Episode 32 – Bob Brill, An Unstoppable Man Even In The Face Of Terror
Bob Brill has been in radio for over 50 years. Not only has he seen and covered it all live, but as you will hear he has been an unexpectant participant and victim. As a radio newscaster and anchor Bob is known for covering the news for networks and local stations. In 1992 he covered the famous, or infamous riots that took place after the acquittal of four policemen who were accused of beating a black man, Rodney King in Los Angeles. As you will hear in a live segment of Bob’s coverage, he was attacked. Talk about unexpected.
Bob is an author of a number of books. He tells us about them as he describes his life and treats us to many memories.
Thanks for listening and I hope you will let me know your thoughts about our episode and the Unstoppable Mindset podcast by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Guest:
Bob Brill is an award winning journalist with a long history in radio as well as print. He is currently a news anchor and reporter at the all news radio station in Los Angeles, KNX News Radio. A former National Correspondent and L-A base bureau chief for the UPI Radio Network, Bob has covered everything from Hollywood to the western White House during the Reagan years, and traveled to 27 countries either for work or pleasure. He is currently applying for dual citizenship with Italy, as he continues to work on his families genealogy (another one of his passions).
A sports enthusiast and a life long fan of his home town teams from Pittsburgh, Bob hosts two podcasts. He does a weekly NFL podcast with former NFL Quarterback Erik Kramer while the second is more varied. “Interesting People with Bob Brill” started as a way to introduce everyday people and their jobs to the world. Bob now uses it more for telling stories of his “life on the radio,” including radio documentaries he has produced.
An accomplished writer, Bob has authored 13 books, written 20 screenplays and pilots and writes a weekly baseball column about baseball in the 1960s. He has written six of the planned 10 books in his western novel series “Lancer; Hero of the West.” His latest book, “The Tattoo Murder,” is based in Ventura, CA, and is the story of a former Army Ranger who is now a cop in what is a racy detective novel. He has also produced four short films.
Bob’s claim to fame occurred when he was attacked while reporting from the scene of the 1992 Los Angeles riots at Florence & Normandy. While he has recovered from that beating he still suffers some physical effects of it today. The beating itself is considered an iconic piece of audio which has been heard around the world and continues to be heard on the Internet whenever stories appear about the Rodney King beating and the riots which followed.
One of Bob’s pleasures as well as a part of his business life is buying and selling baseball cards. He owned a card store at one point and still dabbles in the field, even occasionally brokering a collection. Bob currently lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife Paula.
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
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UM Intro/Outro 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson 01:21
Hi, and welcome to unstoppable mindset wherever you may be. We’re glad you’re here with us. Thanks very much for joining. We have an interesting guest today. I say that all the time, don’t I? But anyway, this person is someone I’ve heard for years on the radio, never had a chance to meet him. And yesterday when we chatted, I asked him why is your name so familiar? And he said, Well, do you listen to KNX and there we are and then just clicked. So Bob Brill, welcome to unstoppable mindset.
Bob Brill 01:51
Thanks for Thank you. I appreciate being here. And I appreciate the fact you’re also a listener.
Michael Hingson 01:58
Well, we try right. And of course, Bob and I have interesting interests in common. We we do know the Twilight Zone and watch it when
Bob Brill 02:11
we’re zone heads. I guess.
Michael Hingson 02:13
That’s it. And as I said yesterday, I still remember the Saturday Night Live with Ricky Nelson. That was so much fun.
Bob Brill 02:21
What else His funeral was one of the assignments I had it up i Radio Network, and it was a really touching funeral thing. You know, I love covering funerals. Hollywood, I really did. I was head of the obit files that up I radio. And I know we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, but you brought it up. So I just mentioned it. And I remember the one thing his daughter Tracy, talking about him. And the one thing that stood out is the fact that she goes and he loved ice cream. And that hit me hard because I love ice cream is one of my favorite foods, you know, and but I remember that and, and the TED night funeral was so great, because we were everybody was waiting at least I was for someone to mention Chuckles The Clown and the chuckles So, and Gavin McLeod could be there. And Gavin sent a letter to be read at the funeral and it was read at the end. He said, Ted, you are a little song, a little dance a little seltzer down your pants, which was Chuckles The Clown famous line? Yeah, very well show. And I was waiting for that hope and I just blessed to be up with them. I’ll say that you’re laughing in this crowd outside of reporters. If you’re looking at me, like no, you had to be there. You had to be there.
