Merritt in 2018
Thomas Andrew Merritt|
June 28, 1970
Thomas "Tom" Andrew Merritt (born June 28, 1970 in Greenville, Illinois) is a technology journalist, writer, and broadcaster best known as the host of several podcasts. He is the former co-host of Tech News Today on the TWiT.tv Network, and was previously an Executive Editor for CNET and developer and co-host of the daily podcast Buzz Out Loud. He currently hosts Daily Tech News Show, Cordkillers, and Sword and Laser, among other shows.
Merritt was born in Greenville, Illinois, to a food scientist father who worked on the Coffee-Mate project. Merritt received a BS in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and pursued graduate work in communications at the University of Texas at Austin.
Merritt's career in radio began in 1986 as a DJ for WGEL, a country music station located in Greenville, Illinois. In 1993, he worked as an intern for National Public Radio's "Morning Edition". From 1999 to 2004 Merritt worked for TechTV in San Francisco as an Executive Web Producer and served as a radio host with TechTV until 2003.
Merritt started with CNET in 2004. In addition to his duties as co-host of Buzz Out Loud with Molly Wood, Merritt also had a regular column & podcast (co-hosted with Rafe Needleman) dealing with consumer technology. He also co-hosted the tech support call-in program CNET Live with fellow editor Brian Cooley, and was the host of CNET Top 5.
On April 16, 2010, Merritt announced he would be stepping down as co-host of Buzz Out Loud, and that he would be joining the TWiT.tv Network as a full-time daily host beginning June 1, 2010. During his last Buzz Out Loud episode on May 14, 2010 he announced that his main focus at TWiT.tv would be a new daily show, Tech News Today.
Prior to joining TWiT as an employee, Merritt had a long-standing working relationship with former TechTV colleague Leo Laporte's network having regularly appeared on This Week in Tech as either a guest or as a relief host. His general discussion podcast with Roger Chang, East Meets West, also featured on TWiT Live.
Tech News Today launched on June 1, 2010. Merritt was a regular host along with Sarah Lane, Iyaz Akhtar and Jason Howell.
Upon joining TWiT.tv, Merritt brought with him two shows previously produced by cartoonist Scott Johnson's Frogpants Studios. Originally started on July 7, 2009, "Fourcast" featured Merritt and Johnson inviting various guests to discuss the future and what it might contain in a so-called virtual fireside setting. Meanwhile, "Current Geek Weekly" is a weekly discussion of geek culture stories and the companion podcast to the Current Geek podcasts still produced by Frogpants Studios. Merritt still appeared on the Frogpants Network for a segment called "Tom's Tech Time" on Wednesdays on the Scott Johnson/Brian Ibbott-hosted podcast The Morning Stream.
On November 10, 2010, Merritt officially launched his second new show on TWiT, FrameRate. Focusing on video in its many and varied forms (television, film, internet), Merritt co-hosted the show with magician and NSFW podcast host Brian Brushwood.
On January 20, 2011, TWiT officially launched "Triangulation", a new show Merritt co-hosting with Leo Laporte and interviewing a notable figure in technology. In July 2012 he stopped hosting the show because he "wanted to work on other projects".
In addition to these regular shows, Merritt hosted live breaking news coverage of major technology events on TWiT Live such as WWDC, Google I/O, and the resignation and passing of Steve Jobs. These are later released as "TWiT Live Specials" podcasts. He has acted as a relief host for Laporte on TWiT, Windows Weekly, Security Now and other shows when Laporte has been unavailable.
On October 22, 2012, Merritt announced that he would be moving to Los Angeles to accommodate his wife's new employment at YouTube, but would still continue to present on the TWiT network over Skype.
On December 5, 2013, Leo Laporte announced that Merritt's contract would not be renewed. Leo stated that the decision was based on the need for an in-studio anchor for Tech News Today. Merritt hosted his last edition of Tech News Today on December 30, 2013.
Since February 4, 2008, Merritt has hosted Sword & Laser, a sci-fi based book club podcast, co-hosted with his former CNET colleague, Veronica Belmont.
On June 22, 2010, he launched a new show for Revision3, entitled Tom's Top 5. The show counts down a new Top 5 list every week, and is released every Tuesday. Its final episode was published on November 1, 2011. He did a similar show on CNET.
On March 3, 2013, Merritt and Molly Wood began the It's a Thing podcast. According to the site's about page, "It’s a Thing is a show grown from the brain of Molly Wood, derived from a regular segment on the CNET podcast Gadgettes. Tom and Molly started the hit podcast “Buzz Out Loud” which they co-hosted for years after the turn of the century. They missed doing shows together, so they decided that in itself, should become a thing. Again."
