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Thile addresses Keillor news during New York show

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Audience members leave The Town Hall.
Audience members leave The Town Hall in New York on Dec. 2, 2017, following a broadcast of The Show with Chris Thile.
Mara Silvers for MPR News

The Show with Chris Thile, which until this past week was known as "A Prairie Home Companion," didn't start with familiar piano notes Saturday night, but instead a somber monologue delivered by Thile.

"Before we begin the show today, I want to take a moment to address something which you've probably heard about by now — which is MPR severing ties with Garrison Keillor over allegations of inappropriate behavior," he said, during the live show at Town Hall in New York City. 

"This is of course heartbreaking news. As I've said many times on the air, 'A Prairie Home Companion' has always been a source of refuge and inspiration for me personally. I really did tune in every Saturday as a kid. Like millions of us, I would not be the person I am today without 'Prairie Home.'"

Keillor started "A Prairie Home Companion" in 1974, and hosted it for more than four decades, before handing the show over to Thile last year. 

Minnesota Public Radio and its parent company American Public Media Group cut ties with Keillor last week. The details of the company's investigation are unknown. 

In an email to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Keillor wrote: "I put my hand on a woman's bare back. I meant to pat her back after she told me about her unhappiness and her shirt was open and my hand went up it about six inches. She recoiled. I apologized. I sent her an email of apology later and she replied that she had forgiven me and not to think about it. We were friends. We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called."

Keillor, in a message to MPR News, said that two employees had raised questions about his behavior. An MPR spokesperson said there is a formal complaint from an individual that includes multiple allegations.

Thile also addressed, indirectly, the issues in the news.

"Today we are in the middle of a national movement which I believe represents progress," he said. "We're recognizing the harmful power imbalance that women have had to endure for so long in our culture. My sincere hope is that with awareness will come improvement."

Thile's monologue ended where many on the show have ended, with music.

"As for this show, I want it to be a place for us to gather around, hear great music, laugh together, reflect and gain respite from our weekly troubles. People are capable of such beauty. I aim to bring some of it to on the radio every Saturday," he said.