Longtime Greenbrae resident Michael Krasny is celebrating his 20-year anniversary this month as the host of KQED’s Forum, having taken over in February 1993 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.’”
In doing so, Krasny shifted over to the interviewee’s chair for a Forum episode and took questions from host Dave Iverson and a bevy of fans, looking back on a stint that saw the 68-year-old Krasny sit down with the likes of Jimmy Carter, Robert Redford, John Updike, Al Gore, Kurt Vonnegut and Maya Angelou, among hundreds of others.
During the hour-long conversation, Krasny also reflected on his start in radio at the upstart rock radio station KTIM in Marin in 1980. Krasny was the host of a show called Beyond the Hot Tub, a name for which Krasny joked that he had to “take responsibility.”
Krasny, a tenured English professor at San Francisco State, defended the moniker, however, saying he felt critical stereotypes of Marin during that era were misguided.
“This was an era when Marin County was very much in the news as a place as supposed hedonism, peacock feathers, hot tubs,” Krasny said. “In particular, former President George Bush referred to it as ‘that hot tub place’ and took flack from people who knew him from Marin because they didn’t like that stereotype. And I didn’t either because there are really some exceptional people living here really dedicated and doing the kind of work that ought to get recognition so I thought let’s call it beyond the hot tub.”
The station, owned by the Marin Independent Journal in the 1970s and 1980s, “when the DJs smoked pot, spun vinyl and had the likes of Bob Marley and the Plasmatics traipsing through the studio,” according to an IJ article in 2007.
Krasny later went on to work at KGO for many years before heading to public radio, which he referred to as “the promised land” for someone like him. “If you have a wide range of interests and are curious about a lot of things and you want to bring light, then it’s probably one of the best jobs that one could possible imagine," he said.
Click here to listen to the entire Michael Krasny interview, which is also embedded above.