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Garrison Keillor Says Goodbye to Prairie Home Companion After 42 Years on the Radio

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Jim Mone/AP

Radio icon Garrison Keillor has signed off for good.

After 42 years as the host of A Prairie Home Companion, 73-year-old Keillor hosted his final episode to a full house of 18,000 at the Hollywood Bowl on Friday. Even President Barack Obama called in to wish the host a happy retirement and praise the show.

“One of the reasons I miss driving is that you kept me company,” the president told Keillor in the broadcast which aired Saturday, according to the New York Times. “A Prairie Home Companion made me feel better and more human.”

Other than that call, the variety show kept to its normal routine, featuring performances of country songs, skits and the well-known segment “News from Lake Wobegon.”

Goodnight from the @HollywoodBowl — tune in tomorrow to hear the show! #wobegon

A post shared by A Prairie Home Companion (@prairie_home) on

Keillor gave a last report from the imaginary town and concluded with his usual line, “That’s the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.”

Friday’s taping wrapped up with a stage full of performers singing “Next Time I’m in Town” Keillor gave a simple wave and said, “Thank you, everybody, goodnight,” as he walked off stage.

“It feels like something ends and something else is about to happen,” Keillor told his fellow performers about leaving.

The radio icon will remain an executive producer of the show when Chris Thile becomes the primary host this fall. Keillor is currently working on a memoir and a screenplay.