The show is like Prairie Home Companion in the sense that live music, and the host's personality, are two central elements of its appeal. It is different in that it simply seems cooler. (It is usually broadcast live from a louche place called the Empire Plush Room in San Francisco.) Instead of skits and monologues it has interviews conducted by Thomson -- and at the moment I can't think of anyone who is his equal at getting guests off their normal schtick and talking about something interesting and surprising. (Ie: the opposite of Larry King.)
Sorry in retrospect for the little dig at Big Larry (who was then seemingly ensconced for all eternity at CNN). But don't regret anything about praising an interviewer and ringmaster who really is great. Even if you're not in California (or some other places, including my spiritual home of Duluth MN, listed here) you can get it on streaming audio plus archived podcast from KALW, here. So listen in today, or find the archives. The jazz pianist Michael Greensill, a regular, is always wonderful to listen to. And they have a bunch of good writer-guests* lined up too. Two hours, starting at 10am PDT / 1pm EDT.
(*Not to be too cute about it: this is the next stop on the gala Dreaming in Chinese world tour. And, update, I should have remembered to mention that Michael Greensill's wife is the also-wonderful jazz singer Wesla Whitfield. Like me, he married well.)