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Ok here’s the official bio:
Tess Vigeland is a veteran journalist, and a well-known voice to millions of American radio listeners. She is the CEO of Tess Vigeland Productions, a Los Angeles-based multi-media company. Tess spent 11 years as an anchor for public radio’s Marketplace, including six hosting the personal finance show Marketplace Money. Her first book, titled “Leap: Leaving A Job With No Plan B to Find the Career and Life You Really Want,” was published in August 2015, by Random House Harmony. When she’s not locked away writing, Tess can be heard as a backup anchor for NPR’s All Things Considered, as well as KCRW’s To The Point and KPCC’s Take Two in Los Angeles. She also serves as a professional emcee, speaker, panel moderator, and interviewer for conferences and other events. Tess also writes for The New York Times and The Guardian, among numerous other publications.
Here’s the rest of the story.
I had my dream job in broadcast journalism for 20 years. For a good chunk of that, I anchored a national radio show about personal finance for public broadcasting’s Marketplace. For various reasons, I quit that job in the fall of 2012 without having Plan B lined up, or even any idea what I wanted to do next. I flailed around for several months, berating myself for the most foolish decision of my life. Meantime I came deliciously close but got rejected for what would have been the second job-of-a-lifetime. Then in July of 2013, I gave a speech about all this to an auditorium of nearly 3,000 strangers and an editor from a major publishing house was in the audience and 11 days later I landed a book deal with Random House. That book is now out in the world, and you can find it here! (And check out the audiobook, narrated by yours truly.)
It’s been an incredibly fortunate time for me, and you can read about the journey on the pages of this website, and also by subscribing to my newsletter (there’s a link on the front page). I don’t spend as much time on Twitter as I probably should, but you can still follow along for what I’m reading about and writing there, and I love meeting new friends on Facebook, so feel free to send a request (this is a link to my personal page — there are also links to my professional author page all over this website).
I started my career as a reporter at the public radio/TV station in Portland, Oregon, after graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. My official bio could tell you about all the snazzy awards I won as a reporter, but I’m pretty sure you’d rather hear that the story that made my career involved a certain figure skater whose husband and a band of thug idiots whacked Nancy Kerrigan on the knee in 1994 and launched the story-that-would-not-die. Yes, I covered Tonya Harding for public radio for months because she was from Portland, and to this day I thank her for her service to my career. I also hosted a weekly television show called Seven Days and produced an hour-long documentary about safety issues at the U.S. Army chemical weapons depot in Eastern Oregon. But really, it’s all about Tonya.
After four years at OPB, I was asked to join the toy department, i.e. the sports show, at public station WBUR in Boston. I reported and backup hosted for NPR’s Only A Game, and after leaving that program, served as a general assignment reporter for the station. After that I left journalism for the private sector for three years, working for a high-tech PR agency during the dot-com boom-and-bust. Someday I need to write a whole other book about that experience.
In 2001, I got the surprise of a lifetime when my favorite public radio show, Marketplace, called to ask if I was interested in moving to Los Angeles to anchor its overnight broadcasts. Why yes, I certainly was, and for the next 11 years, I covered business and economics in the way only Marketplace can — with creativity, panache, and the ability to explain the unexplainable (collateralized debt obligations, anyone?). For six of those years, I hosted the weekly personal finance program Marketplace Money, where along with guest experts, I took calls from listeners and tried to help with their most intractable money management questions. I also traveled the country for live stage shows of Marketplace and Marketplace Money. And just before I left in fall of 2012, I got a fancy award — the first-ever Excellence in Personal Finance Reporting Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association and the National Endowment for Financial Education.
I’ve written and reported for The New York Times, The Guardian, and numerous other publications, and now I’m a frequent guest host at public stations KPCC and KCRW in Los Angeles, as well as NPR’s All Things Considered. I do all kinds of emcee work, including keynote speaking, and onstage interviews at conferences. I’m also dabbling in voiceover, and have served as the voice of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses digital program guide for the 125th and 126th Rose Parades®.
I love animals and spent years raising money for the Pasadena Animal League and Pasadena Humane Society. In my late 30s, I also went back to the first love of my life, classical piano, and studied at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music. One of the scariest things I’ve ever done was give a solo recital when I turned 40 — but it went remarkably well! In the fall of 2012, I actually ran a half-marathon (and will never, ever do so again), and now, while I finish up writing my book, I’m also teaching myself photography. (That’s a link to my photo website, and my Instagram feed is below.)
I’m still not sure what my second career is going to look like, but I’m having an awful lot of fun while I figure it out. Thanks for visiting — and please get in touch and say hi. There’s nothing I love more than hearing from former listeners and others who want to share their stories. But before you do anything else… be sure to make a pledge to your local public radio station!