Jesse Thorn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Jesse Thorn
Photo of Jesse Thorn speaking into a microphone. He is caucasian and wearing a coat and tie.
Born (1981-04-24) April 24, 1981 (age 39)[1]
ShowBullseye with Jesse Thorn
Station(s)Maximum Fun
NetworkNational Public Radio Public Radio International (formerly)
CountryUnited States

Jesse Thorn (born April 24, 1981) is an American media entrepreneur and public radio and podcast host/creator. He is the owner and founder of the Maximum Fun podcast network, and the host and producer of the podcasts Judge John Hodgman and Jordan, Jesse, Go!.[2] and the radio show and podcast Bullseye. Bullseye (formerly The Sound of Young America), is distributed by National Public Radio[3] to several hundred public terrestrial radio stations.[4] In addition to his work in radio and podcasts, Jesse Thorn also hosted the television program The Grid, which formerly aired on IFC, and The Sound of Young America, which aired on Current, and runs a blog and web video series devoted to men's fashion called Put This On.[5] As an actor, he has appeared on stage with the sketch comedy group Prank the Dean and on IFC's Comedy Bang Bang.[6]

Early life[edit]

Thorn grew up in San Francisco, California, where he attended Discovery Center School, The Nueva School[7] and Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts.[8] He graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he cofounded The Sound of Young America and worked as news director of the campus radio station KZSC.[9] The Sound of Young America began as a college radio variety show featuring Thorn and two other cohosts, Jordan Morris and Gene O'Neill.[10]


Near the end of 2004, Thorn began to make his show, The Sound of Young America, available as a podcast. A few months later, Thorn received a call from the director of programming at PRI, who had heard one of the podcasts and expressed interest in distributing the show.[9] In 2006 WNYC-FM, a public radio station in New York City, picked up the show, and PRI decided to distribute it.[8] By September 2008 the show was carried on 18 public radio stations, in addition to the podcast.[4][8]

Thorn and the show were mentioned in The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine and,[9][11][12] with Salon describing Thorn's interviewing style as combining "the civility and preparedness of [Terry] Gross leavened with the good humor of [Conan] O'Brien."[13]

In 2006, Thorn and former Sound of Young America co-host Jordan Morris launched another podcast, Jordan, Jesse, Go![8] Thorn has also produced several other podcasts for, including Elizabeth Gilbert's Magic Lessons, the scripted comedy series Bubble, Coyle & Sharpe: The Imposters[citation needed] and The Kasper Hauser Comedy Podcast.[14] He was also a part of sketch comedy group Prank the Dean,[15] along with Morris, Lauren Pasternak and Jim Real.

Over time, The Sound of Young America (now Bullseye), which had had a variety talk show, became more focused on interviews. Thorn has interviewed many notable personalities on his show, including Dolly Parton, Greta Gerwig, Jay Leno, Antonio Banderas, Jeff Goldblum and E-40. Thorn also interviewed Stephen Colbert as a part of iTunes's Meet the Author series.[9]

Thorn has become notably identified with a philosophy he calls "New Sincerity." A USA Weekend article cited the "New Sincerity" segment of the show as a listeners' favorite, and quoted Thorn's explanation of the concept as "a rejection of irony."[16] Thorn has promoted New Sincerity on his program, in his blog[17] and in interviews,[15][18][19] [20][21] and was named as a popularizer of New Sincerity in a scholarly work discussing the similar novaia iskrennost' concept in Russian post-Soviet aesthetic theory.[22]

Thorn has been an important leader in the podcast business. Fast Company called him "the most important person in entertainment you've never heard of" and "the Zelig of modern culture."[23] In 2011, the magazine chose him as one of the 100 most creative people in business.[24] In 2009, Jesse helped comedian and podcaster Marc Maron to set up the microphones and software necessary to produce his WTF with Marc Maron podcast from his garage. Maron thanked Jesse again for this on the podcast's 300th episode.[25] Jesse is also the coproducer of the public radio broadcast version of Maron's podcast.

In 2012, The Sound of Young America was renamed Bullseye while continuing to have much of the same format as before.

In 2017 and 2018, Thorn released a podcast series on the art of interviewing, entitled "The Turnaround." It featured interviews with interviewers on interviewing, including guests such as Dick Cavett, Katie Couric, Werner Herzog, Larry King and Terry Gross.[26]

Personal life[edit]

On August 9, 2008, Thorn married Theresa Hossfeld in San Francisco, California.[8] In August 2011, Theresa gave birth to their first child.[27] In a January 19, 2017 tweet, Thorn announced that his oldest child is a transgender girl, stating, "My oldest kid is my daughter Grace. For now and the foreseeable future." [28] In October 2013, Theresa gave birth to a son, named Oscar.[29] In February 2017, Thorn announced the birth of their third child, Curtis.[30] In April 2013, Theresa Thorn became the co-host, along with Biz Ellis, of the Maximum Fun podcast "One Bad Mother."[31]


