'A Prairie Home Companion' 2.0 snags Jack White for premiere night

Thile, left, and Jack White

Thile, left, and Jack White AP

Valuable 18-45 demographic -- ASSEMBLE!  

Such is the sub-textual cry of Minnesota Public Radio owner American Public Media, which announced Thursday the debut guest for its re-imagined legacy program, A Prairie Home Companion: rock 'n' roll hero Jack White. 

White will join new APHC host Chris Thile and additional music guest Lake Street Dive on Oct. 15 at the Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul. “Jack White is an inspiration -- he plays, sings, and writes with every fiber of his formidable being," Thile said in a press release. 

Among the other announced fall guests: soul-rockers Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats with humorist John Hodgman (Oct. 22) and Grammy-winning jazz prodigy Esperanza Spalding with stand-up comic Aparna Nancherla (Oct. 29). More shows will be announced soon.

These initial bookings suggest APM is hoping its flagship entertainment program will skew much, much younger. And that makes sense, considering the median age of APHC listeners is 59

Tickets -- $20-$49 -- are available now, though the Oct. 15 Jack White date quickly sold out. 

Thile, 35, was handpicked by longtime host Garrison Keillor ("the best idea I’ve had since Powdermilk Biscuits," a very on-brand Keillor said in a press release) to take the reins of A Prairie Home Companion, which he hosted for almost four decades before retiring earlier this year. A four-time Grammy winner, Thile sings and plays mandolin with bluegrass bands Nickel Creek and the Punch Brothers.