Michael Hingson 03:35
I get it. Yeah. i Because I remember Chuckles The Clown from the late 1950s. Being a kid and watching. I think it was Channel Five in California. I know Bozo was on no chuckles was on 11 I think and Bozo was on five and BUZZA was on five. Larry Harmon
Bob Brill 03:52
was Larry Harmon. The play Bozo. Was it?
Michael Hingson 03:56
I think? I think it was. Yeah, I
Bob Brill 03:59
interviewed him once. On one of the anniversaries of bozos of the cloud or something. And he gave me his famous laugh, you know, and on tape somewhere around here somewhere anyway. Anyway, of
Michael Hingson 04:10
course, of course, the memorable one from the late 1950s. Well, and a lot of the 1950s in the 1960s is a Sheriff John.
Bob Brill 04:19
Yes. Yes. And I used to watch Sheriff John as as did you and, and about a billion other kids, I think and he had his problems later on. And but he was he was certainly I think, I don’t know if he call me hero to us kids, but I think he was someone we did. I mean, my heroes, Lone Ranger, but I mean, you know, so he wasn’t to that level. But you know, it was like, Was he the one? I’m trying to think he had a train did he? Did he have a train and that was engineer bill. Engineer. Bill had the train. That’s right. They’ll still Yes, and the little train that could you know, but no, I mean, And there’s all those guys in the 50s and 60s, who we used to watch every afternoon in Pittsburgh. When I was growing up really in Pittsburgh, there was a show like that. And there was the sidekick was named Ganesh. Okay, obviously a Jewish term, he returned, and conditio was a mop that and the strings from the mop where his hair and he had two eyes on there somewhere, I don’t remember, it was the broom or mop payable. And that was Kadesh. And it was every afternoon Kadesh would introduce the cartoons, and it was Popeye, and I forget some of the others. But it was like every little every city had their own version, as well as you know, bozo, and some of the
Michael Hingson 05:53
Chicago had Johnny Coons and, and, but Sheriff John had the breakfast brigade and the lunch brigade. So he was on twice and, and really owned for kids K T TV channel, 11.
Bob Brill 06:07
And, you know, the other one that I became very good friends with was Tom hat. Tom, I was just gonna say, and Tom passed away a couple of years ago. Yeah. And I talked to his partner who was very, very gracious. And Tom and I worked together at Ken X. And brief story. As as a kid, I was living in Ventura when 1960 or 61. And Tom was making an appearance at a local toy store. And of course, Tom was for sale or used to draw, you know, Popeye and everything. And, yeah, and so I would, my mom and I had planned to go there. We went, and he didn’t show canceled, and years later, and they gave me a three by five postcard thing of Tom hat, you know, as a giveaway and things like that as a remembrance, and I kept it all these years. So it kind of rolled up. It was a little bigger than three by five, I guess. And so years later, my son Bobby, was watching the Sunday morning deal that he did on I guess was Channel Five. And he was watching and he sent in his card to be a winner for two tickets, the Breeland they pulled his name. And they said, You know, Bobby Brill wins, you know, blah, blah, blah. And so they he also got one of those cards right? And as part of the deal, so I was working at filling in at KK annex FM, which was upstairs from the Columbia square of K and X. And I went down and I I knew Tom was working down there doing his entertainment reports in the morning. So I got both those cards, and I took him down. And Roger Goodell, who was the assistant news director, was standing five feet away from Tom, I saw Tom sitting there, and very loudly when Roger greevey says, Hey, Bob, how you doing? I said, Well, I came down for a special thing. And I directed my voice over toward Tom. And I said, because I really wanted to show something to Tom Hatton. And Tom looked up from his typewriter. And I said, Tom, how you doing? He goes, Oh, great, Bob, we started talking. And I showed the two pictures over he goes, Oh my gosh. He pointed out that was the only the one inventor was the only personal parents he ever missed. And he always felt really bad about it. That was the only one he ever missed. And I was I was like seven years old at the time. And Tom and I became great friends after that, and we talk and you know, and and they weren’t, you know, later it came accident. He left Canada shortly after that and and passed away. He was very big in theater at Pasadena Playhouse and passed away a few years ago. So that was my I had to say that story because I know you’d love it.
