The Thomas Jefferson Hour

The Thomas Jefferson Hour is a syndicated public radio program and podcast produced in Bismarck, North Dakota. It features author-historian Clay S. Jenkinson in a first-person portrayal of Thomas Jefferson, the third US President, and is co-hosted by David Swenson.[3] Jenkinson remains in-character as Jefferson throughout the first half of the program, delivering monologues and answering listener questions regarding Jefferson's personal and political life and the history of early America. The character of Jefferson generally confines his discussion to matters of history, politics, and philosophy as indirect context for modern times, but at times provides a limited analysis of current events (carefully attempting to limit his analysis to matters on which the actual Jefferson's view might be meaningfully determined). In the second portion of the program, Jenkinson steps out of character to discuss his in-character answers during the first half of the show and also to talk generally about the topic of the episode.

The Thomas Jefferson Hour
Thomas Jefferson Hour logo
Running time60 minutes
Country of originUnited States
SyndicatesPrairie Public Radio
Hosted byDavid Swenson
Starring Clay Jenkinson
Created byClay Jenkinson
Recording studioMakoché Recording Studios
Bismarck, North Dakota
Original release1994 (1994)[1] – present
No. of episodes1400+[note 1]


The Jefferson Hour began production in Reno, Nevada in the 1990s.[1] For 12 years, Jenkinson collaborated with co-host Bill Chrystal[4] (not to be confused with commentator Bill Kristol), a Congregational pastor and fellow historical interpreter. Chrystal was not the original co-host of the program, however.[5] Jenkinson moved back to North Dakota in 2005, and introduced himself at Swenson's Makoché Recording Studios. Swenson agreed to co-host the program for a few transitional weeks, but has now been the "semi-permanent guest host" for 17 years.[2]


  1. ^ This count reflects the current episode number. In episode #987, however, Swenson explains that a numbering discontinuity was introduced when the program moved to North Dakota.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Episode #998 Interchange of Sentiments" (Podcast). 18 November 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Episode #987 At The Barn" (Podcast). 2 September 2012.
  3. ^ "Jefferson Hour "About" page". The Thomas Jefferson Hour. The Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Bill Chrystal biography". Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Episode #996 Round Two" (Podcast). 4 November 2012.

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