Host Terry Gross continues her series of interviewers with Fresh Air contributors. Today she talks with John Leonard, whose criticism appears widely. As a college student he considered a life of political activism before deciding that writing was were his strengths lay. A recovering alcoholic, Leonard describes how, even while he bottomed out, he still delivered copy to his editors.
Rock Critic Ken Tucker. It's another in the continuing series of interviews with Fresh Air's contributors. Ken tells us how a frustrated college poet found himself in crowded clubs listening to punk bands and being paid for it.
Fresh Air's Television Critic David Bianculli. Bianculli has worked as television critic at several metropolitan papers, including The Akron Beacon Journal, The Fort Lauderdale News and The Philadelphia Inquirer. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone and the Washington Journalism Review. He is currently the television critic for The New York Post.
John Peck, who also goes by the names The Mad Peck and Dr. Oldie, now focuses his professional interests on TV. His new book, called Mad Peck studio, anthologizes two decades' of his comics and writing.
David Marc is a television critic for The Village Voice and Atlantic magazine, and also a professor at Brandeis. Marc thinks that it is important to analyze television with more depth than is currently done. His new book , "Demographic Vistas: Television in American Culture," plays on the title of a Walt Whitman essay "Democratic Vistas." Marc views television and its demographic analysis as an "ironic" fulfillment of Whitman's call for an American art that focuses on the "average, democratic, and popular."
British actor Jonathan Miller gave up a medical career to pursue acting. His career led him to become a television critic, director, and producer. He eventually returned to medicine, and is a practicing neurologist and medical writer.
Tom Shales is the film critic for NPR and a television critic and t.v. editor at the Washington Post. His column is syndicated in nearly 150 newspapers, including the Philadelphia Daily News. A collection of Shales' t.v. columns from 1974-1982, "On the Air," has just been published.