'The Vinyl Cafe' Radio Show Host Stuart McLean Dies at 68

His weekly Canadian radio show with folksy yarns and music was heard on the CBC and select U.S. public radio stations.

Stuart McLean, the longtime host of The Vinyl Cafe show on CBC Radio and some U.S. public radio stations, died Wednesday. He was 68.

"We were deeply saddened to learn that Stuart McLean passed away earlier today," the CBC, Canada's public broadcaster, said in a statement. McLean, whose radio show was long regarded as Canada's version of Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion, passed away after a battle with melanoma cancer.

The Vinyl Cafe was heard on some NPR stations in the U.S. directly after A Prairie Home Companion on Sunday afternoons. The radio show, written and hosted by McLean, featured folksy yarns about Dave, owner of a second-hand record store, and his wife.

"Stuart assured us that even in difficult times, we can find things to be grateful for and ways to laugh. Now that he is gone, we will try hard to do just that," a statement on the Vinyl Cafe website read on Wednesday.

McLean's started in public broadcasting in the 1970s as a researcher on Cross-Country Check-Up before making documentaries for CBC Radio's Sunday Morning. Later, he became a columnist and guest host on CBC’s Morningside radio show.

McLean toured Canada and the U.S. with the Vinyl Cafe show, which was recorded before live audiences. "Every week for 22 years, Stuart connected with his listeners in a way that few before him have," Susan Marjetti, executive director, radio and audio at CBC English Services, said in her own statement. "His Dave and Morley stories were as entertaining as they were enlightening; they made us pause, reflect, but most of all laugh along together.”