The city of San Francisco is designating Monday as “Michael Krasny Day” in recognition of his retirement, as decided by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
Michael Krasny, longtime host of KQED’s acclaimed radio show, “Forum,” and SF State professor of English literature, is set to retire on Monday. The resolution for Michael Krasny Day was unanimously approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Feb. 2.
It’s different this time around because this time, I’m leaving the stage.”
— Michael Krasny
Supervisor Aaron Peskin said that Krasny discharged his duty as a member of the press in a way where he cared about the public, looked at the right things and held us accountable.
“[Krasny] did it in a way that was kind and not mean, and may that be an example for future generations of people in the press,” Peskin said.
This is the fourth time the city has acknowledged such a day for Krasny. Former San Francisco mayors Art Agnos, Frank Jordan and Willie Brown declared Michael Krasny Day in 1990, 1994 and 2003, respectively.
For Krasny, this bittersweet recognition is a notable departure from the prior three.
“It’s different this time around because this time, I’m leaving the stage,” Krasny said. “Positive recognition in a career is always very affirming, and certainly something that makes one feel good. I’m honored.”
Krasny added that he is touched by all the congratulatory remarks he has received since he announced his retirement in November.
“There’s been so much outpouring, it’s been so gratifying,” Krasny said. “The kinds of things that people say about the impact you have or what they remember of you, especially if they’re generous in their remarks … it’s gratifying. It’s very moving.”
Krasny has been at the helm of KQED’s Forum since Feb. 15, 1993, which falls exactly 28 years ago on this year’s Michael Krasny Day. In that time, Krasny has interviewed a plethora of prominent figures, including former First Lady Hillary Clinton, anthropologist Jane Goodall and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Spike Lee. Krasny called the number of high-profile people he has interviewed an “embarrassment of riches,” but according to him, that does not necessarily mean they are the most memorable.
“The programs that I tend to come back to in my thoughts are ones of a lot of ordinary people and exceptional people doing extraordinary things,” he said.
Holly Kernan, chief content officer at KQED, called Krasny’s breadth of knowledge “legendary.”
“It’s been lovely to hear from so many audience members who have been touched by Krasny over the years, and who have relied on his steady and curious voice to help them understand the news and get insight and connection in their communities,” Kernan said. “He will be missed but he definitely deserves to have a break after 28 years of hosting Forum.”
It’s one I’m proud of, and one I have wonderful memories of. I had so many great colleagues at San Francisco State whose memories I honor and treasure.”
— Michael Krasny
In addition to his retirement from Forum, Krasny is also retiring from a 51-year run as a professor in English literature at SF State.
“I came after the San Francisco State strike,” Krasny said. “I was asked to teach Black literature, which for me was very challenging as a white guy, the year after the strike … it was some of the most rewarding teaching I’ve ever done.”
Regarding his career at SF State, Krasny said, “It’s one I’m proud of, and one I have wonderful memories of. I had so many great colleagues at San Francisco State whose memories I honor and treasure.”
Krasny described his sentiment for retiring as “going with the flow.” While nothing is set in stone, he plans to spend time with his granddaughter, potentially get a dog, play more poker, occasionally lecture and teach, and complete a book he’s been working on, tentatively titled “True Honor.” The book, which holds strong importance to Krasny, is set to be a scholarly work that contemplates “the whole nature of honor and what it means.”