[caption id="attachment_141880" align="aligncenter" width="4104"] Garrison Keillor, creator and host of "A Prairie Home Companion," said in an interview with The Associated Press, Monday, July 20, 2015, in St. Paul, Minn., that he plans to step down after next season and retire such popular sketches as “Guy Noir, Private Eye.” (AP Photo/Jim Mone) 


Fleeting celebrity gossip and new entertaining personalities often distract from venerable careers. But hopefully, the usual sludge will not take away from the career accomplishments of Garrison Keillor.

The creator and host of the radio show “A Prairie Home Companion” announced Monday that he plans to retire.

Keillor has hosted the musical variety show for four decades, but the upcoming season will be his last. His farewell tour of live recordings, “America the Beautiful,” will begin to crisscross the country next week.

At 73 years old, Keillor’s announcement is not unexpected, but does mean the end of an entertaining legacy. Every week his distinctive Midwestern baritone voice has serenated and entertained four million listeners across 700 public radio stations.

The show will continue with Keillor’s appointed successor, Chris Thile of the bands Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek.

Keillor has promised to stay on as executive producer to ensure that the show will maintain its folksy Midwestern Norwegian Lutheran flair.

Despite his absence, Lake Wobegone will continue to be a place “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” It is assumed that Powder Milk Biscuits will continue its sponsorship.

If these assurances sound unfamiliar be sure to introduce yourself to Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.”