Stephen Thompson Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music. He appears frequently on All Songs Considered and Pop Culture Happy Hour.
Washington, DC - May 03, 2016: Stephen Thompson CREDIT: Matt Roth
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Stephen Thompson

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

Stephen Thompson

Writer/Editor, NPR Music and Host, Pop Culture Happy Hour

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the 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. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)

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 NPR programs such as Weekend Edition, 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 girlfriend, his daughter, their three cats and a room full of vintage arcade machines. (He also has a large adult son who has headed off to college but still calls once in a while.) Thompson's 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 (who returned the favor by making a 22-minute documentary about his life) and maintaining a fierce rivalry with all Midwestern states other than Wisconsin.

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Brandy Norwood and Whitney Houston play Cinderella and her fairy godmother in Disney's beloved production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. Courtesy of Walt Disney/Storyline/Citadel/Kobal/Shutterstock hide caption

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Courtesy of Walt Disney/Storyline/Citadel/Kobal/Shutterstock

Still A Shoe-In: The Charms Of 'Cinderella'

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Frances McDormand stars as Fern in Nomadland. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures hide caption

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Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

Mark Cuban fields pitches from aspiring entrepreneurs on an episode of ABC's Shark Tank. ABC hide caption

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ABC

Daniel Kaluuya portrays Fred Hampton in new film Judas And The Black Messiah. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Inc. hide caption

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Courtesy of Warner Bros. Inc.

Taylor Swift has kept busy during quarantine with two new albums under her belt; today, the artist announces a return to her beginnings, with a new remake of her album Fearless. Beth Garrabrant/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Beth Garrabrant/Courtesy of the artist
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Mark McKinney as Glenn, Lauren Ash as Dina, and America Ferrera as Amy in the sixth season of Superstore. Greg Gayne/NBC hide caption

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Greg Gayne/NBC

The Weeknd performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show at Raymond James Stadium on February 07, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images hide caption

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Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Hayley Williams. Her surprise new solo album, Flowers for Vases – descanos, is on our list of the best new albums out on Feb. 5. Lindsey Byrnes/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Lindsey Byrnes/Courtesy of the artist

New Music Friday: The Top 10 Albums Out On Feb. 5

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Celeste. Her new album, Not Your Muse, is on our shortlist for the best albums out on Jan. 29. Elizabeth Porodina/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Elizabeth Porodina/Courtesy of the artist

New Music Friday: The Top 8 Albums Out On Jan. 29

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Patrick Fugit and Kate Hudson in Cameron Crowe's 2000 film Almost Famous. Neal Preston/Dreamworks Llc/Kobal/Shutterstock hide caption

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Neal Preston/Dreamworks Llc/Kobal/Shutterstock

Willie Jones. His latest full-length, Right Now, is on our shortlist of the best new albums out on Jan. 22. Gordon Clark/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Gordon Clark/Courtesy of the artist

New Music Friday: The Top 8 Albums Out On Jan. 22

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Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany star as Wanda Maximoff and Vision in WandaVision. Courtesy of Marvel Studios hide caption

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Courtesy of Marvel Studios

William Zabka and Ralph Macchio star as Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso in Cobra Kai's second season. Guy D'Alema/Netflix hide caption

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Guy D'Alema/Netflix