Stephen Thompson Stephen Thompson is an editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he writes the advice column The Good Listener and fusses over comma placement. He is also a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered, and appears every week on Pop Culture Happy Hour.
Washington, DC - May 03, 2016: Stephen Thompson CREDIT: Matt Roth
Stories By

Stephen Thompson

Matt Roth/NPR
Washington, DC - May 03, 2016: Stephen Thompson CREDIT: Matt Roth
Matt Roth/NPR

Stephen Thompson

Writer/Editor, NPR Music

Stephen Thompson is an editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he writes the advice column The Good Listener, fusses over the placement of commas and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the weekly NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk.

In 1993, Thompson founded The Onion's entertainment section, The A.V. Club, which he edited until December 2004. In the years since, he has provided music-themed commentaries for the NPR programs Weekend Edition Sunday, All Things Considered and Morning Edition, on which he earned the distinction of becoming the first member of the NPR Music staff ever to sing on an NPR newsmagazine. (Later, the magic of AutoTune transformed him from a 12th-rate David Archuleta into a fourth-rate Cher.) Thompson's entertainment writing has also run in Paste magazine, The Washington Post and The London Guardian.

During his tenure at The Onion, Thompson edited the 2002 book The Tenacity Of The Cockroach: Conversations With Entertainment's Most Enduring Outsiders (Crown) and copy-edited six best-selling comedy books. While there, he also coached The Onion's softball team to a sizzling 21-42 record, and was once outscored 72-0 in a span of 10 innings. Later in life, Thompson redeemed himself by teaming up with the small gaggle of fleet-footed twentysomethings who won the 2008 NPR Relay Race, a triumph he documents in a hard-hitting essay for the book This Is NPR: The First Forty Years (Chronicle).

A 1994 graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Thompson now lives in Silver Spring, Md., with his two children, his girlfriend, their four cats and a room full of vintage arcade machines. His hobbies include watching reality television without shame, eating Pringles until his hand has involuntarily twisted itself into a gnarled claw, using the size of his Twitter following to assess his self-worth, touting the immutable moral superiority of the Green Bay Packers and maintaining a fierce rivalry with all Midwestern states other than Wisconsin.

[+] read more[-] less

Story Archive

Brittany Luse, Eric Eddings, Glen Weldon, Linda Holmes and Stephen Thompson at the Bell House in Brooklyn on January 12, 2019. Mike Katzif/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Mike Katzif/NPR

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary RGB. Magnolia Pictures/CNN Films hide caption

toggle caption
Magnolia Pictures/CNN Films

The Documentary And Foreign-Language Oscar Noms: How To Watch, And What You Need To Know

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/694506103/694751659" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Kacey Musgraves poses in the press room during the 61st Annual Grammy Awards on February 10, 2019. Amanda Edwards/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Kacey Musgraves holds the four Grammys she won Sunday night. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy hide caption

toggle caption
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

10 Takeaways From The 2019 Grammy Awards

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/693411961/693468567" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

In The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Batman (Will Arnett) and Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) team up to fight a new enemy. Warner Bros. hide caption

toggle caption
Warner Bros.

Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during the Super Bowl Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. Al Bello/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Al Bello/Getty Images

Cherry Glazerr's fourth full-length, Stuffed and Ready, is on our short list for the best albums out on Feb. 01. Pamela Littky/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption
Pamela Littky/Courtesy of the artist

New Music Friday For Feb. 1: The 6 Albums You Need To Hear Now

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/690368074/690395613" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Gwilym Lee (as Brian May) and Rami Malek (as Freddie Mercury) star in Bohemian Rhapsody, which is nominated for best picture at the 91st Academy Awards. Twentieth Century Fox hide caption

toggle caption
Twentieth Century Fox

'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 'Vice' and 'Green Book' Are Best Picture Nominees — Why?

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/689950986/690512980" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Netflix's Tidying Up With Marie Kondo is a different kind of cleaning show — one that prioritizes self-care. Netflix hide caption

toggle caption
Netflix

Compton rapper Boogie's new album Everything's For Sale is on our short list for the best albums out on Jan. 25. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of the artist

New Music Friday For Jan. 25: The 6 Albums You Should Hear Now

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/688215355/688227129" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Roma got a ton of nominations at this year's Academy Awards, and it more than warrants the praise. Carlos Somonte/Netflix hide caption

toggle caption
Carlos Somonte/Netflix