My opinion of him is more limited. To be honest, I had never listened to PHC prior to my involvement. I was aware of it, but I didn't know much about it. But a comedy writer should be able to handle anything, so I signed on.
Now we get to Garrison Keillor, show producer. Mr. "Tax & Spend Liberal" was actually the type of boss that necessitated the creation of an organization like the Writers Guild of America. Keillor, or GK as he was referred to on the website, had a habit of arbitrarily altering or changing bits as it suited him. He would extract material from one bit and place it in his own. Hey, maybe it wasn't his own, maybe he had a bunch of other writers submitting material; how would I know? There were never any real writer credits (see below). Once, I submitted an entire sketch, a Charlie Brown Christmas parody, and he took ONE line from it and stuck it at the end of one of his bits.
Oh, and once a skit was submitted, if it wasn't used, it was dead. No re-writing, no updating. It was done.
Let's talk about salary, now, shall we? His pay schedule was unique, to say the least. No weekly staff writer salary here. No per-page per diem. Nope. He based pay on how well he thought the bit went over with the audience. So, basically, my income was hooked to an applause meter, like a game show. It was very arbitrary. Like that Charlie Brown bit? I got paid as if it were a full sketch. Pay checks from PHC were like snowflakes, no two were ever alike.
His credit policy was very lackadaisical. He never failed to mention show writers "Bob Wire" or "Sandy Beach" at the end of each show but I often went unmentioned, and I'm for real! I have no idea to this day who else was unmentioned. He encouraged the belief that he wrote the entire show each week. In fact, before I started writing for him, I called the Writers Guild of America, East (of which I was a new member) to see if I was permitted to write for him, was he a guild signatory? The staff member on the phone said it never came up because they all thought he wrote the whole show. In the end, National Public Radio was not a guild covered venue, so I could freely submit.
Credits were more forthcoming on the website that PHC kept, but not much more. Once GK's behavior issues went public, those web pages were closed down. I have only just discovered that NPR has reopened the pages and archives, so credits (or lack thereof) are back on display.
I got my second sketch, Mt. Rushmore, on the Nov. 20, 1999 show. Same deal, rewritten a bit (they added a "rearranger" joke that just bombed) but not slashed. In fact it was expanded a little, adding a swipe at the local city council and then-Governor Jesse Ventura. Interestingly, this was one of the few times I got a "heads up" going into a show. PHC was on the road that week, preforming in Rapid City, South Dakota and the week before the producer put out word that they wanted site-specific material. I came up with a couple of South Dakota bits and one got on-air. It's actually a character I created for a film script of mine, Forest Ranger Forest Ranger, an obtuse guy who doesn't realize how goofy his name is. I just had to adapt him to become a Park Ranger. Not as funny, I know. But it worked and got a solid reaction and it gave me the confidence to continue submitting after a 4 week dry spell.
No on-air writer credits (fake or otherwise). Online credit reads:
From an idea submitted by Dan Fiorella
(c) 1999 by Garrison Keillor