Michael Hingson 08:58
And for those in those who don’t know, we’re talking mostly about local personalities in various cities. Typically for most of us around Los Angeles. Engineer Bill was on channel nine Tom Hatton hosted Popeye every night and was very famous for doing squiggles. He could take a turn anything into a drawing. And he would do it right on the air, which was so much fun. And so we we have those and Sheriff John was another one that we mentioned. And there was another one on channel 13. And I cannot remember the person’s name but all the kids shows they were they were fun.
Bob Brill 09:40
And then of course there was Elvira mistress of the Diane there was that who you fell in love with when you were 13 After you got out of the kid shows?
Michael Hingson 09:49
Yeah. Well, and then there was see more alert what Larry Vincent right. And Seymour came to do a a lecturer at UC Irvine when I was there, and he actually hosted five science fiction films. So you were there in the science lecture hall for hours. And he narrated them all. But the fourth one he did was the silent film version of Phantom of the Opera. Oh, and of course, being the guy with a morbid sense of humor that I am. The film started and see more yelled outs, everybody can see it. Okay. And of course, what did I have to do but say no. And somebody must have explained who I was. Because when he described it, and did a good job of describing it, I never did get to meet him, but he did describe it, which was a lot of fun. When actually I think he was before outlier, but Elvira mistress of the dark. Yes, absolutely. Was was all over. Well, how did you say you were a kid in Pittsburgh? And then you moved to California. When did you move to California?
Bob Brill 10:58
We moved twice. We moved out in 59. I believe it was and we stayed here. My father was a home delivery milkman and for those who don’t know what that is, it’s a milkman who delivers the milk to your house every morning or every other morning and our nation are manifold. Yeah, I am actually band full. And then he went a actually in Pittsburgh, he I remember him with menzi dairy, but before that, he did. He did work carnation. And when he came out here, he worked for Arden dairy in Ventura, which went belly up and that’s when we moved back to Pittsburgh. And then we came back out he went to work for man full and then a door farms after that. Because I think a door bought man full. But no. He went to a man full Jessup indoor farms because a lot of farms bought Jessup and Justin has purchased manful oil. So all the consolidation is that business started shrinking very badly. But anyway, so he lost his job, the dairy went belly up in Ventura. So we moved back to Pittsburgh, and he went back to work for menzi dairy, and then he couldn’t take the winters, he had arthritis and bursitis. And, and just, you know, at that time, it was ice on a truck. And some of the trucks out here had refrigeration. So I didn’t have to load up ice every morning, when I was getting when we were getting milk delivered, it was all ice. Yeah. And you know, you’d have to load up the truck in the morning, with all the glass and cartons were starting to come in. And then you would lay these bags of ice on top of it, you had to fill the bags of ice first and then get to lay them on top. And then you go on the route. And out through the day, you know, and then summertime, I’d go with him a couple of days a month. And it was always fun, because I would drink chocolate milk and I would all the kids would follow me and I’d have these chocolate milk samples. And we’d go through the neighborhood. And when my dad would stop the deliver all the kids would come to the back of the truck about him. I hand out samples of chocolate milk, or ice, which if it was really hot out, I give mice you know, and I became this, you know, local hero so to speak. But my first touch at that, but then probably my only touch of that. But so anyway, we moved back to California because my dad’s health and and in 63 and here ever since I started my radio jobs where i i moved to Tulsa, El Paso. Weatherford, Oklahoma, Raton New Mexico, Prescott, Arizona, all my radio career, places I’ve gone to
Michael Hingson 13:33
how did you get into radio, so you went to high school out here are willing to
Bob Brill 13:37
