Kai Ryssdal

Kai Ryssdal has had a number of jobs: Naval aviator, Foreign Service officer in China, bookstore employee and even KQED intern. And since 2005, he has been the host of American Public Media’s economic show “Marketplace.” Ryssdal joins us in-studio to “do the numbers” with his trademark humor, and talk about covering everything from credit default swaps to Halloween candy.

Kai Ryssdal, host and senior editor of "Marketplace"

  • Erich

    There is yet more indication that the Boston situation was a set up: Turns out Saudi Arabia warned the USA about Tamerlan in advance, yet the USA did nothing, suggesting Boston was a LIHOP: Letting It Happen On Purpose. Question is, what was the purpose of letting Boston happen?


  • HUGE fan of Kai on Marketplace. Please tell him that when he pulled that little stunt a couple months ago — stating it was his last day hosting so he could go work at a company that served its employees beer every Friday — was CRUEL. My friend and I were sweating it out all weekend to see if he’d return the next Monday. Naughty, Kai… naughty! Never leave us.

    ~Allie from Belmont

    • Kim B

      Agree with this! That was a cruel stunt!

    • Chris OConnell

      Yes, that one freaked me out. I searched for more info and couldn’t find anything and then I find out it was some random joke! All’s well that ends well I guess.

  • victoria s.

    Big-Big fan of Kai!

  • William – SF

    Apologies in advance, but the so called humor always falls flat on me, to the point that I change the station to something like Capital Public Radio – Jazz stream.

    And the voice – yeah, doesn’t work for me either – too much implied smiling and happiness associated with a weapon of mass destruction that has been Wall Street — okay, apologies for the hyperbole, too.

    …but Michael Krasny — yeah, now there’s someone worth listening to

  • Karen Wang

    Kai is the sexiest man on radio, and I want his voice on my home answering machine 😉 !

    Love your show Kai.

  • emily

    Holy Mac! I just tuned into Forum w/o realizing Kai was the guest! Marketplace was the singular reason why I started paying attention to business news and American economic issues & policy. This is from someone who used to not give a fig about such subjects. I listen to Marketplace every day when I can; it is thanks to Kai and his wonderful irreverence. BTW: it is NOT LA sounding.

    • Mjhmjh

      Same here. In matters financial, I have always been all but illiterate. I started listening to ‘Marketplace’ merely because KQED is my default car radio station. Suddenly, I realized that I was irritated when I missed the program. Now, I even subscribe to the podcast!

      I really appreciate Kai’s rare wit and his tongue-in-cheek presentational style, so maybe that’s his secret. But whatever the magic he has wrought to render business so fascinating to hitherto clueless and uninterested people like me, I am grateful for it. And I applaud his skill.

  • dmoore

    I look forward to listening to market place every day, it is most entertaining and informative… continue the good work

  • *too hot*

  • William – SF

    Ladies, ladies, ladies — geez, enough with the effusive comments.

  • Joanne

    My absolute favorite program on the radio. Kai makes my day! He makes me feel smart about business, the economy and the world, and inspires hope even when reporting dismal news.

  • Angie Rammer

    I listened to a news program (bbc?) after Apple earnings came out and they talked about how they missed their earnings. While Kai DID talk about this on Market Place — the FIRST day, he actually kinda soft soaped it … He mentioned Apple’s earnings, but cast it in a positive way (unlike the day after, where he did talk about the “miss”) Could Kai comment on this?

  • Katie Russell

    What’s up with your comment “Mondo was robbed” a few years ago? You watch Project Runway?!?

  • 4TheFundamentals


    KUDOS to Kai for what some of my fellow listeners have characterized as “curt”. I call it JOURNALISM. One of the biggest toxins in our media environment today is hosts who don’t ever bring the heat.

    Thanks, Bill

  • Emerson

    Kai! Big fan of your show, and of Forum also, of course. How do find the folks that you interview – such as the farmer and barge operator that were affected by the drought last summer?

  • Angie Rammer

    Also curious if Kai thinks there might be another housing boom/bust occurring. I was looking at the arc of prices in the San Jose area and was surprised to find that how much of the boom prices have been recovered.
    (BTW, Kai …I try to listen every day … love the show)

  • gareddg

    The best thing about Kai is that he dosn’t take him to seriously.Listen almost everyday and appreciate his interviews and how he will hold the interviewee’s feet the fire when indicated

  • echochen

    Love “Marketplace” ! Always tune in and sometimes laugh out loud, love the humor and the sincerity of the show, I only wish it were longer than 30 minutes.
    Just out of curiosity, do you still speak Mandarin?
    Thanks for the great show!

  • Andrea Reinhardt

    Please do another segment with the British guy who has a similar show in the UK. He was great! btw, I think the tone of the show is “real.” The way the people I know speak.

