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August 16, 2007 | 7 Comments

The Hon. G Keillor,
We now get your show on Australia's Radio National on Sunday night at 7 pm. Sunday evening is now so different. I relax with some good Aussie red, a comfortable chair in front of the fire and turn on a beautiful radio. And there you are from across the sea. Public radio here is some of the best in the world and you have made it better. Many thanks. It is wonderful to have you at home.

Robin E.
Adelaide, Australia

I had heard that Radio National was carrying the show but that was only the word from management, which doesn't always have a grasp on the reality of the situation, and it's good to get confirmation from the rank and file. And that's a lovely picture — the listener by the fireside, a glass of red wine, the good people of Lake Wobegon gossiping in the Chatterbox Cafe — except what is this beautiful radio? I imagine a big wooden tabletop model with Corinthian pillars on the side and pyramids and a marble owl. In my kitchen there's one of those utilitarian shoebox-sized radios with a CD player in it. Mostly I listen to radio in the car, but I never have far to drive, so it's always brief. The last time I sat in a chair with a glass of red wine in front of a fire and listened to the radio? I can't even remember. (Well, the red wine is gone for me now.) So I envy you a little. But I have this image firmly in mind and it will flash back the next time the band plays the Tishomingo Blues.


We certainly now are able to listen your evergreen program in Australia on ABC Radio National, however we only get highlights of one hour. This, in this day and age pretty ordinary don't you think? Oh well, back to the archives on the web. By the way Garrison,I found in a second hand book shop in Queensland Australia,an autographed copy of Radio Romance. This book has certainly travelled! Now it has a permanent home.

Also from down under, I can remember listening to PHC back in the 1960's or 70's in melbourne Australia. It was about 9 or 10pm on a sunday and it was a perfect way to finish a week and put one's mind in shape for the next, with the gentle thoughts of Lake Woebegon weaving their magic before sleep drifted me away for a few hours. In recent times I discovered Minnesota public radio and rejoined you. I was overjoyed with the news that Radio National will pick your show albeit at an earlier hour. Garrison, I'm distressed that you can't enjoy an Australian red. I've had my bypass and a replacement valve for the ticker, and an Aussie red is most beneficial. But we need your help; delight turned to chagrin when our Radio National heralded PHC but only give us ONE emasculated hour of the two available, we get Guy Noir, some of the songs and Tales from Lake Wobegon, none of the wit and by play with the shows regulars, no powdermilk biscuits, very small cheese indeed. Can you persuade your people to convince our people to foot the bill a little. Our national radio, the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC)is a bit like the BBC in London, in ideas, but not in quality, that's why we need more of PHC. Our fearless Prime Minister, little Johnny Howard, (who tries so desperately to be liked by G Dubbya, it's embarrassing and pathetic to watch it happen down here), has starved the ABC of funds, planted right wing political cronies on the board and generally attempted to 'dumb down' the national broadcaster because of some perceived 'left wing bias' (which really is the kind of philosophy espoused in Lake Wobegon,) so as to be able to send a few hundred troops to Iraq, they probably can't afford to pay for the unexpurgated version of PHC. Perhaps your people could give us a discount? This email is far too long but it's helped get a few things off my mind. Thank you for a wonderful show and all strength to the kindly people of St Paul, not to mention the dour humour of those Norwegian farmers.

Oh Garrison, Garrison! What's this about your red wine days being "gone now"?
When I read Robin E's letter from downunder I wondered whether I had written that letter myself.
There must be oodles of aussies doing the red wine, comfy armchair, beautiful radio thing all over OZ on Sunday evenings as they enjoy PHC.
I assure you, the glass of aussie red is an essential part of the experience. I am a 'heart patient'. My cardiologist assures me that "RED WINE IS CARDIO-FRIENDLY".
Please, whatever ails you, sneak a glass of red (even if verboten) now and then; sit in a comfy armchair, turn on the 'beautiful radio' and enjoy.

With warm regards and respect, Graham Tucker

My cup runneth over. I can hardly wait for Sunday evening to hear those dulcet tones once more. I just hope Cairns Radio National is REALLY carrying the show, not just taunting me.

great to read you are now broadcasting again in Australia after a long absence. Im an Aussie who heads to Bali for the winter and I loaded up my ipod before i left to have shows to ration out over my 4 months away. Love to hear you talking about Winter in minnesota whilst im on a balinese beach. Now i hear i have Sunday nights and the radio show waiting me when I get home next month. Long may we both live!!!!

I have to chime in here. I was on sabbatical in Hobart long ago (1988) and late one day driving along the eastern shore of Tasmania (that's not Tanzania, as my correspondents were loath to understand) my wife and children drowsily watching a yellow full moon rise out of the Tasman Sea. Among the hisses and crackles of the a.m. car radio came .. surprised I was.. PHC. I have to say that a.m. radio is something I miss. I am not digital nor static free nor perfect in any way. Since early childhood I have loved the uncertainty of skip propagation, and what happens as the sun sets and the ionosphere suddenly takes shape and bounces distant voices to your doorstep. The voices are rounded and softened by a.m., and they fade in and out. Have you noticed how late in the evening when the sun-excited ions go to sleep once again, the global skip will fade away leaving just one or two stations audible from the entire world. They may be in Guam and Madagascar, there must just be lily pad-sized ion patches up there, sort of insomniac f-layer guys. This is short-wave ham radio as well as broadcasting of course.
PHC and a.m. are made for each other. Perhaps it could be simulated on the boringly perfect channels of f.m., digital, web-streaming and now satellite (I am sitting on a rainy morning in Ibsen's and Grieg's Bergen, Norway writing this while streaming some PHC). Maybe it was a show with prominent attention to shy persons (who this century are feeling a bit neglected) or the one where the two neighborhood dogs, Buster was one, nearly disemboweled the jogging Letter writer, who then wandered everywhere including the Row Monitors who are stationed to eject audience members who make embarrassing noises, or perhaps the Letter involving Florida newspapers portraying 'savage' snowstorms up north (Floridians were roundly satirized as sitting behind closed drapes in the evening, sucking the drug dust off paper money that Tex and Juan had handed over after their fast boat trip, the latest delivery); whereas, a good snowstorm does not 'ravage', but merely invites one to stay home by the fire...12 inches of snow fell and caused myriad poems and love-making... and I would wish to hear these again.
Well that's what a.m. radio did for me and I miss it. PHC and a.m. Two wonderful friends in a sometimes friendless, technically brilliant, annoyingly predictable world.

It may be a cut down version on Radio National, but at least it is a version. It has been fun catching up on Lake Wobegon stories. And as a cardiac survivor, I am here to tell you one glass consumed slowly is good. 1 Cask (the cardboard bottle with the tap in) is better.

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