do it. So my high school and the year before I graduated, I kind of wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I definitely want to play baseball. That was my goal. I wanted to play baseball and and in, I guess the sixth grade. This is done. My teacher asked me we had to write an essay what we wanted to be when we grew up, and I said I want to play baseball. She goes, What’s your backup? And I said, I don’t know what the what’s a backup? And I don’t play baseball and she doesn’t release them in case it doesn’t work. And I said, Oh, okay, well, sure, why not? I’ll throw something out there. And I thought, You know what I want to do that would keep me close to baseball. That’s all I really ever wanted to do. And so I thought play by play announcer right. So radio. So I put that down. And then my year before I graduated, I saw an ad for Career Academy school of broadcasting. And I said, What kind of probably gotta get serious about this thing. And so I said, I applied, they sent me a letter back saying they couldn’t talk to me because I hadn’t graduated yet. They can only talk to me if I’m a senior. So I said okay, um, so I set that aside. And then the next year before I graduated, I got a letter from them. And I said, Well, this is cool. You know, they they must really want me right, you know, remember? Yeah, they they remembered me and everything. So I ended up going there was a four month course. I remember I got it. It was $1,000 I got a student loan for the $1,000 and I paid it back $33 a month for three years. That’s it At once I got a job. And I basically I got it. I had a Volkswagen van, my father purchased us. And I had $600. And I broadcast your book, and a boatload of tapes that I made in broadcasting School, which was four months long. And I set out and was going to hit every radio station, that my license would let me work outside of the LA market because I knew I would get a job there. And first off was banning California. I went on the air one night, two hours left, the next morning will actually left that night Neverland back there, never got paid. And within a week, I had a job at canto T and Prescott, Arizona, and I was there for four months before I got fired. For probably being me insubordinate, I think is probably the word that the assistant manager who actually was in charge of firing me, probably would have used stronger words than that. But I was, you know, I was a 18 year old kid on it at that point, all now it’s almost like to 72 hours 84 piss and vinegar and you know, and I’m gonna set the world on fire and, you know, probably said a few things the System Manager she didn’t like, and so I was gone. Get back to LA. Within a week, I had a job as a studio engineer at kV FM, and the panorama towers. And, and the thing was, they were paying me in Panama City. $1.60 an hour. A year earlier, I’ve been working at country cousins market, getting paid as a boxboard getting paid $1.65 an hour. So I was making less money. But hey, I was in LA radio, right?
Michael Hingson 16:49
Bob Brill 16:51
You got it. But I’ll tell you my first words on the air at the K pass and banning, there’s no record of it. I know it because there was no tape recorder or anything. But I want it was distract you. And I wanted to call myself by some wild name. You know, you know, all the big guys. Emperor Hudson and Eddie’s royal names, right. So I figured what goes with Bob RELLIS. It was a baron, right? Var o n. So I opened the microphone and said, Good evening, the Baron Bobby Brill saying Good evening. First words ever on the air. So anyway, profound. Yes.
Michael Hingson 17:31
Baron doesn’t stick to this day.
Bob Brill 17:34
No, no, I used it for about 10 days when I got the job in Prescott. And they said, drop it. Drop it. And I said, Okay. I also on the weekend, I was playing some some older hits. I play off these all these goodies albums, nowhere to play one of those two of those an hour, and I would introduce some solid gold. Well, Monday morning, I got my rear end handed to me on that one. You can say it’s a solid gold record from 1965. But you can’t say that ever, whatever word that is you’re using? And I said we saw the gold? Yeah, you can’t use that. Don’t stop it. I don’t wanna hear that. Okay. I started by path down the there was enough of those things that kind of got under my skin that was like, okay, yeah, that I let it go one day. So anyway, ancient history, but fun history.
