Eric Deggans

NPR television critic

click to enlarge Eric Deggans - Photo by Heidi Kurpiela
Photo by Heidi Kurpiela
Eric Deggans

Eric Deggans is a journalist, author, pundit and public speaker. In October of 2013, he left his longtime post as the TV and media critic at the Tampa Bay Times to do what he does best (dissect our hottest television obsessions) for NPR.
A high-profile, critically acclaimed voice at the Times , Deggans fittingly devoted his final column to critiquing the high-profile, critically acclaimed finale of the AMC series Breaking Bad . The impetus for his 2012 book, Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation , was a jab from Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, who called Deggans one of the “worst race-baiters in the country.” Deggans responded by writing a book. A longtime resident of St. Petersburg’s Old Southeast neighborhood, Deggans also performs as a drummer, bassist and vocalist with several area bands. He’s the first TV critic to land a staff job at NPR.
Favorite place to read a book: Fort De Soto Park.  “I tend to do most of my reading at home, but if I’m going to do it outside, I like a good park. Fort De Soto has some cool structures. I recently sat on the fort stairs and opened up my iPad.”

Favorite restaurant to meet for an interview: Z Grille, St. Pete. “It’s got a cool atmosphere. You’re surrounded by all that energy, but it’s still quiet enough to talk. Plus, we were seated quickly. The best restaurants for interviews have good ambience and you can get in and out without a wait. I hate long waits. Long waits suck.”

Favorite caffeine fix: Kahwa Coffee on 2nd Ave S., St. Pete. “Kahwa is my second home.” 

Favorite breakfast: The Uhuru booth at the Saturday Morning Market. “I will drive out of my way to get the Uhuru breakfast wrap. The guys at that booth see me coming and they know me by name.”

Favorite place for an adventure: Ybor City. “When I first moved to Tampa Bay, Ybor was like the Wild West. There were raves until 5 in the morning. Kids would be sprawled out on the sidewalk. If you dared to go to Ybor for Guavaween, you seriously worried about whether you’d make it out in one piece. That was more than 15 years ago. Ybor is much tamer now, which is better for the city. It’s still got some edge. It’s just a little less dangerous.”

Where he goes to listen to music: The Hideaway, St. Pete. “It’s an intimate place where you really get a true feel for the artist. People don’t go there to hear background music.”

Where he goes to play: The Ale and the Witch, St. Pete. “The acoustics are great. People go there to hear bands doing something distinctive.”

Favorite picnic spot: Philippe Park, Safety Harbor. “It’s this really cool park nestled in the middle of Safety Harbor. It’s a great place to reserve a shelter for a 4th of July picnic.”

Favorite touristy thing to do with the family: Pier 60, Clearwater Beach. “The sunsets are beautiful. The playground is huge and they show movies on a big outdoor screen on Friday and Saturday nights.” 

Where you’ll find him on a Sunday: “At home, binge-watching British crime dramas. I’m a TV critic. That’s the best kind of lazy Sunday!”

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