Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny hosted his first Forum program on February 15, 1993 — 20 years ago today. During that first show, he promised to continue the program’s commitment to in-depth news and political programming while opening up “new vistas in the arts…and the life of the mind.” We mark Michael’s milestone by turning the tables on him: he joins Dave Iverson to talk about his two decades behind the Forum microphone.

Michael Krasny, host of KQED's Forum and professor of English at San Francisco State University

  • I have been here 4 years. Michael Krasny’s New York counterpart is Brian Lehrer, who has a 2-hour show in the morning on WNYC. The show here is a little more mellow and calm. You know New York, everything is hustle, bustle. But I’ve really come to enjoy and appreciate the aural environment created here by Mr. Krasny. It’s an excellent show per my tastes.

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    The ONLY reason I send in a yearly membership to KQED FM is because of Dr Krasny who as a host is respectful, interesting, challenging, and calm.
    He has such varied wonderful guests who even if I disagree with them, I like listening to what they have to say, because Dr Krasny asks great questions.
    Recently our son was in the ICU for two weeks and had to remain quiet. Thankfully I was able to listen to the show everyday using ear phones and it was such a welcome relief.
    Hope you know how many listeners love and respect you Dr Krasny.

  • Bob Fry

    Michael Krasny is the best interviewer today in either radio or TV…period. Like Beth, he’s the reason I have a yearly membership to KQED. After listening to a Krasny interview, regardless of topic or interviewee, other on-air personalities are a bit irritating. Congratulations Michael, you’re the best. And your support staff–the backup interviewers, those who arrange for the people to talk to, etc–are clearly very, very good themselves.

  • Chris OConnell

    I got pretty fed up of NPR’s coverage of the 2012 election on its major programs, All Things Considered and MOrning Edition. It reminded me of CNN and with all due respect, I don’t listen to NPR to get CNN-type coverage.

    If it were not for Forum, I would not have contributed to KQED because I had to stop listening to NPR most of the time. But Forum meets the high expectations I have for public radio.

    On the bright side, NPR’s pathetic, predictable and thoroughly UN-illuminating election coverage allowed me to discover KPFA and the great Dennis Bernstein among others.

  • Andy

    How would Michael describe the progression (or decline) of American radio journalism? As a transplant from the UK of 10 years I miss the abrasive, confrontational and incisive approach of the BBC. For example in the last section, despite Dave’s efforts it was a typical “he said, she said” (literally in this instance) exchange. It was ultimately not particularly educational because there was no deciphering of the two sides. How would Michael and/or Dave suggest evolving to cut through talking points and party lines to get closer to the reality of an issue? American journalism is not pointed enough in my opinion. However, I appreciate Forum, many NPR and APM shows but consider them the least worst alternative. I don’t want talk radio’s brand of screaming and invective but I would like the “reputable” fourth estate to actually cut through the spin, fluff and typical, expected positions.

    • Beth Grant DeRoos

      And its the non abrasive, non confrontational approach some of us love. If we want loud abrasive confrontational we can listen to other radio shows. Dr Krasny gets serious deep discussions from his guests without being rude.

      • thucy

        I think you missed Andy’s point. He is asking for a higher quality show. Forum is a good show, but there are frankly better hosts than “Dr.” Krasny. Terry Gross and WNYC’s Leonard Lopate (whose format Krasny crudely co-opted) come to mind immediately, as do Tavis Smiley and Bill Moyers.
        Let’s appreciate Krasny for what he’s done, sure, but let’s also acknowledge that there are good times to retire – and this would be a great time to replace Krasny with someone with more on the ball. (And someone more interested in the subject at hand than in name-dropping…)

  • Preeti

    Forum has been one of my favorite shows since I started listening about 10 years ago. Michael Krasny is one of the best hosts that I have seen on both TV and Radio. He has a unique engaging style that seems to bring out the best in his guests. Congratulations on 20 years!