Michael Hingson 18:31
What do you do? Of course, then you’ve got people like George Carlin with wonderful wine. Oh, radio that always talked about solid gold. So
Bob Brill 18:38
yes, yes. You know, and that was that was the term for for boss radio at the time, you know, rock and roll radio top 40 radio, which was actually top 30 radio, you know, and that was a term was being used, and I just decided to use it. That’s what I knew. And, and the people the radio station in Prescott, Arizona didn’t like it. And so I had to conform. And I did. And, you know, there were some things that happened. I think what? Well, that’s for another time. It’s too long a story. So well, we’ll tell another time.
Michael Hingson 19:16
Well, but you, you did adapt. And you know, one of the things that that I find when I’m talking to people who are talking about what they did and something didn’t work we talked about it on unstoppable mindset. The the idea of the mindset is, though, that you adapt, and you you learn what works, and then you make it happen. And that’s of course, what what we all need to do. So you you came back to California eventually. And where did you go from there? You eventually ended up at UPI.
Bob Brill 19:51
Yeah, I kind of left la again. I knew I needed to get more CSD and I wasn’t going to get a job. I’m in LA. So I ended up going. I worked in Palm Springs that KCM J there. And I was there for less than a year, before I got offered a job at kpsi Across town, which was much more listen to radio station and much more modern, a little bit more pay not a lot. And I was married at this time. And kid on the way, had first kid there. And from there, I moved on. I kind of really I fell in love with news. I was the associate news director and a kpsi as well as disc jockey and I was evening jock. And I’d fill under mornings and stuff, but I really started to fall in love with dudes. And that’s when and I still wanted to do play by play. I got offered a job to go to El Paso to work at ke ELP there to be the afternoon or midday news guy. I was gonna do news at midday. And then I was gonna do play by play or do local high school football play by and look at
Michael Hingson 21:07
what’s happening here. Now, instead of just being the new kid on the block, you’re actually being offered jobs. So there Yeah.
Bob Brill 21:12
Anyway, so yeah, it was it was a nice feeling. And so I got there and shortly thereafter, the management of Gods get named with a company, it was a pretty big company, they own wo ai and a whole bunch of others. In Texas, it was a change, decided they didn’t like the way their direction was going. So they fired everybody who had hired me. And I was kind of left blown in the wind to the the new people coming in who had their friends they wanted to bring in and I was in that sort of nonconformist situation again, and I ended up losing my job. They’re going to radio stations across town where I get overnight dis jockeying just till I could find another job and went to toss that offered a job in Tulsa did co anchor morning news there. And from there, I went back to an afternoon anchor job in Bakersfield, moved back to California wanted to get back to California Family. By this time I had two kids. And the family really didn’t like living in Tulsa and things were going great at the radio station. So but took the job in Bakersfield came eventually became news director remarked how left and to go to KCBS in San Francisco. Now he went to Fresno. And so I became news directors because and then moved up to Fresno at Coyote, which was the original boss rock station and became news director there and eventually took a job. At the LA Times, the LA Times was starting a new project. It was if you remember the 976 numbers, and they were starting sort of a little radio station using 976. And they had no clue what they were doing. They mismanaged the project terribly. They treated us okay, they kept us on the payroll for like six months after they folded the project. But they got me back to LA. I was doing some stuff part time at UPI, and eventually worked my way into a full time job there. Based on the fact that you may remember when James puberty, went nuts at the McDonald’s in San Ysidro Diego and killed a bunch of people I did. They had me do work the phones, I was the only one in the area because everybody else had gone to the Democratic Convention in San Francisco. So it was me. I was staffing the bureau during that time as a part timer. And that probably one of the best jobs ever did. I put out enormous amount of material. And the next morning they call I said, Well, you got a job want to go to Washington or New York. And I said, Well, I don’t really want to go to Washington or New York. I want to stay in LA. And they said, well, that’s not going to happen, because we’re not going to open up another position there. Because we have two people when I said I understand that. And about a year later, I guess they decided to move one of the two people in the LA Bureau to open up bureau in Miami because he was the space dude was Rob Davis. And Rob did all the space stuff. He works at NASA Now. And so to save money, they moved him there, which left an opening and they called me back and I said, Yeah, what do you want me to start? They said tomorrow, I said I’m there. And so I was at UPI with Bob Fosse. Bob eventually moved on. I became bureau chief. And, you know, I was there until like 95 And then I started my own publication and did some other things still did some radio and moved on. And then about 2009 I had opened a baseball card store in the meantime. So I was doing part time radio UPI, and other part time radio and running a baseball card store. And things started really, really getting pretty bad the industry. And so I made a phone call. They call me back. They needed a part time people KX I got they hired me and I’ve been there 17 years.
