MPR’s Bill Kling on Keillor’s announced retirement

Just chatted with MPR President and CEO, Bill Kling, who takes a rather blasé attitude toward Keillor’s announcement that he plans to retire from A Prairie Home Companion in the spring of 2013.

“I don’t consider it news because Garrison has been talking about things like this for the last couple of years and when Garrison says it, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything more than that morning’s musings,” said Kling.

“I’ve known him for 44 years and I don’t think there is a version of Garrison that you could call ‘retirement.’ So you can’t sit down and say ‘well there’s a date given, he’s going to retire on that date, that will be the last show, a search firm will be engaged to find a new Garrison Keillor’ – none of that fits.”

Instead Kling imagines there’s going to be a very long transition as Keillor tries out new and different ideas for the show, and gradually cedes more artistic control to people he trusts.