Information Diet: Joel Hyatt

Current's CEO makes time to devour 'Mad Men' and 'The Borgias'

Age 62
Accomplishments Co-founder and CEO of Current Media; former National Finance Chair for the Democratic Party
Base New York and San Francisco

What’s the first information you consume in the morning?
The first thing I do in the morning is reach over to my BlackBerry and check my emails. Then I turn on Bill Press and Stephanie Miller, who anchor our 6 a.m.-to-noon block on Current.

What do you read or watch or listen to at the breakfast table?
I don’t want to have the interference of noise and what have you—I actually try to speak to my wife and be human for a few minutes before I go back into my information overload.

What occupies your mind in the car, on the subway, train or bus?
Work! When I’m in California, I have a terrific 35-minute drive from my home to the office, and I get a lot of my best ideas either in the shower or on that drive. I do keep NPR on, or I’m on the phone, I hate to say.

Are you a TV junkie or on an airtime-restricted diet?
I don’t have enough available time to be a TV junkie. I try to make a point to watch Current’s prime-time shows, and that takes a good chunk of time. I also watch things like Mad Men, The Borgias and Boardwalk Empire. I also watch both MSNBC and CNN on occasion, partly because it’s important to know what the competition is doing and how they’re doing it.

Before bed, do you bite into a novel, graze on Twitter or fast until morning?
I’ll occasionally tune into the monologues on Letterman or Leno or try to catch a few minutes of Jon Stewart, but it’s very irregular. Typically I do a final check of email and Twitter, then when I get in bed, I pick up a book. Right now I’m reading Michael Sandel’s new book, What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, which is fascinating.

Give us the skinny on your favorite app.
It’s such a sore subject for me to talk about apps. When my wife and I are out socially and she pulls out that iPhone and starts talking with someone about the latest apps, it drives me crazy. As soon as the dinner conversation goes to apps, it’s impossible to get away from it.

What’s on your required reading list?
I read The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times every day and The Economist every week, and I always read the collection of daily clips that’s sent to the senior team at Current. And, of course, I stay current with Twitter. Kara Swisher [of AllThingsD] always links to great things.

With such a bloated media universe, how do you cut out the fat?
It’s hard. I don’t have the luxury to drift very far from the kind of information I actually need to absorb on a regular basis, which is unfortunate because that means I miss a lot of things that are interesting and fun.