Bob Garfield is a columnist, critic, essayist, pundit, international lecturer and obscure broadcast personality. He isn’t exactly a media whore, but he’s extremely promiscuous.
Garfield is co-host of National Public Radio’s weekly Peabody Award-winning program on the media, cleverly titled “On the Media.” He is also a columnist for both MediaPost and The Guardian , writing on the subjects of marketing and media, respectively. The Guardian column is slightly longer because of superfluous vowels in words like “labour.”
For a dozen years, Garfield was a commentator/correspondent for NPR‘s “All Things Considered.” Dubbed by The New York Times “the Charles Kuralt of Bizarro World,” he specialized in quirky Americana. A 1997 collection of his roving weirdness, Waking Up Screaming from the American Dream, was favorably reviewed and quickly forgotten.
For 25 years, Garfield wrote the AdReview column in Advertising Age, and became the most feared and influential commentator of advertising who ever lived, if you don’t count Jay Leno. Garfield was the longtime advertising analyst for ABC News. He’s been a regular on Financial News Network, CNBC’s “Power Lunch” and “Adam Smith’s Money Game” on PBS. He also served as a political-advertising analyst for CBS, before being bounced in 1992 following an unfortunate Green Room incident. It was his most traumatic TV experience since “Oprah” in 1991, when he was humiliated by Mr. Whipple before a live studio audience.
As a lecturer, panelist and emcee, he has appeared in 36 countries on six continents, including such venues as the Kennedy Center, the U.S. Capitol, the Rainbow Room, Broadway’s Hudson Theater, the Smithsonian, Circus Circus casino, Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium (Grand Ole Opry), the United Nations, Harvard, Columbia and Princeton universities and, memorably, a Thai Kickboxing ring in Cape Town, South Africa.
He’s been a contributing editor for the Washington Post Magazine, Civilization and the op-ed page of USA Today. He has also written for The New York Times, Playboy, Atlantic, Sports Illustrated, Wired and many other publications.
His 2003 manifesto on advertising, And Now a Few Words From Me, is published in eight languages (although, admittedly, one is Bulgarian). His 2009 book, The Chaos Scenario, accurately predicted the agonizing death of the very industries that constitute his livelihood. His prescription for salvation, Can’t Buy Me Like, will be published by Penguin Portfolio in March 2013. His first novel, Bedfellows was published in the fall of 2012. Garfield co-wrote “Tag, You’re It,” a snappy country song performed by Willie Nelson, and wrote an episode of the short-lived NBC sitcom “Sweet Surrender.” It sucked. He is also the co-host of a Slate.com podcast on language titled Lexicon Valley. That’s pretty good, actually.
Garfield has won many journalism prizes including some doozies and two National Press Club poker championships. He lives in suburban Washington, DC, where, in separate incidents 11 months apart, he was twice rear-ended by federal employees.