"Ian Shoales" is the pen name used by Merle Kessler, under whose tattered banner he has been churning out cranky commentaries since 1979. His acerbic observations were first heard on NPR's "All Things Considered," from 1979 to 1988. He has since been featured on NPR's popular news program, "Morning Edition," on ABC's "Nightline," and online in Salon Magazine.

In addition, various pieces have been printed in newspapers (NY TIMES, LA TIMES, MINNEAPOLIS TRIBUNE, WASHINGTON POST, and USA TODAY, among others), and satirical essays by Ian Shoales have appeared in the Utne Reader, Mademoiselle, and elsewhere. Currently Shoales has a weekend morning slot on San Francisco's KQED. And he is heard on the public radio program, Philosophy Talk (which can be streamed and/or downloaded at philosophytalk.org), where he puts a button on things at the end of the show.