April 9, 2007

We'll Miss You Sorely, BG

We'll Miss You Sorely, BG

Brendan in studio

In the studio [Katherine Bidwell]

BG, of course, is the inimitable Brendan Greeley. Who is about to leave us. It hurts.

He’s been our chief blog strategerizer since day one, the guy with the vision that was always bigger than our nonexistent tech budget. He turned us into Flickr and del.icio.us junkies and, leading by example with his outsized personality and fast great writing, taught us all to blog. And to mine the blogosphere for ideas and people we never knew existed. And to think always and first about getting the spirit of the web onto the radio.

If you know Brendan at all, you won’t be surprised that he was reliably, um, late to our daily morning story meeting. But once there, he was our man on politics or Germany or New Orleans. Or the Army War College. He championed offbeat listener pitches and mostly persuaded us. When he didn’t, it was only because he was two weeks ahead of the rest of us. We still owe him a show on Japan.

Brendan and I almost came to blows over serial commas a few weeks after the birth of Open Source. He’s against them. I’m for them (and the venerable E. B. White, by the way, is in my corner). The good part was that it showed how much he cares about the written word. Thankfully we’ve since agreed on almost everything else about writing, and I learned quickly — as we all did — to depend on his incisive edits.

Brendan on the air

Putting your words on the air every night [Katherine Bidwell]

ALSO! and most importantly, Brendan makes us laugh. He’s a true friend, and though we’re so sad to see him go, we’re excited that he’s following his nose in life. We’re rooting for you, BG. Come back to visit. There will always be a chair — or cracked milk crate — awaiting you in the story meeting.

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  • Bobo

    We’ll all miss you, BG. You have been the voice of the people on ROS. Keep up the good work wherever you go.

  • mynocturama

    Apart from a few newsgroups a few years ago, to which I inconsistently contributed, ROS has been my first real sustained experience with an online community. And Brendan’s been a big part of that. Just wanted to say thanks to you Brendan and to all of you. The fact that I find myself moved by your leaving moves me to try to be a better participant and contributor. Thanks again. And please try to make the occasional return when you can.

  • nother

    I think the subject was the ipod and Chris went to the “blogger n chief” segment after a discussion about “the ghost in the machine.” Brendan’s disembodied voice immediately pronounced, Chris, I’m the ghost in your machine. I had a hearty laugh after that one.

    For a couple of years now, ROS has been a refuge for me, an outlet, and a community. I’d get home and close the door to the chaos outside and walk over to the machine on my desk and wha-la, I’m immersed in ROSecond life. I’d roam around that Second life and stop into to the Al-Andalus pub for a beer, where Brendan the barkeep would happily pour a cold one, and listen to my issues.

    So it was very nice indeed to be able to hand you a beer the other night Brendan…you’ve bought me more than your share. Next time though, we’ll finish the whole beer. ☺

    Fair winds and following seas my friend.

  • As an avid listener I find this very unawesome. I wish BG all the best in future endeavors.


  • loki

    Vaya con Dios! Amigo!

  • johntynan

    I remember getting so upset that Chris refered to Brendan, not as the blogger in chief, but as “blog boy.” I don’t know if there was a discussion about that on the blog, because we mostly listen to the podcast, but I was incensed. We didn’t listen to the show for weeks just because of that. Chris always came across as an advocate for the folks posting online and that was just the coolest thing. It really meant something for me that people doing mighty, good-old-boy radio would not just value what folks were saying online but give them a spokesperson on the air. Thanks for setting the standard for how radio gets done with the web and for inspiring me personally, as you surely have done for a ton of other people listening as well.

  • Johntynan: It’s funny how we get inured to derogatory terms — to the extent that they flip around and become badges of honor. For two years now we’ve called Brendan’s live blog syntheses “blog boy” segments. When a comment is worked up, and makes sense in the context of the conversation, I’d say to Chris, “Let’s go to blog boy.” Brendan might say: “This is the blog boy. It’s right now.” There’s even a piece of masking tape marked “blog boy” on a certain channel of the mixing console. Most likely, that channel will be quiet for a while now.