  1. ^ Thorn, Jesse; Morris, Jordan (March 8, 2011). "Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 166: Dress Mess with Maria Bamford | Maximum Fun". Maximum Fun. Event occurs at 1:16:00. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  2. ^ "Jesse Thorn | Maximum Fun". Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  3. ^ Ellis, Justin (2013-02-11). "Jesse Thorn hits a Bullseye, moves his show to NPR » Nieman Journalism Lab". Retrieved 2013-11-02.
  4. ^ a b List of stations, at Maximum Fun website.
  5. ^ "Put This On • Put This On: Season One". 2011-09-16. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
  6. ^ "Jesse Thorn". Maximum Fun. 2019-04-25. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  7. ^ "The Nueva School - Thorn '95 Featured in Fast Company". Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  8. ^ a b c d e Vows: Theresa Hossfeld and Jesse Thorn, New York Times, September 6, 2008.
  9. ^ a b c d Rappaport, Scott (April 2, 2008). "Maximum Fun: Alum Jesse Thorn woos young listeners with a new brand of radio show". UC Santa Cruz Review. Santa Cruz, California. Archived from the original on February 22, 2010. Retrieved October 23, 2009.
  10. ^ Jesse Thorn, "My Life As America's Radio Sweetheart" Archived 2008-07-03 at the Wayback Machine, Metro Santa Cruz, August 23–30, 2006.
  11. ^ Keith Huang, "Blog Watch: "The Sound of Young America", Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2006, copy available here [1].
  12. ^ "The Pick of the Podcasts, TIME, May 2, 2006.
  13. ^ Ira Boudway, "Longer listens: Peter Guralnick, Art Spiegelman and some lost Van Morrison tracks on the 'Sound of Young America'", Archived 2009-07-05 at the Wayback Machine, November 14, 2005.
  14. ^ "Jesse Thorn Bio" Archived 2009-05-17 at the Wayback Machine at PRI website.
  15. ^ a b Ben Kharakh, "Jesse Thorn, America's Radio Sweetheart" Archived 2008-09-29 at the Wayback Machine in Gothamist, posted November 2, 2006.
  16. ^ Dennis McCafferty, "Top podcast picks: Favorites from experts in their category,"[permanent dead link] USA Weekend, January 14, 2007. (Thorn's program was the in-print "podcast pick" of comedian Patton Oswalt.)
  17. ^ Jesse Thorn, "A Manifesto for The New Sincerity," February 17, 2006.
  18. ^ Mann, Merlin (June 4, 2007). "Interview: Jesse Thorn, Part 1". The Merlin Show (Podcast). No. 19. Archived from the original on September 13, 2017. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  19. ^ Dan Brodnitz, "An Interview with The Sound of Young America's Jesse Thorn," Archived 2008-10-19 at the Wayback Machine O'Reilly Digital Media, posted September 15, 2008.
  20. ^ But see Bill Forman, "Müz: The New Ambiguity," Metro Santa Cruz, March 8–15, 2006 (opining that New Sincerity is "just another ironic hoax").
  21. ^ Tycho (Jerry Holkins), "The Valley Of The Shadow of Death" at Penny Arcade, March 1, 2010 (accessed March 2, 2010) ("The New Sincerity is simply The Old Irony, with better PR.")
  22. ^ Alexei Yurchak, "Post-Post-Communist Sincerity: Pioneers, Cosmonauts, and Other Soviet Heroes Born Today," in Thomas Lahusen and Peter H. Solomon, What Is Soviet Now?: Identities, Legacies, Memories (LIT Verlag Berlin-Hamburg-Münster, 2008), ISBN 978-3-8258-0640-8, p.258 n.3, excerpt available at Google Books. Andrew W.K.(Noting that "the turn to post-postmodern sincerity . . .is associated with the events of 9/11" and "'new sincerity' has been popularized since 9/11 by some youth media (for example, by Jesse Thorn, the host of a popular music program Sound of Young America, on New York's National Public Radio station WNYC).
  23. ^ Rabin, Nathan (2015-08-06). "Meet The Most Important Person In Entertainment You've Never Heard Of". Fast Company. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  24. ^ "Meet Jesse Thorn, one of Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People 2011". Fast Company. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  25. ^ WTF with Marc Maron - Episode 300
  26. ^ "The Turnaround with Jesse Thorn". Maximum Fun. 2017-06-09. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  27. ^ Thorn, Jesse (August 6, 2011). "Grace Thorn, Born August 5th, 2011". Retrieved February 11, 2012.
  28. ^ "Jesse Thorn on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2017-02-19.
  29. ^ Thorn, Jesse (October 25, 2013). "JesseThorn: Oscar Thorn was born this morning..." Retrieved December 16, 2013.
  30. ^ Thorn, Jesse (February 13, 2007). "Jordan, Jesse Go! episode". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  31. ^ Thorn, Theresa. "One Bad Mother". Retrieved 26 August 2014.

External links[edit]