Michael Krasny, host of the popular "Forum" show on KQED, will step off the air in February. (Photo/From file)
Michael Krasny, host of the popular "Forum" show on KQED, will step off the air in February. (Photo/From file)

Bay Area public radio veteran Michael Krasny announces retirement

Michael Krasny, the longtime host of KQED’s news and public affairs program “Forum,” announced this week that he will be retiring in February.

In 1993, Krasny began hosting “Forum,” a talk show that over the years has welcomed cultural icons, public intellectuals and political figures including Noam Chomsky, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, Maya Angelou and Rosa Parks. The show is one of the top-ranked regional programs in public radio, according to KQED, with a weekly average of 246,000 listeners.

Born to a Conservative Jewish family in Cleveland, Krasny, 76, said he originally aspired to be a cantor. Instead, he studied English, earning a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin, and in 1970 he was hired to teach literature at San Francisco State University, where he is currently a professor.

Krasny is also the author of four books, including a “scholarly approach” to Jewish humor titled “Let There Be Laughter,” the topic of a 2016 cover story in J. Another book of his from 2010, “Spiritual Envy,” details Krasny’s journey from devout Jew to “reluctant” agnostic.

“I was brought up with a strong sense of Jewish faith and identity,” Krasny said in an interview with J. when the book was published. “When I’m talking about my own beliefs [today], I’m going away from the fold, and I recognize that for some people who still have that strong faith, it’s not necessarily something they look kindly on.”

According to a press release from KQED, Krasny will be hosting his last “Forum” show on Feb. 15, 2021. His plans are to “enjoy his retirement with family, including his first grandchild, to focus on writing and to explore other opportunities,” the press release said. In the meantime, the public radio station will be searching for a replacement. In July, KQED named news anchor Mina Kim as a “Forum” co-host.

“I want to thank all of the listeners, guests and exceptional colleagues I’ve had the great fortune to encounter over the years as host of Forum,” Krasny said in a statement. “I’ve been unusually fortunate to sustain such a long career serving the Bay Area in a role that allows me to participate in such rich and thoughtful conversations about the topics of our times.”

Gabriel Greschler

Gabriel Greschler is a staff writer at J. You can reach him at gabriel@jweekly.com and follow him on Twitter @ggreschler.