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Eric Petersen

 
Posts from April 2014


He set the bar for the rest of us...




45 years ago massive anti-Vietnam War demonstrations occurred in U.S. cities, the Milwaukee Bucks signed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lew Alcindor), and Paul McCartney said there is no truth to rumors he was dead… at the same time I was on the verge of celebrating my third birthday…  and a guy named Eugene “Bud” Brown was about to start at his first job in the broadcasting business.

I grew up in an era when radio was still the “King” of the entertainment world. I remember my father telling me stories of listening to Arthur Godfrey and Milton Berle, not to mention the famous Orson Well’s broadcast “War of the Worlds” on his radio (since there was no such thing as TV yet) on the farm he’d grown up on. As a result, I held the profession of disc jockey in extremely high esteem.

Years past and I found myself a huge fan of DJs like Casey Kasem, and Rick Dees, and of course NEPA’s own Harry West… but I also revered the names in news radio like Ray McGuire and Joe Martin, Phil Cummings and of course Bud Brown.

I went nowhere without a radio (I had one on the handlebars of my bike). I sang along with all the songs and I often found myself repeating the intros that they said back as a sort of DJ practice exercise, and only hoped that one day I too could be behind the microphone and have as great and respected of a job as they had. But I never thought I could ever be a newsman… that was reserved for only the best in the business.

Many years later I was hired for my first job in the broadcast business here at Entercom. As formal introductions were being made, I was walked into the WILK newsroom. Seated in the corner, facing his computer monitor was a slight man, with a driving cap that he would seldom remove from year to year named Bud. As I shook his hand it wasn’t his face that I recognized but his booming and commanding voice that drew my awe… I then realized I was now working with a legend.

My dad had listened to talk radio in his shop for as long as he was employed, and as is the format in such a station, the news is delivered every thirty minutes. If I were to spend any amount time at my fathers shop, I would hear the voice of Bud surging through the room!

I’ll never forget the story of the attempt on then President Ronald Reagan’s life, or when Dale Earnhardt was killed in a race in Daytona, or the chilling updates of September 11th… but I’ll also always know it was Bud Brown who delivered them to me. I also will always remember that an iconic man with more broadcast hours than I will ever be able to attain, who should’ve laughed at me as a rookie, always viewed me as a peer, thus setting yet another bar decidedly out of reach!

Some people are meant to be funny, some informative and some entertaining but Bud Brown was all of those things. He would make you laugh without trying and inadvertently make you think deeper by simply speaking. It’s not too many people that can say that they got to work with a man they’d grown up idolizing, I am now amongst them… Thanks Bud!
 
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The sound of home... on a distant beach.


Being on vacation is what I consider to be an integral part of the employment process. It’s a time to reset and recharge if you will. But being away also helps you see what’s good in your life… sometimes by accident.

I spend an 8 day span on a cruise ship sailing to the Bahamas this month, and I must admit it was much needed. The warmth of the tropics and the sheer lack of responsibility was a great change of pace, and an appropriate break from the everyday drag that life can sometimes provide.

Since I was headed into a place where cell service is almost impossible, I had made an agreement with my fiancé Erika that I would only be in contact with her in the case of an emergency due to the extraordinary expense of the charges that an international rate or a ship-to-shore line would ensure ($2.49/min.for calls and .50 for every text). Thus we would only talk once when I was in Florida at the half-way point, and not again until I was back in New York at the journeys end. This turned out to be more difficult than I had initially imagined.

Days 1 & 2 were a blur of drinking, spring sunshine, humongous buffets and getting to know our ship. Days 4 & 5 were all about Florida planning, landing and enjoying. The trip was going along as planned, then came an unexpected moment in the trip.

 As the Jumkanoo Beach sun warmed us on our 2nd stop (in Nassau on day 7) I laid there and heard the soft padding of some people shuffling through the sand behind our towel positions. The gaggle of twenty something men and women set up camp within twenty feet of us and were talking and drinking rather loudly.

One of the girls was being playfully tormented by her boyfriend and began to laugh at his relentless musings about her lack of a tan. When she finally was able to obtain an appropriate revenge (most of this happening while I had my eyes closed) she laughed… and I hear the sound of home. Her laughter was shockingly similar to that of my fiancé, eerily so in fact.

From that moment forward it was impossible to ignore the sound of her happiness, and even more impossible to keep my girl out of my thoughts.

I began to wonder what my future wife was up to. Yeah, I had called her two days prior but it was short, and kinda terse, and to boot she was at the mall at the time, so she had a tough time talking, thus it turned out to be a short and sort of “pointless” conversation.  I began wondering a few things as I baked in the Bahama sunshine: How as her day? Was she sad in the cold Northeast weather? Was her work busy and difficult like it can be on Mondays? Was she safe? ... and then came the biggest realization of all: I missed her, a lot.

Vacationing separately is by no means awful, but when your life has recently changed in the big way mine has, it’s hard to go back to where you have already been … when your vacation ends it’s bittersweet; hearing that laughter in person was, for me, the sweet part.
 
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Locations: FloridaNassauNew York


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