Jesse Thorn

Jesse Thorn
Born (1981-04-24) April 24, 1981[1]
San Francisco, California, United States
Show Bullseye with Jesse Thorn
Station(s) Maximum Fun

National Public Radio

Public Radio International (formerly)
Style Interview
Country United States
Website Official website

Jesse Thorn (born April 24, 1981) is an American public radio show host/creator. He is the host and producer of the radio show and podcast Bullseye (formerly The Sound of Young America), which is distributed by National Public Radio[2] to 25 public terrestrial radio stations in 13 states[3] and is also broadcast weekly on XM Radio's "XM Public Radio" channel.[4] He also hosts the podcasts Judge John Hodgman and Jordan, Jesse, Go!, as well as the television program The Grid, which formerly aired on IFC. Jesse Thorn also runs Put This On,[5] a blog and web video series devoted to men's fashion.

Early life

Thorn grew up in San Francisco, California, where he attended The Nueva School[6] and Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts.[7] He attended University of California, Santa Cruz, where he cofounded The Sound of Young America and worked for the campus radio station KZSC.[8] The Sound of Young America began as a college radio variety show featuring Thorn and two other cohosts, Jordan Morris and Gene O'Neill.[9]


Near the end of 2004 Thorn began to make the show available as a podcast. Thorn and the show were mentioned in The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine and,[8][10][11] 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."[12] 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.[8] In 2006 WNYC-FM, a public radio station in New York City, picked up the show, and PRI decided to distribute it.[7] By September 2008 the show was carried on 18 public radio stations, in addition to the podcast.[3][7]

Also, Thorn and Jordan Morris host another podcast, Jordan, Jesse, Go![7] Thorn has also produced several other podcasts for, including Coyle & Sharpe: The Imposters and The Kasper Hauser Podcast.[13] He is also a part of sketch comedy group Prank the Dean,[14] along with Morris, Lauren Pasternak and Jim Real.

Over time, The Sound of Young America became more focused on interviews. Thorn has interviewed many notable personalities on his show, such as Nick Hornby and Nellie McKay.[7] Thorn also interviewed Stephen Colbert as a part of iTunes's Meet the Author series.[8] 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."[15] Thorn has promoted New Sincerity on his program, in his blog[16] and in interviews,[14][17][18] [19][20] 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.[21]

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.[22] 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.

Personal life

On August 9, 2008, Thorn married Theresa Hossfeld in San Francisco, California.[7] In August 2011, Theresa gave birth to a baby boy they named Simon.[23] In October 2013, Theresa gave birth to their second son, named Oscar. [24] In September 2016, Theresa announced the couple were expecting their third child. [25] In April 2013, Theresa Thorn became the co-host, along with Biz Ellis, of the Maximum Fun podcast "One Bad Mother."[26]


  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. Ellis, Justin (2013-02-11). "Jesse Thorn hits a Bullseye, moves his show to NPR » Nieman Journalism Lab". Retrieved 2013-11-02.
  3. 1 2 List of stations, at Maximum Fun website.
  4. List of programs at XM Public Radio website.
  5. "Put This On • Put This On: Season One". 2011-09-16. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
  6. "The Nueva School - Thorn '95 Featured in Fast Company". Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Vows: Theresa Hossfeld and Jesse Thorn, New York Times, September 6, 2008.
  8. 1 2 3 4 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. Retrieved October 23, 2009.
  9. Jesse Thorn, "My Life As America's Radio Sweetheart", Metro Santa Cruz, August 23–30, 2006.
  10. Keith Huang, "Blog Watch: "The Sound of Young America", Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2006, copy available here .
  11. "The Pick of the Podcasts, TIME, May 2, 2006.
  12. Ira Boudway, "Longer listens: Peter Guralnick, Art Spiegelman and some lost Van Morrison tracks on the 'Sound of Young America'",, November 14, 2005.
  13. "Jesse Thorn Bio" at PRI website.
  14. 1 2 Ben Kharakh, "Jesse Thorn, America's Radio Sweetheart" in Gothamist, posted November 2, 2006.
  15. Dennis McCafferty, "Top podcast picks: Favorites from experts in their category," USA Weekend, January 14, 2007. (Thorn's program was the in-print "podcast pick" of comedian Patton Oswalt.)
  16. Jesse Thorn, "A Manifesto for The New Sincerity," February 17, 2006.
  17. Mann, Merlin (June 4, 2007). "Interview: Jesse Thorn, Part 1". The Merlin Show (Podcast). Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  18. Dan Brodnitz, "An Interview with The Sound of Young America's Jesse Thorn," O'Reilly Digital Media, posted September 15, 2008.
  19. But see Bill Forman, "Müz: The New Ambiguity," Metro Santa Cruz, March 8–15, 2006 (opining that New Sincerity is "just another ironic hoax").
  20. 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.")
  21. 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).
  22. WTF with Marc Maron - Episode 300
  23. Thorn, Jesse (August 6, 2011). "Simon Thorn, Born August 5th, 2011". Retrieved February 11, 2012.
  24. Thorn, Jesse (October 25, 2013). "JesseThorn: Oscar Thorn was born this morning...". Retrieved December 16, 2013.
  25. Thorn, Theresa (August 18, 2016). "One Bad Mother Episode 167". Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  26. Thorn, Theresa. "One Bad Mother". Retrieved 26 August 2014.

External links

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