Derek John

Associate Producer Derek John joined Studio 360 in 2004 and is currently the show's News Editor. The Kansas native first caught the radio bug from a local doo-wop deejay who called himself "the daddio of the rad-dio." Derek eventually hosted his own radio shows at KU's legendary KJHK, before moving to New York in 2001.  He worked for PBS' Bill Moyers and NPR's On the Media before freelancing all over public radio on subjects ranging from early hip-hop to the future of books. His reporting has taken him from the bowels of Grand Central Station to a hot rod shop in the Mojave Desert and won numerous awards. Recent productions include a feature on Tea Party protest music, the first ever 3-D radio broadcast, and a documentary on The Autobiography of Malcolm X. His writing has appeared in New York, The New York Sun, and the Village Voice. He holds a Masters in Cultural Reporting & Criticism from NYU, where he currently teaches a radio reporting course.

Derek John appears in the following:

July 12, 1979: 'The Night Disco Died' — Or Didn't

Saturday, July 16, 2016

One muggy Thursday, 50,000 rowdy rock fans packed Chicago's Comiskey Park to see disc jockey Steve Dahl blow up a crate of disco records. That evening's stunt helped birth a new musical movement.


American Icons: 'The Outsiders'

Thursday, May 05, 2016

S.E. Hinton was a teenager herself when she wrote a novel that broke all the rules of young adult fiction.


Have 5 Hours To Spare? See Bolaño's Epic '2666' Onstage

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Roberto Bolaño's posthumous novel 2666 weighs in at more than 900 pages — a challenging read, to say the least. Now Chicago's Goodman Theatre has adapted it as a 5 1/2 hour stage production.


American Icons: "The Autobiography of Malcolm X"

Thursday, January 28, 2016

When Malcolm X was assassinated at 39, his book nearly died with him. Today it stands as a milestone in America’s struggle with race.

Comments [6]

That Time NPR Turned 'Star Wars' Into A Radio Drama — And It Actually Worked

Friday, December 18, 2015

In the 1980s, NPR looked to the film saga to help boost audience numbers. it bought the rights from George Lucas (for $1) and got the original Luke Skywalker. The result was an overwhelming success.


Aha Moment: Peanuts in Panama

Thursday, November 26, 2015

How Victoria de Puy and her daughter Geraldine came to understand their relationship through the friendship of Snoopy and Woodstock.


40 Years Later, The Cast Of 'Cooley High' Looks Back

Friday, June 26, 2015

A classic of black cinema celebrated its 40th birthday on June 25. Cooley High showed a slice of urban life rarely seen in "blaxploitation" movies of the time. Set in Chicago's Cabrini-Green housing project, it became a touchstone for filmmakers like John Singleton and Spike Lee.

The opening credits ...


Classic Of Black Cinema, 'Cooley High,' Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Amid the blaxploitation craze, Cooley High showed a slice of urban life rarely seen on the big screen. It is a bittersweet coming-of-age story set in Chicago's notorious Cabrini-Green housing project.


Discovering an Imaginary Soul Star

Thursday, March 19, 2015

He’s made more albums than anyone else, but you’ve never heard a note he’s played.

Comments [2]

Herb Alpert Isn’t Complaining

Friday, August 29, 2014

The leader of the Tijuana Brass kicked off a 50-year career in music by zoning out and missing his cue in an orchestra performance.


Talib Kweli's Rap With a Conscience

Friday, April 25, 2014

Talib Kweli made a name for himself in the late ‘90s as one half of the hip hop duo Black Star, with Mos Def. Since then, Kweli has carried on the tradition of socially conscious hi...

Comments [2]

Romare Bearden: An Artist in Winter

Friday, January 04, 2013

Probably the most famous African-American visual artist of the 20th century, Romare Bearden was best known for a singular approach to collage art that incorporated scraps of wallpaper...

Comments [7]

Craig Marks: I Want My MTV

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thirty years ago, hardly anyone knew what a music video was. On the night MTV was launched, its founders — a ragtag bunch of music fans and rookie television execs — took a bus from M...

Comments [42]

Marvin Hamlisch's Hollywood

Friday, August 10, 2012

For almost half a century, the composer Marvin Hamlisch made his way into our heads with ballad after show-stopping ballad, including “What I Did for Love” from A Chorus Line and the ...

Comments [2]

Aha Moment: Whoopi Goldberg

Friday, June 01, 2012

WNYC listener Julie Bayley grew up watching daytime talk shows to catch comics like Rodney Dangerfield. But there weren’t any comedians like her: female and black. Then Bayley saw W...

Comments [3]

Barry Sonnenfeld's Movie Master Class

Friday, May 25, 2012

The big, splashy comic book movie has become a fairly predictable piece of Hollywood machinery. So it’s easy to forget just how radical and fresh Men In Black seemed when it came out...

Comments [6]

Mo Willems Remembers Maurice Sendak

Friday, May 11, 2012

Best known for his breakthrough 1963 picture book Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak's long career involved one wild rumpus after another. "You have to remember, he's from a g...

Comments [4]

American Icons: The Outsiders

Friday, May 04, 2012

Susan Eloise Hinton was a teenager when she wrote The Outsiders, the story of rival gangs in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She used the pen name “S.E.” so readers wouldn’t know she was a girl, an...

Comments [11]

Recession Wanes, But Artists Still Starving

Friday, April 27, 2012

We’ve been inundated with reports of corporate layoffs and manufacturing jobs vanishing. But the creative class has been particularly hard hit. In an ongoing series for Salon, repo...

Comments [20]

Wayne Coyne's Lips Are On Fire

Friday, April 20, 2012

Back in the 1980s, the Flaming Lips were just an alternative rock band from Oklahoma. They toured for a decade before finally hitting it big in 1993 with their song “She Don't Use Je...