Michael Hingson 25:30
Wow. So you never did other than the high school experience get to really do play by play I did
Bob Brill 25:39
in Fresno. We did in Fresno. Yeah, I did that one season in Fresno. And I still have my tapes. And in fact, they’re sitting next to me or I’m doing some audio dubbing, the current month and just doubling off some stuff. And I’ve had tapes here in front of me. I was actually pretty good to play by play, football play by play. I never got a chance to do why did get a chance to do some pseudo baseball. In my first job in Prescott. I sold a weekend package. I was doing sales as well. And Prescott, Arizona is one of the best places of the country. For men’s Top competition, softball Fastpitch softball teams come from all over the country to play their tournaments and everything every weekend. And so I sold this package and I would do the play by play. I do two games one Saturday, one Friday, that one Saturday night. And so I got to do that. And so it’s baseball playbook play. I did the football in Fresno. And that was pretty much what I got to do. And then as a correspondent I have to cover, you know, all the major events, World Series, Super Bowls, NFL championships, things like that.
Michael Hingson 26:51
You didn’t get to do baseball for the Dodgers. Sorry to hear that. But I would prefer the pirates. But that’s well, yeah, but that’s okay.
Bob Brill 26:59
I did love this job when I was 13. There you are. I got it. I still have the letter I got back saying I’m being considered like everybody else.
Michael Hingson 27:10
That’s all right. When you know, back in the day, when 1968 came around, and I turned 18 We had the lottery for the draft. And the first thing I got was a letter from the government saying your classified one day and I was just waiting for the day they were going to draft the bank. And I was one a for about four months, which was the classification for being drafted. And then somebody caught up to it and they classified me for FiOS thought it was discriminatory. So you know, what do you do?
