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Public regains access to 'Prairie Home'


April 16. 2018 9:45PM
Garrison Keillor sings with the audience during the encore of "A Prairie Home Companion" on May 21, 2016, at the State Theatre in Minneapolis. (Leila Navidi/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)



Author, columnist and “A Prairie Home Companion” radio show creator Garrison Keillor and Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) have settled a dispute that began in the aftermath of the “MeToo” sexual harassment movement.

MPR has agreed to restore public access to past shows of “A Prairie Home Companion” as well as the “Writer’s Almanac,” which featured Keillor reading a daily poem over many public radio stations, including New Hampshire Public Radio.

MPR had blocked access to the archives last November after learning of allegations by a woman who had been a freelance writer with Keillor’s production company. Keillor said that MPR’s reaction to the allegations was disproportionate.

The settlement agreement doesn’t provide for any payments to the woman or her colleague, a former producer of the Chris Thile show, who claimed he was let go because of his knowledge of the woman’s allegations against Keillor.

“What the agreement means,” Keillor said in a joint statement, “is that I won’t sue MPR for damages and they will allow ‘A Prairie Home Companion’ and ‘The Writers Almanac’ archives to be available to the public again.”

“And it means that we move on to more interesting things, namely writing stories and creating a podcast. Compared to sitting in mediation, writing is one of life’s great pleasures.”

Keillor’s weekly newspaper column, syndicated by the Washington Post and carried by the New Hampshire Union Leader, was also dropped after the allegations were made. The Union Leader has continued to publish the column on an independent basis.

“MPR wants fans of ‘A Prairie Home Companion’ and ‘The Writer’s Almanac’ to have free access to the thousands of wonderful performers and artists, musicians and poets whose work is included in those archives, and we want your fans to have free access to the decades of terrific material you created,” MPR President Jon McTaggart wrote in a letter to Keillor this month.

The public can access these shows by way of a link at www.garrisonkeillor.com. After three years, Keillor and his production company expect to relocate the archives to another platform.

MPR also agreed to reopening “The Writer’s Almanac” Facebook page and to provide Keillor $275,000, monies owed him under prior contracts.


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