RIP Tom Keith, a.k.a. The Morning Show's Jim Ed Poole

Tom Keith, a.k.a. Jim Ed Poole (right) with Morning Show co-host Dale Connelly
Tom Keith, a.k.a. Jim Ed Poole (right) with Morning Show co-host Dale Connelly
Publicity photo via MPR

Tom Keith, who radio listeners will recognize as Jim Ed Poole, co-host of MPR's long-running roots-heavy Morning Show, passed away unexpectedly last night of unknown causes. He was 64 years old.

Keith began his career in radio working as the engineer for Garrison Keillor's morning show in the '70s. Keillor was responsible for creating Keith's alter-ego, Jim Ed Poole, and he continued to develop the character after Keillor left the morning show to pursue A Prairie Home Companion full-time and MPR brought in new Morning Show co-host Dale Connelly.

For anyone remotely familiar with MPR's history, Dale Connelly and Jim Ed Poole were staples of the network and vivid personalities. In addition to using the show to develop new characters and comedy sketches, they used their time on air to feature artists in the Americana/Prairie Home vein. They hosted The Morning Show together from 1976 until 2008, when Keith announced his retirement. The pair still performed and appeared together from time to time, and were just at St. Olaf just last week.

For more on Keith's life and talent as both a radio personality and sound effects maestro on A Prairie Home Companion, Bob Collins at MPR has compiled a series of audio and video clips and penned touching tribute here.

Farewell Mr. Sports, Mr. Action, Mr. Jim Ed Poole. You will be missed.

UPDATE: According to A Prairie Home Companion, Keith died shortly after suffering a heart attack in his home. Garrison Keillor has published his tribute here.

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