Kai Ryssdal


Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, the most popular program on business and the economy – radio or television, commercial or public broadcasting – in the country.

Since joining the flagship Marketplace broadcast in 2005, Ryssdal has told stories of the world through an economic lens –whether exploring the pace of change on the ground in China or, from London, making sense of Brexit for an American audience.  He’s traveled to cities big and small across the United States, telling the stories of people for whom policy and theory have real world ramifications. Ryssdal speaks regularly with policymakers including the Federal Reserve Chair, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Director of the White House National Economic Council. He interviewed President Obama twice in the Oval Office and once on a folding chair in the middle of the Nevada desert.

While Ryssdal talks to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies often, his favorite conversations are with everyday participants in the American economy, including a shopping mall manager in Butte, Montana, a 3rd generation barge company owner in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and an apple and hops farmer in Washington’s Yakima Valley.

Ryssdal’s been a voice of calm for listeners through two decades of economic change and crisis, from the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, the collapse of Enron, the financial crisis and the Great Recession and the unprecedented pandemic shock to the American and global economies. He appears often on CNBC, CNN, and CBS News. Kai won a 2012 Emmy for a PBS FRONTLINE documentary about money in politics called Big Sky, Big Money.  His written work has been featured in the New York Times and The Atlantic. He’s frequently called on as a moderator, including at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Fortune Brainstorm, and Fast Company Innovation.

Before his career in broadcasting, Ryssdal spent eight years in the United States Navy, flying from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and, later, with the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.  He also served in the United States Foreign Service, with postings to Ottawa, Canada and Beijing, China. Kai is a graduate of Emory University and Georgetown University.  He’s the immediate past Board Chair of the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus and is a referee for youth, high school, and college soccer across Los Angeles. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and four children.


Photo by Marketplace