Audience grows for Sandusky native's philosophy radio show

If bad times in the economy inspire Americans to become more philosophical, Stanford University professor Kenneth Taylor is here to
Tom Jackson
May 24, 2010

If bad times in the economy inspire Americans to become more philosophical, Stanford University professor Kenneth Taylor is here to help.

The 54-year-old Sandusky native and Sandusky High School graduate reports the audience is growing for his National Public Radio show, "Philosophy Talk."

"I think we're about to have a major breakthrough," Taylor said. "We're being picked up by more stations."

The hour-long show is still mostly carried by public radio stations in Oregon and California but also is heard over stations in Louisiana and New York and has just been added in West Virginia, Taylor said. The show is in negotiations to be added by more stations across the United States.

The show's strategy is "to get into all of the urban markets and all of the college towns, where thinking people congregate," Taylor said.

Radio listeners "are hungry for serious reflection that doesn't talk down to them," he said.

The show isn't carried by radio stations in Ohio yet, but Erie County residents can listen to streaming video at the show's Web site, philosophytalk.org, or visit the show's Facebook page.

Kent State University public radio station WKSU broadcasts to north-central Ohio via WNRK in Norwalk.

Mark Urycki, the station's programming director, said it would be hard to fit the show into the station's programming schedule.

"I've heard of it, but I haven't really considered it seriously," Urycki said. "It sounds like an intriguing show."

Toledo's WGTE, also audible in Sandusky, has a format that Philosophy Talk doesn't fit readily into either, said Tom Paine, program manager for the station. There are many programs the station cannot carry because of time constraints.

Taylor's academic career also is going well. Stanford appointed him to an endowed chair, the Henry Walgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy.

Taylor had been chairman of Stanford's philosophy department but gave up the administrative post -- giving himself more time to write, think and teach.

He returns to Sandusky once or twice a year to visit his parents, Samuel and Seretha Taylor.

Taylor, whose show has studied whether allegiance to baseball teams is irrational and arbitrary, is a lifelong Cleveland Indians fan and still follows the team closely.

The Indians' fate this year "depends a lot on whether (Sal) Fasano's the real deal or just a bust, like he was with the Yankees," Taylor said.