SAYING GOODBYE TO BRUDNOY. Fine pieces today by the Boston Globe's Brian McGrory and the Boston Herald's Mike Barnicle (sub. req.) on David Brudnoy, the legendary talk-show host of WBZ Radio (AM 1030) and a fixture in the city since the 1970s.
Dean Johnson of the Herald has a good account of "The Last David Brudnoy Show," hosted last night by former 'BZ host Peter Meade, a close friend of Brudnoy's. The Meade show was a fitting tribute to Brudnoy. I listened for the first hour, and was especially moved by my friend "Seth from Hull," my friend and occasional collaborator Harvey Silverglate, and by Paul Sullivan, a WBZ host who is himself battling cancer.
Here is the interview that Gary LaPierre did with Brudnoy yesterday. There's a streaming-audio version online, too; if you haven't heard it yet, please try it. Brudnoy's courage and dignity are beyond comprehension.
We are about to lose a truly amazing man.
FACT-CHECKING SEVERIN. While Boston was saying goodbye yesterday to a true giant of talk radio, a new-generation talker, Jay Severin, was attempting to rip apart Boston Globe columnist Scot Lehigh during his afternoon show on WTKK Radio (96.9 FM). It was truly enough to make you doubt the theory of evolution.
I'm not going to get into the merits of Lehigh's latest attack on Severin, except to say that I basically agree with Lehigh. But just in case any card-carrying members of the Best and Brightest are reading Media Log today, I want to take a closer look at a few things Severin said, in the possibly vain hope that they will come away Better and Brighter.
My usual caveat in these situations: I was in my car and wasn't rolling tape. I'm confident that this is accurate, but you're not going to see any direct quotes.
First, in an attempt to demonstrate Lehigh's alleged insignificance and his own incomparable awesomeness, Severin breathlessly told his listeners that if you search for Jay Severin on Google, you will come up with 26,400 hits. Wow! That must mean he's, like, a master of the universe or something. (I see this morning that it's down to 26,200 hits. These things fluctuate.)
Of course, a master of the universe can't be expected actually to learn how to use Google. But as every good Googler knows, you've got to put a full name in quotation marks, like this - "Jay Severin." Otherwise, you'll get everything that has the word "Severin" and everything that has the word "Jay." If you use the quotation marks, and eliminate all those stories about the Toronto Blue Jays, jaywalking, and Jay Peak, what do you get? How does 6970 hits sound?
Now, that's still not too shabby, I think we can agree. But let's do a quotation-mark search for "Scot Lehigh." Oooh - 3610 hits. Not as many as Severin, but not bad. Besides, there are hits and there are hits.
Which brings me to a second point. Severin claimed that Lehigh knew nothing about national politics because he's never covered national politics. I believe he said something about Lehigh covering garbage pick-up in Revere or some such thing. In fact, Lehigh has covered several presidential campaigns. And here is a link that Severin might not want the Best and the Brightest to know about: it's to the website for the Pulitzer Prizes. I can't find a way to create a direct link, but if you drill down, you'll see that Lehigh was a finalist for a Pulitzer in national reporting in 1989, for his coverage of the '88 presidential campaign, when he was a reporter for the Boston Phoenix.
(Here's a meaningless aside that I can't resist: if you Google "Dan Kennedy," you will get 155,000 hits - just a few more than Severin's almost-7000. As you'll see if you do this, there are four different Dan Kennedys on the first page of results alone, so the comparison's not exactly fair. But hey, Best and Brightest! I hold down four of the top five unsponsored slots!)
Third, Severin boasted about the number of times he's been interviewed by the national media. It's true - he has. I searched "news transcripts" on Lexis-Nexis and came up with 868 examples. The vast majority, though, seemed to be appearances on Imus in the Morning and from his old talking-head shtick on MSNBC - and for some reason, a number of those appearances were listed multiple times. So it's actually quite a bit less than 868.
Severin said he had been interviewed by Tom Brokaw; Lexis-Nexis contains zero evidence of that ever having happened. (Lexis-Nexis isn't perfect, so I wouldn't call that dispositive.) Severin also said he had appeared on Nightline. I had better luck with that, coming up with three appearances - the most recent of which occurred in 1995.
Severin is eminently well-credentialed to do what he does; take that any way you like. What's interesting, though, is that Lehigh, in the course of expressing some pretty harsh opinions about Severin, said nothing that was even remotely untrue. Severin, in fighting back, couldn't manage to get through the 10 or so minutes that I was listening without making several whoppers.