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Classical Notes

MPR Legend Tom Keith passes away

Posted at 11:45 AM on October 31, 2011 by Brett Baldwin (2 Comments)

Tom Keith
Sad news around Minnesota Public Radio today, as we learned that our dear friend Tom Keith (perhaps better known as Jim Ed Poole) has passed away.

He was a mainstay as the co-host of The Morning Show, which aired on Classical MPR for many years, and on The Current for 4 more until his retirement in December of 2008.

Beyond our state's borders, he was widely known for his incredible abilities as the Sound Effects man for A Prairie Home Companion (here's a great interview from this summer).

MPR News has the story:

Before becoming a sound-effects man on A Prairie Home Companion, Keith was a former radio personality who co-hosted The Morning Show on MPR until 2008. He hosted that show as his alter ego, Jim Ed Poole, a character Keillor created for an older early morning radio show.

Bob Collins has a terrific remembrance mixed with the news:

There are a fair number of phonies in the media, possibly because there's a certain amount of acting involved. But Tom Keith was not one of them. Tom collapsed at home and died last night and could not be revived, according to a spokesman for Prairie Home Companion. The cause is still being determined.

The Morning Show archive goes quite deep, but here's an hour's selection of prime cuts:

A good dose of history can be found on The Morning Show's interactive timeline.

For those who want to share their feelings about Tom, please submit them below.

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Comments (2)

I will always remember the humor & good-naturedness of Tom Keith, as was shown when he and his partner on "The Morning Show" were visiting Bemidji on a cold, rainy day and they agreed to ride in my wagon drawn by my yoke of Scottish Highland Oxen.

Posted by Larry Zea | October 31, 2011 1:02 PM

I worked near Tom for many years when I started at MPR. When we migrated out of our corner of the building and into our new space, he gave me an image-on-canvas (c. 1960) of Julie Andrews that he had picked up in Okinawa. He told me, "of all the people in this building, I think you would appreciate this the most."

Thanks, again, Tom! You are missed.

Posted by Brad A | October 31, 2011 2:00 PM