KQED Radio's Michael Krasny is one of the country's leading interviewers of literary luminaries, a maestro for educated listeners who prefer their discourse high and civil. He is a writer's interviewer. But it didn't start out that way.
In Off Mike, Krasny, host of one of public radio's most popular and intellectually compelling programs, talks of his strong desire to become a novelist in the footsteps of Saul Bellow and Philip Roth, and then discovering his real talent as a communicator -- a deft ability to draw others out as an interlocutor.
In a mix of memoir and reportage, Krasny takes readers inside his world -- his coming of age during the heady times of the 1960s with their blend of the civil rights movement and political activism, to the vivid description of his journey from a student of literature to a struggling novelist to an educator and -- somewhat accidentally -- a radio host. Krasny gives an account of the polarizing transformation of talk radio, from his early days at KGO commercial radio, through to his current role at NPR, where he manages to keep the flow of talk in his San Francisco-based show animated and politically balanced.