Duncan Strauss

Radio host

What happens when you blend animal activism, journalism and music into one half-hour radio program? The jam-packed Talking Animals, show on WMNF 88.5. On the second Wednesday of each month, host Duncan Strauss fuses animal-themed music, news and pop quizzes around an extensive interview with one of today's foremost animal experts, from biologists to veterinarians to animal rights advocates.

Strauss, 49, worked as a Los Angeles Times reporter for 10 years, covering the comedy and music beats. He began Talking Animals in 2003 while living in Northern California, moved to Florida in 2005 and immediately petitioned WMNF for a time slot.

Strauss has landed such well-known guests as Jean-Michel Cousteau (son of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau), Peter Singer (ethicist and author of Animal Liberation), Bob Barker, Janeane Garofalo and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. "I don't pass myself off as an animal expert," he says. "The guest is the expert."

Although a dedicated animal rights advocate and vegetarian, Strauss doesn't browbeat his audience with long-winded rants. "The show is not shrill and it's not preachy," he explains. "I think you get better results that way."

As a talent manager, Strauss represented several comedians and comedy writers, most notably Bill Hicks. He also co-owns the Cap City Comedy Club in Austin, Texas.

Strauss and his family run the Donald A. Strauss Foundation, which gives public service scholarship to college students, including a handful of Rhodes Scholars.

For his May 9 show, Strauss interviews People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals vice president Dan Mathews, who created some of PETA's most provocative campaigns. For archived shows, visit talkinganimals.net.

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