    • Mjhmjh

      If it’s permitted, would someone post the name of the presenter in question, please. I’m a British ex-pat and I listen to UK radio a lot (as well as to KQED daily!) But since I had zero interest in business before “Marketplace,” I’ve never listened to any other business programs. Now I’m interested!

  • Daphne de Marneffe

    I am always relieved when Kai Ryssdal is hard-hitting and serious and respectful. But so often he comes off as flip. As to his interview with President Obama, he could have easily managed to be sufficiently confrontational without his disrespectful tone. I am not sure Mr. Ryssdal can hear the difference, which has made listening to Marketplace increasingly difficult for me.

    • Wookie@home

      I believe flippancy is an in-born trait with Kai.
      He tries to pass it off as humor but humor is supposed to be funny.

  • serban

    What a treat! My two favorite voices of the radio being together on the same show!

    Just a comment: Kai’s unique voice and his speech rhythm are so infectious that the lady who fills in for him sometimes feels obliged to speak just like him!

    • Beth Grant DeRoos

      Agree 100%. Both Kai and Michael have voices one would listen to if they simply read a phone book. If they still made phone books.

  • CBKRyan

    Just wanted to say that the Chicago story about labor violations that ran earlier this week was just the kind of story NPR–hell, all media–should be doing more of. I was heartened and impressed, as I usually am by Marketplace. (And happy early b’day, Kai, from another 49-year-old turning 50 in October!)

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    As homeschoolers we LOVE Marketplace because the show holds your attention and provides information one wants to read more about. And Kai has a voice that is pleasant to listen to.

  • mountain_webbie

    Guess I am in the minority here, but I find Kai to be snarky and imagine him smirking as he speaks. I also find what he terms tough interviews to be unjournalistic as they express his viewpoint and are rude to his guests. I often turn to sports talk when it gets over the top.

  • Robert Pavel

    Am I the only one who is annoyed by the numbers; so much attention to the daily fluctuations of wall street. How is the average person served by listening to this emphasis on the very short term rather than a long growth and investment strategy?

  • I am super-artsy and could not believe how friendly
    “Marketplace” has been to me throughout the years. I was initially surprised my interest was sustained and now I rely and am inspired by the stories I hear. Thank you so much for enlightening me about the importance of economy and business in my life.

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Any plans to have David Cay Johnston on for an interview? He just wrote (in February) in the Sacramento Bee about how California is losing more 7 Billion in lost taxes by its citizens and corporations utilizing offshore tax havens:


  • theresa

    love both shows and hosts oh the dinner party you would create as guests

  • I just have to say what a great job I think Kai does. One day he opened with the statment that he was leaving marketplace. My first thought was that I wouldn’t want to listen any more. I’m sure that’s not fare to everyone else that make the show so great. I really do love the show!

  • Mike Walton

    I want to first say that this was the first time I’ve heard Forum. My local public radio station does not carry it (which I will take up with the Twin Cities KNOW folks separately!); I got to hear it after moving the XM satellite radio dial from CNN to NPR Now. Thanks for airing this program!

    Next, I want to say that I am also a longtime “Marketplace” listener and my best parts of the program are the “Let’s do the numbers” part in which either I hum along with “We’re in the Money!” (adding my own “weeees” to the song) or the “Stormy Weather” theme (in which I hum the bass) while listening to how the stock markets and other “economic indicators” did that day…and the final credits whereby I frequently find myself drumming my steering wheel to the song.

    I am really interested in how Kai Ryssdal got his start, as an intern at your station…as a college student and intern at the university’s public radio station, I too did the drudge jobs for eventually 4 to 7 minutes each week on a “this week on our campus” radio show. As a fellow military man, I can also appreciate the drudge work at the Pentagon (I worked for the Army’s public affairs shop for a period of time; however my “claim to fame” was that it was my public affairs “battalion” which developed and executed the Defense department’s media embedding program ten years ago last month). So your military experiences really do prepared you for the work leading up to “Marketplace” each day.

    Finally, I want to say thank you for developing such an entertaining way to hear the day’s business and economic news. Your show comes on differing times both down here in Tennessee where I work and up in Minnesota where I live; but I look forward in hearing it daily while helping to educate and entertain me at the same time. Keep up the great work!!

    (and if you’re reading, KNOW Public Radio in the Twin Cities: you really need to add “Forum” to your daily schedule. Need some money to put it on the schedule? Let’s talk! This is a good program and I’m sure you can find a place for Mike’s show!!)

  • Chris OConnell

    Missed the show but will have to listen. I love Rysdaal. He brings some personality to a professionally very bland broadcasting world.

  • Guest

    Kai Ryssdal is the smoothest dude on public radio whose name is not Roman Mars.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor