Popular radio variety show to broadcast live at CFSB

Allyson Putman
Staff writer

An American tradition will broadcast live from the CFSB Center Saturday to entertain students and the community with sketches from the world-renowned variety show “A Prairie Home Companion.”

“A Prairie Home Companion,” a live radio variety show hosted by Garrison Keillor and on the air for more than 40 years, offers entertainment to its listeners through song, story and music. Upon achieving such success as a radio broadcast, a movie was made in 2006 staring actors such as Meryl Streep, Woody Harrelson and many more.

More than 600 public radio stations, including local public radio station WKMS 93.1, broadcast the show at 5 p.m. central time every Saturday evening and 11 a.m. on Sunday mornings.

Kate Lochte, station manager of WKMS, said the station is excited for Murray State to be the host venue for the two hours of entertainment.

“The advance team for ‘A Prairie Home Companion’ visited the CFSB Center and were wowed by the facility’s logistical flexibility and the expertise of its staff,” Lochte said.

The Murray show is dedicated to the memory of Bill Monroe, also known as the “father of bluegrass,” and will feature performers from his band. The show often showcases bluegrass music with guests such as Ricky Skaggs, Allison Krauss and Union Station, Sara Watkins and more, Lochte said.

The show will also be remembering Tom Keith, long-time mouth sound effects wizard who passed away last weekend.

Lochte said the staff at WKMS appreciates the support they have received from Murray State faculty for bringing this show.

“We think the show mirrors the values and aspirations we have for our students,” she said. “The program also celebrates the art of thoughtful writing, whether it is comedic, narrative, introspective or absurd.”

“A Prairie Home Companion” has a variety of sketches to entertain audiences of all ages.

Barbara Cobb, professor of English, said she is planning to attend the show this Saturday with her 12-year-old son, Austin.

“We love this show – it’s a variety show,” Cobb said. “We never know what we will hear.”

She said she and her son are going to see the show live for the first time, though they have seen and participated in live WKMS broadcasts before.

“We have never seen a show like this being made,” Cobb said. “I’m sure we will learn a lot this Saturday.”

Though the sketches performed in “A Prairie Home Companion” can be specific to public radio listeners, she said there is always something for nearly everyone.

WKMS staff are not the only ones excited for the upcoming show, as many professors and students are eager to listen to the performance as well.

Terry Strieter, professor of history, has been a long time listener of the show.

“I like the show because I know I will get a laugh,” Strieter said. “Sometimes (it’s) a stomach-busting laugh every time I tune-in.”

He is not alone, as approximately 400 million listeners nationwide tune into the show regularly to listen to its light-hearted, comedic take on everyday life in America.

Lochte said the WKMS staff is expecting a large audience this Saturday, estimating roughly 4,000 people in attendance. In hopes of attracting more students, the CFSB box office offered a student ticket deal last week, where students could purchase one ticket at student price ($15) and get another for free.

Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com or the CFSB Center. Prices for the ticket vary based on seat location. Murray State students receive a $5 discount.

“A Prairie Home Companion” begins at 4:45 p.m. Saturday.

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