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!