January 29, 2011
Fitzgerald Theater, St. Paul, MN
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Erica

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GK: It's a pleasure to welcome Erica Rhodes back to our show. Erica flew in from L.A. to talk to our lawyer Jack Sanders about a contract to take over hosting this show next season.

ER: Right.

GK: It's great to have you. And I think its wonderful that you and I can get along so well, you the hot young replacement host, me the old tired guy getting dumped down the compost chute after 35 years of hard work, but there are no hard feelings. None. I think that's so wonderful in this dog-eat-dog business of public radio that the guy getting pushed off the cliff can be friends with his replacement.

ER: Right.

GK: I don't hold you responsible for this at all. I want you to know that.

ER: Good. (LONG PAUSE) Can I talk now?

GK: Sure. Go ahead.

ER: I was really cheesed that you brought in Sara Watkins to guest host for you two weeks ago. That really hurt. Who is she, anyway? And how tall is she?  She seems short.

GK: It was an emergency. I had vertigo. I kept falling down. Sara was nearby.

ER: I didn't hear the show, I had a lot of meetings that day, but my publicist told me about it, and, listen ---- I have nothing against Sara, she's a terrific musician, okay? But I really need you to put your faith in me and not get sidetracked. I got thousands of emails about it ----- what's the deal with Sara? We thought it was you.   ----- My people have been working full-time quashing the rumors.

GK: Sorry to put you out.

ER: Believe me, you do not need a singer. No. You need a communicator for a host. Someone who understands inflection and accessibility and interaction. 

GK: Interaction.

ER: This is one thing my producers and I are talking about is bringing interactivity to the show. I see it as becoming a platform where people can share the energy on all sorts of different levels. Singers are meant to sing, hosts are meant to host ---- you know? You want me to sing, I can sing. Just say, "Sing, Erica." I'll sing. You don't need to get somebody else. I can do it.

(SINGS, A LA INGRID MICHAELSON)

You need a host, and here I am.
You need a song, and yes I can. 

But I want you to understand
You have to take me like I am.

Don't get Sara just because she can sing. 
She's kind of short, if you ask me.

I want to be your host, baby.
Just me, just the way I am.

GK: That was lovely. Thank you. So how are the discussions going with you and Jack Sanders? 

ER: Jack's great. Terrific house, hot tub out back. It's coming together. Slowly. It's a very complicated deal and we want to make sure we get all the details right. The publicity budget, the clothes and makeup, the writing staff ----- you've got three writers, I need at least eleven. And I need at least four of them to be men, okay?  Seriously. And we're looking for a band. I love this ----- what's the name of it? The band?

GK: The Guys All-Star Shoe Band.

ER: Right. Did you come up with that name?

GK: I did.

ER: I sort of thought so. Anyway, we're looking at a band called Eaten By Crustaceans. It's huge right now, there was a big article about them in Right Now magazine, did you see that? You didn't. Okay. Anyway, we're working out the contract, hammering out the bonus terms now.

GK: A bonus?

ER: Performance bonus. I get a split on the advertising. 60-40. They offered 25-75, I'm holding ut for 60-40.

GK: You'd get 40.

ER: Sixty. Because I am going to pull you out of this tailspin you're in. You are crashing. You know that? The ship is sinking. Do your people not tell you what's going on? Do they? You are losing your sponsors. Did you know that?

GK: No, we're not.

ER: The Superbowl is coming, and your sponsors are jumping to television. They pay you a few hundred bucks for an ad on A Prairie Home Companion, they pay three million to get on the Superbowl. 

GK: I don't know what you're-----

ER: Look at this. Watch this video.

(BIG CAR REV, SPORTS CAR, THROBBING BASS)

TR (DEEP ANNOUNCER):  When you want freedom. ...taking the road less travelled...up the mountain ...a beautiful woman by your side (ER: Oh wow), and a wild eagle overhead to guide you (EAGLE SCREECH)—you want ketchup.

ER (BREATHY): Ketchup? (BIG ACCELLERATION) 

TR (DEEP ANNOUNCER):  Ketchup. When you're going all the way. (EAGLE SCREECH)

GK: The ketchup advisory board did that?

ER: This show is years behind when it comes to reaching the key demographic. Listeners age 18-35. Your show is more like 60-85. Your advertisers need to reach the key demographic, and that means they're jumping to the SuperBowl and they're willing to pay whatever it takes.

GK: My gosh. I never knew.

ER: You know now.

(BIG CAR REV, SPORTS CAR, THROBBING BASS)

TR (DEEP ANNC): You're off the road...driving along the  ocean (SURF)...as free as that eagle up overhead (EAGLE SCREECH): You and your woman. (ER: WOW) Higher and higher up the mountain you go. (GOAT). The air is thin and you stop and look out and you can see the whole world. (MOUNTAINTOP) But now you're hungry. Hungry for rhubarb. And rhubarb is what you're gonna get. Say goodbye to shame and humiliation. Say Bebopareebop. (BIG CAR REV, FAST) Now available at tops of mountains.

ER: It's a whole new world of advertising, one that I'm afraid you don't understand. Sweeping vistas, fast cars, bald eagles. No vista is too sweeping, no car is too fast, no eagle too bald for these commercials. You gotta push the limits and push them hard.

(BIG CAR REV, SPORTS CAR, THROBBING BASS)

SS (BREATHY): Gosh Tyler. You're not like other men I've dated. 

TR (CONFIDENT): I know. (FAST CORNERING)

SS (BREATHY): Other men would take the freeway. But you took the road untaken, the road that climbs high up into the mountains (EAGLE SCREECH)

TR (CONFIDENT): I'm an English Major, Sydney. I know things. And I can say things that mean something. Things about mortality and passion.
(EAGLE SCREECH)

SS (BREATHY): Wow Tyler. What's your secret?

TR: When you want to get off the little roads that lead nowhere and find the highway to the top (REV CAR)...two words can help you get there. And those words are: English Major. (ENGINE REV)

GK: I had no idea. I thought they only advertised with us.

ER: Ha. The world moves on, mister. And we've got to move with it.

(BIG CAR REV, SPORTS CAR, THROBBING BASS)

TR (DEEP ANNC): You're a guy who doesn't like to drive between the lines...you go where others don't dare (SURF)...flying free (EAGLE SCREECH): You and your wild woman. (SS: Go, baby. Go and go and go.) A 45-degree incline? Bring it on. (CAR REV) Up to the top where you can look out and see the whole world. (MOUNTAINTOP) Your radio show? A Prairie Home Companion. With Erica Rhodes. It's here. It's now. With the phenomenal alt-X band, Eaten By Crustaceans.

SHOES: HIP HOP DRUM & BASS. GUITARS, ORGAN, CALL AND RESPONSE. BAND VOCAL: Eat it. Eat it. Eat it. Eat it.

TR: Prairie Home. It's here and it's huge. (BIG CAR REV, FAST)

GK: Okay. Well, when does that start? I'm curious.

ER: We're working it out. I'll let you know.

GK: Thanks. Erica Rhodes.

ER: No thank YOU. Hey next time you're in L.A. come over to my place. Pacific Palisades. Really spacious, meditative. Pool out back, ocean out front.

GK: That sounds great.  How's June?

ER: June is bad. But some other time.