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Keillor hints he'll bring back two shows he founded

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Garrison Keillor looks over scripts on May 6, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.
Garrison Keillor, shown here looking over scripts in 2016, has recently suggested he'll restart his poetry show online and go back on the road with A Prairie Home Companion.
Nate Ryan | MPR 2016

Updated: 5:23 p.m. | Posted: 2:05 p.m.

Garrison Keillor says he's "ready" to resurrect the two radio shows he founded. But it's unclear whether that'll actually happen.

On Monday evening, Keillor posted on his Facebook page:

"I'm ready to start up The Writers [sic] Almanac again. I get the idea that public radio stations will never carry it again and so we'll need to find a way to do it through social media. There are smart people who can manage this and make it easy. I also want to take A Prairie Home Companion out on tour again."

Keillor and Minnesota Public Radio entered mediated discussions in January, more than a month after the company cut ties with him in response to allegations that he behaved inappropriately with a woman who worked for him on A Prairie Home Companion. 

Jon McTaggart, the company's CEO, said he made the decision after an outside investigation came back with preliminary findings showing Keillor misused his power.

Keillor has denied wrongdoing, and the talks between the two parties stalled. An MPR spokesperson said Tuesday there are "no new developments."

It wasn't clear if Keillor was simply pining for his old gig, or if he had a plan to bring back his shows. But his attorney and brother-in-law, Eric Nilsson, said late Tuesday they are exploring their options and trying to figure out a distribution channel for The Writer's Almanac.

"Garrison would like very much to bring back what his audience would love to have — daily doses of poetry and 'almanac narrative,'" Nilsson said in an email to MPR News. "As to A Prairie Home Companion, the stage beckons back. With regard to 'rights' to The Writer's Almanac and A Prairie Home Companion, no one disputes that they're all very much his."

One cornerstone of the negotiations was how to address the transition of MPR's and Keillor's business relationship — and what to do with the trove of material Keillor, a prolific writer, and his staff generated over roughly four decades.

After it cut Keillor loose, MPR announced it would stop distributing The Writer's Almanac and rebroadcasting A Prairie Home Companion — and scrubbed its website of all archives for the shows. 

The company contends the moves were necessary because MPR does not fully own the rights to continue to use the names or provide archive content for A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor and The Writer's Almanac programs. Keillor and his companies own many of the rights to the artistic content.

Many of Keillor's devotees have wondered how and when they'll be able to tune into him again. The loss of The Writer's Almanac and its archive has been particularly painful for poets and poetry lovers as it was one of the only regular national poetry broadcasts in the United States. 

Keillor returned to the performance circuit in early March with a show in Prescott, Ariz. His website lists upcoming appearances in Tulsa, Okla., and Glenside, Pa.

On Facebook, Keillor assured his loyal fan base he's not finished yet.

"When you fire a retired person, you're apt to irritate him," he wrote. "That's how I feel, anyway. Spring is coming. Plenty of good times yet to be had."