Media people

13 things we didn't know about Kai Ryssdal of 'Marketplace'

kai-ryssdal-vf.jpgVanity Fair works some fun biographical facts on Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal into its November issue. Included are details on how he maintains his haircut, his European and Navy aviator roots, some personality tics and what it was like to show up at KQED in San Francisco as a 34-year-old intern. This being Los Angeles, there is some background on his rides. Samples:

A former hotshot naval aviator and Pentagon hand turned Chinese-speaking foreign-service officer, Ryssdal hit a record-scratch moment when his fellow F.S.O. wife got into business school, taking them from Beijing to Menlo Park. Shelving paperbacks for $7.25 an hour at a local Borders, Ryssdal happened to crack a volume containing listings for radio-journalism internships. In the 15 years since, he’s gone from cutting together tape as a 34-year-old KQED intern to charming President Obama (who was impressed with his service record), grilling Nancy Pelosi and Donald Rumsfeld alike, and going bearish on Larry Summers’s Fed-chair potential—all tonic to the show’s five million weekly listeners....


The ’71 Cutlass is long gone. And today, when he climbs into his 12-year-old Honda minivan with 180,350 miles on it, rumbling the 13 miles into downtown Los Angeles to work, he misses the blue drop-top. Arriving at Marketplace by 7:15 A.M., he goes straight into editorial news meetings, tapes interviews from 8 to noon, then writes and plans the show—it mixes major business headlines with quirkier feature stories on the economy—until hitting the air at 2. After four, he’s back in the van.

The haircut graf is revealing: "The maintenance of his ballyhooed haircut—it has been described as a white man’s hi-top fade—involves a visit to Martha at the HairMasters in La Crescenta every six weeks, as well as a fortifying varnish with something in the John Paul Mitchell product family."

The November issue of Vanity Fair has the New Establishment list for 2013. Among those listed this year are Elon Musk (#5) of Tesla and Space X, actress Jennifer Lawrence (#30), web journalism creators Nate Silver and Bill Simmons (#35) and comedians Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers (#39).


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