    So anyway, I can understand why the term was jarring — and you’re not alone: we got a nervous call from the former PD of WNYC a year and a half ago when Chris made our internal designation public one night — but I can tell you that around here it became a tender, mildly ironic term of endearment.

  • webcastboy

    Indeed, David. I have gone by the nom de guerre “webcastboy” (or perhaps, more accurately, “Webcast Boy”) for many years now. A nod to my earlier days as a webcast producer during the dot-com era.

    I rather like having a somewhat “derogatory” handle, keeps me a little more grounded. As much as I like ROS, and pubradio in general, it’s important to remember that it’s only radio…we’re not curing cancer here, folks. Ego comes with the radio territory and if you don’t keep it in check, it can get ugly.

    I can’t say if that’s why Brendan adopted the Blog Boy moniker, but I am confident in my assertion that he was a great part of the ROS team, and his presence will be missed (and missed from Beyond Broadcast, too!) Not that Greta won’t be a great new Blogger in Chief, but she does have a tough act to follow. 🙂

  • Brendan

    You know, it’s funny; “blogboy” is the fault of one of our engineers, Ray Fallon. We showed up to the studio for the second show and he had written “blogboy” on that piece of masking tape by the fader, and blogboy it was. Chris never meant that in a condescending way, and in fact, as David pointed out, we draw a distinction between “blogboy” and “blogger in chief.” BIC is my title, my job description. “Blogboy” is the name of the segment on air. David and I might say, for example “Nice show. Three blogboys.”

    But I’m so flattered at your umbrage on my behalf, John.

  • Brendan

    And, you know, nother, “Fair Winds and Following Seas” is written on the blade of an oar I got from my high school crew team when I graduated, in my coach’s hand. He was a Captain in the Navy; is this something the Navy teaches you to say?

  • Ray

    Yes, I am the offending one. I work for WGBH, and not for Open Source, so when we were working up the logistics of mixing the live national show I had to name the channel something and that is what I came up with. We did not have a name for the segment yet so I just made one up. So no offense was intended. It was my reminder of what the channel designation was and it has remained the same ever since. I will say that I told everyone last night that I would have to change the name to “Blog Girl” for Greta. And there is no offense intended there either. Although I do not know Greta all that well I can tell already that she is “Wicked Smart” as we say here in Boston. She going to go places…..

    But most important is that it is truly my privilege to work with the the folks from Open Source. There is not a bad person on the team…and that is unusual for radio where the motto “The EGO has landed” usually fits well. Brendan will be sorely missed by me and I am truly sadden because of this but happy that he is following his instincts and striking out on his own. When you work with a great bunch of people you want it to remain the same always. I’ll have to re-read “Who Moved My Cheese” because of this. Thanks, Brendan….You’re a Champion.

  • zeke

    Glad to learn the true story behind the “blog boy” stuff. I, too, found it jarring and was glad when Chris stopped using it on the air. However, what remained evident from his nightly introductions was the genuine affection Chris had for Brendan and the appreciation he had for Brendan’s quick wit and sharp intelligence. Not to give you a swelled head Brendan but, from a distance many of us listeners came to share those sentiments. Best of luck to you.

  • nother

    Brendan, one thing about the Navy, you spend a lot of time saying bye to people. And saying bye sucks, it really sucks! So I guess you have to find the poetry in the whole deal. Through the years, I would (and still do) wrestle with the question, do I keep forging ahead to new places and new people, only to have to say bye…once again? Is it worth the pain?

    Then I remind myself that there is no avoiding the pain, so I forge ahead and remember Emerson’s words, “People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.”

    Ya know I got lay some Waldo on ya at the end!

    Take care brother,


  • nother

    btw Brendan, I don’t say “fair winds and following seas” to many people…only people I’ve taken some kind of journey with. And a journey it has been.

  • Katherine

    Wise words, nother, and somehow comforting.

  • joshua hendrickson

    Brendan, no one will be able to say “blogger in chief” with quite the same character as you did in every show. I will miss you, and I thank you for the times you chose to share my comments on the air.

    Peace out,

    Joshua Hendrickson

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