In 2012, newspapers reported calls by consumer groups to boycott Apple products in response to accounts of worker suicides and dangerous working conditions at the Foxconn plant in China. Merritt, who has followed tech news since 2005, responded by saying "Boycotts of Apple might be good to nudge Apple into doing something to improve conditions, but, you're going to have to boycott buying electronics if you really wanted to punish China. I'm not sure that that's called for, necessarily."
Citing a Forbes infographic showing Foxconn with, reportedly, fewer suicides per million workers (18) than the number of suicides per million Chinese citizens (220), Merritt suggested it might be worth investigating whether the lower rate at Foxconn may be due to "the fact that people who are gainfully employed are in some way less likely to commit suicide." There may be other reasons besides the working conditions at the plant for worker suicides.
Instead of boycotts, he advocated addressing the dangerous working conditions in a broader context. Comparing the conditions at Foxconn to coal mines of the 1800s and early 1900s, he added, "There may be similar types of abuses going on at Foxconn, but we have those kinds of conditions arise because the conditions that the workers are in before they take the job are worse. That doesn't excuse the conditions, but you don't just want to get rid of the factory. You don't want to just get rid of the coal mine and send people back into abject poverty. What you want to do is put pressure on the coal mine or the factory or whatever to begin to change their ways and improve those conditions so that everybody wins."
Merritt is married to Eileen Rivera and they live in Los Angeles, California, with their dogs Sawyer and Rey (another dog, Jango, died of natural causes on January 25, 2017), and formerly lived in Marin County and Oakland. Merritt is a fan of Major League Baseball's St. Louis Cardinals.
- "Pilot-X" 2017 ISBN 978-1942645313
- Boiling Point (Revised Edition) 1997 ISBN 978-0-6151-5790-0
- United Moon Colonies: Chronicles of the Clone Incident 2007 ISBN 978-1-3044-8909-8
- Chronology of Tech History 2012 ISBN 978-1-300-25307-5
- Lot Beta 2013 ISBN 978-1-304-17286-0
- Citadel 32: A Tale of the Aggregate 2015 ISBN 1312945923
- Tom Merritt on IMDb
- "CNET launches Podcast Central". The Online Reporter (494): 10. May 27, 2006. Retrieved November 23, 2007.
- Molly Wood and Merritt (September 18, 2007). "Buzz Out Loud 577: Steve Jobs' pants". http://bol.cnet.com (Podcast). Archived from the original on January 13, 2008. Retrieved October 21, 2007. External link in
- "Resume / CV". tommerritt.com. July 21, 2007. Retrieved October 21, 2007.
- "I'm changing some things. UPDATE". Tom Merritt .com. April 16, 2010. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
- "Coming June 1- Tech News Today with Tom Merritt". Tom Merritt .com. May 14, 2010. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
- Roger Chang and Tom Merritt (October 21, 2007). "East Meets West". subbrilliant.com/emw/ (Podcast). Retrieved October 21, 2007.
- Scott Johnson and Tom Merritt. "FourCast". fourcastpodcast.com/ (Podcast).
- Leo Laporte and Tom Merritt. "Triangulation". http://twit.tv/tri (Podcast). External link in
- Changes at TWiT, Part 1 | website = http://twit.tv/2013/12/05/changes-twit-part-1
- "Tom's Top 5: Most wanted products - Tom's Top 5". Revision3.com. Archived from the original on March 9, 2013. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
- Merritt, Tom. Boiling Point. Subbrilliant Media. ISBN 978-0-615-15790-0.
- "SuBBrilliant Blog » Boiling Point". Subbrilliant.com. July 15, 2006. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
- "SuBBrilliant Blog » UMC". Subbrilliant.com. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
- Harris, Paul (January 28, 2012). "Apple hit by boycott call over worker abuses in China". The Observer. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
- Curtis, Sophie (January 31, 2012). "Apple faces possible boycott over Foxconn investigation". Techworld. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
- "Host: Tom Merritt". Daily Tech News Show. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
- Colanduno, Derek. "Skepticality #176 - A Midsummer Night's Foxconn". Skepticality. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
- Worstall, Tim (January 30, 2012). "The Apple Boycott Graphically Explained". Forbes. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
- Worstall, Tim (January 29, 2012). "The Apple Boycott: People Are Spouting Nonsense About Chinese Manufacturing". Forbes. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
- "Twitter / acedtect: Traffic in San Francisco was". Twitter.com. January 3, 2013. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
- Tech News Today on the TWiT Network
- Tom Merritt.com
- SubBrilliant News
- East Meets West Podcast with Roger Chang
- the Sword & Laser Podcast with Veronica Belmont
- the Current Geek & Current Geek Weekly Podcast with Scott Johnson
- the FourCast Podcast with Scott Johnson
- Tom Merritt on IMDb
- The Real Deal column
- The Real Deal podcast