  • Gabriela

    Thanks to Michael Krasny for such enterteining interviews through all these years. I immigrated from Mexico almost 25 years ago, listening to kqed has helped me understand and assimilate into the culture. My favorite program is Forum, Michael has such an enthusiastic attitude in his interviews, that I always find myself wanting to read the book or reseaching more about the subject. Congratulations and Muchas Gracias 🙂

  • $2870056

    Most enjoyable, the many politicians, the many artists interviewed. Those news makers, sometime history makers – the politicians. and all those men and women who make sense of it – the artists.

    You have done both, by making a difference, all the difference, for all of us.

    Congratulations on 20 years, and many more.

  • Ramona

    Hi Michael, If you could interview Walter Tevis what would you most like to ask him?

  • Paul


    You are always good company in my car on late drives (around the 10pm hour) which I occasionally have to make. A welcome soothing voice and smart “passenger” in my car. I never feel lonely with you around.

    Thanks so much for all the wisdom and intelligence in a world in need of both.

    Congratulations and keep it going!


  • Avril

    I like gossip, too, which is why I prefer nonfiction. You seem to be a fiction guy. Is that true, and why? P.S. So much better without the stache!

  • Happy amazing 20th anniversary with Forum, Michael Krasny. You do a great job every day, and thank you for keeping me company on my commute each morning

  • Thank you, Michael. My curiosity and wide interests keep me listening; and your humanity is inspiring.

  • Gabriela

    Michael, I find that you always have the right words to say, no matter who you are interviewing. Have there been times when you regret something you say after the interview?

  • Jesus Castillo

    Michael, not only have you been informative, educational, thought provoking and entertaining…also inspirational. Curious, what do you think about a “TV” version of Forum? Would it change Forum in some manner…enhance, diminish?

  • Foghorn

    Well done Michael and thank you.

  • bcomnes

    Thank You MIchael – we have moved to Chicago and then to Oregon in last 5 years and still listen to your show online as much as we can …even travelling across country – Keep it going…!!!

  • Andrew

    Thank you and your teams throughout the years for helping me stay current on issues, both those I have passion for and those that are new to me. About 15 years ago, in order to support my adjunct teaching salary as a budding English instructor, I did data entry for UCSF helping them keep current on elevator and fire extinguisher permits. I was able to look forward to work each day because of Forum. With appreciation, Andrew.

  • connie

    Is Michael Krasny for real?!

    I was just listening to this program and heard this comment on his not getting the job at Talk of the Nation: (47:16)

    “Juan Williams… it was clear he was going to get the job (at Talk of the Nation) … didn’t hurt that he had the name ‘Juan’ and that he was African-American, so I knew how that was going to come out… there were many people who went for that job who were probably a lot better and had more skill sets than Juan did and still didn’t get the job…”

    Wow. Sour grapes and racial resentment much? Does a crass comment like this belong on KQED?

    I’m all for celebrating a long career, but this is really offensive, and actually typical of comments he often makes – offensive, self-promoting and without grace.

    I am a public radio junkie and member; I listen all day long. I moved here from NY over a year ago, and have heard him compared to Brian Lehrer of WNYC– I beg to differ, since Brian Lehrer would never make that type of statement, but instead is always on the pulse of what’s happening, keeping me informed and entertained, always with grace and humor.

    If Michael Krasny retires, I vote for Joshua Johnson as a replacement.

    • thucy


      I think Brian’s show on WNYC has deteriorated over the last decade, but he remains far more current than Krasny. Is it fair to compare KQED to WNYC shows? From Lopate to Mike Pesca, WNYC meets the demands of a larger and more diverse (and better-educated) market.

      Krasny’s malapropisms are grating beyond belief. The most annoying thing about Krasny is how he fawns over celebrity guests, instead of asking incisive questions. He seems to relish celebrity more than knowledge.

      Juan Williams had HUGE shoes to fill when he got Ray Suarez’s spot on Talk of the Nation. As disappointing as JW was, he was at the time far, far stronger than Krasny. All that said, Krasny’s been (overall) really great sometimes, but I think it’s long since been time for him to retire. Joshua Johnson would be fine.

  • Randall West

    Congrats, Michael. I recently moved to the Bay Area and found KQED to have a ‘national’ program I hadn’t heard before – yours. Also, looks like Dave Iverson did your job well. Best to you both.

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