Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Radio celebrities on the subway

Last year, I wrote about seeing Brian Lehrer, who is only famous if you listen to WNYC, riding the subway. Today, I saw Bob Garfield, the co-host of NPR's "On The Media," who is only slightly more famous, since his radio show is heard nationwide. This time, after confirming in my mind that he was actually the guy I thought he was — the AdAge logo on his windbreaker clinched it for me, because really how many guys that look like Bob Garfield also happen to write for or be associated with that pub? — I went over and sat down in the conveniently empty seat beside him and introduced myself.

He was impressed that I remembered he's a Penn State grad, and when I told him how I knew — the jacket bio from this book, which also happens to have his face on the cover — he of course replied, "Oh, you were the one who bought that book." I told him he should do a talk on campus or something, but he said it's so hard to get out there by public transportation, and I concurred. I of course told him that I loved his show, and we chatted about one of the segments from last week's program, and he told me that the latest listener totals came in at 900,000 for the show, and that doesn't even count people like me, who listen via the podcast, usually while commuting. OTM used to be one of iTunes' Top 100, but appears to have fallen off the list as newcomers have broadened the podcast market. As he got off the train, he said something very thoughtful to me, which I won't repeat here, but which made me feel like he's a real stand-up guy.

The one thing I forgot to ask him about was why he always does that thing where he exaggerates his pauses at the end of the show while reading the final credit: "and edited ... by ... Brooke [Gladstone]." It must be some sort of inside joke, but it always bugs me not knowing.

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