I hear voices . . . you better stand back."

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Are you guyz always so laid back?

TIM: ZZZZZZZZ

AUDIENCE QUESTION: What does the cast and crew do after the show?

TIM: We go to the locker room and break open champagne after telling everyone we're going to Disney World. The crew goes out among the seats looking for spare change.

HOST: If you just joined us, we're chatting with Tim Russell, who does the voices for A Prairie Home Companion.

HOST: Tim has to go back onstage now, we're joined by Alan Frechtman, who is the show's Assistant Stage Manager and visual comedy consultant (radio only) Questions about how the show is staged? Ask Alan now!

AUDIENCE QUESTION: So do you have a degree to do this?

ALAN: I have a degree in Sanitational Engineering but theater was calling my name.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: How big is a typical audience for one of your shows?

ALAN: The average audience member is about 5'8" and about 189 lbs.

HOST: (seriously, the Fitzgerald Theater in St, Paul, where the show usually is, holds about 1000)(when the show is on the road, there have been as many as 8300!)

AUDIENCE QUESTION: How is staging an "on stage" radio show different from other "on stage" shows?

ALAN: You have to set up the acts while another one is performing and this is real important, never rip the microphone accidently out of the host's hand while he is speaking, which I have done.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Do people dress up for the sketches?

ALAN: It just so happens today is our Halloween show where some of us are dressed in costume.

ALAN: I'm one of the Monback Bros.

MODERATOR: Who are Monback Bros?

ALAN: They are a fake sponsor that are terrible movers and always wreck thier cargo.

HOST: The show is about to end now, so Alan had to run off. We've got 10 minutes left, be sure to tune in to www.prairiehome.org to catch the last bit of the show.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: So ya'll film in front of a live audience, then?

HOST: We're radio, so we don't film, but it's recorded in front of a live audience. Makes for great spontaneity.

HOST: To see the great costumes everyone's wearing view the live netcast at www.prairiehome.org. The crew will be coming out for a bow at the end of the show.

MIKE: Hey, It's Mike again. I'm the show's Assistant Producer, if you don't remember.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Is there a recent photo of Garrison Keillor on the web site? We need to know what he looks like (I'm sure he is a handsome devil)

MIKE: David O'Neill is here too.

HOST: There are live pictures of Garrison right now - just view the netcast at our site.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Is everyone on the show really above average?

MIKE: There are certain members of the staff that are above average. It goes against our Midwestern sensibility to name names.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Do ya'll have to work long hours, or is your work schedule pretty regulated?

MIKE: I try and stay as regular as possible.

DAVID: A diet rich in bran and roughage helps.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Is there anything lost or gained in doing a live stage show for broadcast as opposed to doing a pure radio show with no audience?

DAVID: There's a huge advantage in doing the show in front of a live audience. They really add a lot.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Do you all enjoy traveling and doing a live show each week?

DAVID: Yes, it's great to do the show from St Paul, but we really enjoy touring all over the country and meeting everyone that can't come to St Paul.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Who is the woman doing the skits?

MODERATOR: [there's supposed to be a big fog 'event' at the end of the show]

HOST: Sue Scott does the female voices.

HOST: David had to run.

MODERATOR: Folks are flying around as the show winds up.

DAN: Dan Z., utility guy here now.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Seems like the musical acts are probably the most difficult to set up. Are they?

DAN: Some of them are fairly easy, but some take the effort of two or three stage hands working quickly in a short period of time.

HOST: Thanks everybody for coming.

DAN: Bye folks; thanks for coming!

HOST: We're wrapping up now, you asked some great questions! Join us at the same time next week for another live backstage chat, and in the meantime, for realaudio archives of this week's and past shows, chat transcipts, online features, and more go to our web site at www.prairiehome.org. Have a great Halloween - we'll see you next week!

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

Available now»

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