This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Posts here are rare these days. For current stuff, follow me on Mastodon



December 2004

David Brudnoy

I just saw this news on Drudge. It makes me very sad.

Brudnoy, in cancer’s grip, prepares for end

David Brudnoy’s voice has filled the cars and kitchens of the everyday and the elite for nearly three decades, his thoughts shaping the way tens of thousands of listeners view the world beyond their doors. But yesterday, the radio talk-show host could muster little more than a raspy whisper as he confided that a rare form of untreatable cancer has overwhelmed his body, and he expects to die within days.

”I’m ready,” said Brudnoy, 64, in an interview in his room at Massachusetts General Hospital, oxygen tubes in his nostrils and the light from a picture window highlighting deep caverns that have opened on his face.

”I’ve said innumerable prayers within

tradition and other traditions,” he said. ”I think whatever happens I will be able to contend with it.”

”I don’t believe in pitchforks and harps,” added the declared agnostic.

(via Drudge Report)

I started to listen to David Brudnoy when he first came onto WBZ. Must have been around when I was in 8th or 9th grade when he replaced Larry Glick, who I had listened to on the same station before him. But while Larry Glick was essentially a comedian with a light hearted show on interesting and quirky people, David Brudnoy was all politics. Um… and movies… :-)

But he was not of the ilk you usually hear on talk radio today, with extreme positions and everything cultiovated to cause controversy and to push a political agenda. No, Brudnoy took an intellectual approach. He made sure he knew his facts when he approached a subject, and while he had strident views, would make sure he understood in depth those of his opponants as well. His obvious depth of knowledge and background research set the tone. If you came on with Brudnoy you had to know your stuff, and you had to argue based on reason and facts, NOT on emotion.

I was hooked. From the day he came on the air, until I left for college, I would fall asleep each night listening to David Brudnoy on WBZ Boston.

In a way you could not find anywhere else on radio or television, except perhaps PBS and NPR, on Brudnoy’s show you got long in-depth detailed discussions of the issues of the day. And it was not “dumbed down”. Brudnoy expected… and got… listeners who educated themselves and did their homework and thought through their arguments. If a caller was not able to articulate themselves or defend their argument well, they would only be on a minute or two… but unlike other shows, if a caller was smart and well reasoned and knew their stuff, Brudnoy would sometimes keep them on for the greater part of an hour.

Unlike PBS and NPR’s typical commentators, Brudnoy was not a Liberal. He was not a Conservative either. He was a classical die hard Libertarian willing to take on “both sides”. For me at the time it was a refreshing and eye opening viewpoint that I was not hearing from other channels. I did not know such a point of view existed, and it appealed to me immediately. As I listened to Brudnoy religiously through until my graduation from high school, his style of argument, his intellectualism, and yes, his political views influenced me greatly during my formative years.

Did I agree with everything he said? No. Not even close. I often disagreed violently. In some cases I simply could not believe how someone that seemed so smart on so many things could be so wrong on others. But the process of listening to him, and the way he articulated his viewpoints and backed them up rationally was refreshing and deeply affected how I approached things myself.

Many of the opinions and ideals I formed while listening to the Brudnoy show still guide me today, although perhaps softened a bit with the years. And because of listening to Brudnoy, I got involved in college talk radio at WRCT in Pittsburgh. My time at WRCT, perhaps more than anything else during my college years, is what I would identify as the “critical experience” that formed me in that time period.

Once in college though, I did not listen to Brudnoy anymore. At least not often. With KDKA in Pittsburgh at 1020 and WBZ in Boston at 1030, I just was no longer able to get the station reliably while living in Pittsburgh. I’d still listen occationally when I was visiting DC or Maryland on holidays, but I fell out of the habit. When I later moved to Virginia and later New Jersey and Pennsylvania the schedules were just not right. I never remembered to tune in, and with the FCC letting other stations crowd in on the old “clear channels” like WBZ, it was harder to get good reception. I missed it though.

For the last 10 years Brudnoy has been struggling with health issues of various sorts. He has been close to death many times in those years. After recovering from one of them, he wrote Life is not a Rehersal. Reading this book was my major exposure to Brudnoy since I was a regular listener in high school. It is basically his life story, most of which as a listener I had no inkling. While he made some very bad choices at a few times in his life, he also struggled through a lot, and came out on top, and with his dignity. It did nothing but increase my level of respect for this man.

Over all the years though, I never called into David Brudnoy’s show. I never felt quite worthy. In retrospect, I think I could have been a good caller. But I never felt like I had just the right thing to call in about. Now I regret that.

David, you are leaving with the same self respect and dignity you always showed in life. Aside from family and friends who I have known personally, you are probably one of the biggest influences I have had on my life. I thank you for that. You will be missed.