Leonard Lopate's weekday talk show on WNYC AM and FM ("The Leonard Lopate Show") features guests who are already celebrities, some who are in the process of becoming celebrities... plus a fair sprinkling of the just plain interesting and eccentric. Politicians, poets, painters, novelists, filmmakers, actors, dancers and anyone else capable of stimulating conversation is welcome, including more than a few Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners. It is the highest rated local public radio talk show in the country.
On his other show, "Survival Kit" (broadcast Sunday afternoons on WNYC AM and on Friday afternoons on AM and FM), well-known people in the arts get more personal as they discuss the items they would need to bring along with them if they were to spend a few snowed-in months in a log cabin.
Mr. Lopate appears regularly at one of New York's most prestigious cultural venues, the 92nd Street Y, where he interviews celebrities and moderates his on-going panel series, "Comparing Notes." He has also appeared in a similar capacity at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Queens College, the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library, the Alliance Francaise and the New School and created a series of discussions on literature for the international writer's organization, PEN.
Mr. Lopate came to radio relatively late in life. He was trained as a serious painter (he studied with Ad Reinhardt and Mark Rothko) and worked in advertising for fifteen years. But when he was given a chance to host his first talk show in 1977, he was hooked. What began as a momentary whim has become his life's work. And his background in art and literature (and in the commercial world) has been a major factor in his success because, no matter how esoteric the topic, he always strives to keep it entertaining.
NOTE: Bio is as it appeared in the Forum program from November 7, 2003.
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