Bob Brill 27:39
I remember what it was at Wired broadcasting school. As the numbers, the lottery numbers were coming up. And mine came up 345, which I was excited about because I didn’t want to go with that. And the war was winding down. I mean, if I got drafted, I would obviously were gone. But, and one of our other guys, his number came up number five, and you could have picked him up off the floor after that, you know, and he never went. It was I think it was soul surviving son or something. But we met years later, he works at LAPD now. And we ran into each other just through, you know, doing stories and stuff. But it was like, that was one of those moments. You know, you just kind of your life could change in a heartbeat. But anyway,
Michael Hingson 28:25
I did have a number for a while and I don’t remember when it came up but I wasn’t alone number anyway, even though by that time I was four F so I wasn’t gonna go anyway. But, but it’s still a fun memory. So you you have written books? Yes, yes, I’ve
Bob Brill 28:42
written 13 I produce short I produce for short films. I’ve written Oh by 20 scripts I haven’t sold any yet still working on that. We’re doing a very wonderful podcast. We’re working on it now. But latest book is well written six of six books of a 10 book series called Lancer hero the west so it’s it’s it’s enjoy this because it’s basically Lancer is to different adventure each time. Lancer is a compilation of 1950s and 60s, TV Western heroes. He’s kind of two dimensional, but he’s he’s a good guy Gunslinger and sort of a combination of those guys. And then some things I threw myself with the latest and that there’s going to be 10 of those. There’s six out now. And I’ve got to get right the seventh one but kind of behind on my schedule. But the one that’s out now is doing very well. It’s called the tattoo murderer. And there are other books called the tattoo murderer but this one is the tattoo murder as well. It’s a fictional, racy detective novel. It takes place in Ventura, California, where I spent many years of my life and it’s basic Lay he’s when it comes to the ladies, he’s sort of like a local James Bond. Good looking, you know, that kind of guy has a lot of ladies. But he does things old school he’s very reliable a serfs. That’s one of his big things. And the tattoo murder is get to unique twist to it. One of the things we did, and people told me, they can’t put it down. And I think this is one of the reasons is, when I wrote it, I didn’t write it as chapters, although it has chapters now, the publisher put those in, but I wrote it with a timeframe. So every scene in the book, it’s like a movie, and like a movie script, and that each scene starts with the time, the date, the day, and the time of day, and where so you know, you’re at Ventura pier at 230, in the afternoon, on Monday, the 29th, or whatever. And each scene and low scenes may be two pages long. So I think what happens is people read that, and I think we all would we read, I’m getting tired, but how many pages to the end of the chapter. And so they can read to the end of the next scene, and know it, pick it up again, or things out. Next scene is only two pages long, it’s only two pages long, or five pages or whatever. And then the other thing we did, is my wife does photography. And she and I went to Ventura and took pictures of places where the fictional accounts to place the actual places. And in the center of the book, there’s 10 photos of actual places you can go to in Ventura, where these fictional crimes took place, and, and other other scenes in the book. And I based some of the characters on people I know, in Ventura. I can’t say all of them, I can mention a couple, but it’s about 335 pages, I think it’s it really is, it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. You can find it on Amazon, you can find it at my website, Bob brill, books.com, which is easy to remember. And, you know, it’s, it’s just one of those books that I’ve always dreamed of writing, I wrote it back in 2014. Let my daughter read it and sign it, okay, she can’t, she couldn’t read the SEC seats, because your dad read it wrote it.
Bob Brill 32:27
If you gotta write that stuff, you gotta get show it to your daughter, or your wife, or anybody like that, or cousins or sisters, although I did, and therefore what I did was I toned it down, and I probably needed to tone it down, it’s gonna get, and they’re still, the sex scenes are still steamy. They’re just not as graphic as I originally wrote them. And I get a lot of comments on them positive, no negatives at this point. And it’s a, it’s a good read. And it’s one of those things that I, I feel, it’s probably the only book I’ve ever written. And like I said, I’ve written 13 that has the possibility of making it to one of the best seller lists, you know, and it’s, you know, it’s hard in fiction, you know, to get there, and most of that stuff is true life stories, as you know. And, you know, and telltale books and things like that. So, you know, cuz fiction is one of those where you make stuff up, you know, and it’s easier. I think it’s easier to write fiction than the true stuff, although I’ve written both. And I think with fiction, your research is easier. With nonfiction. If you’re telling somebody’s life, you’re really always behind the eight ball. Because unless it’s your life, you’re always am I going to make a mistake? Am I gonna offend somebody? Am I going to get sued? You know, that kind of stuff? Did I misinterpret what they say? Did I forget what they said? You know, so my baseball memoir book was like that. You know, I, it’s my recollections. It’s called. I’ll tell so my baseball tales, my baseball life growing up as a child of the 60s, and it’s about playing baseball, in the in the 60s, but it’s about relationships, and fathers, brothers, friends, uncles, coaches, whatever, and everything is true in that everything’s right down to the tee. Except I miss named one person. I, I meant to mention, the father who was my coach, and I used his son’s name as the father’s name. I just, I mixed it up. i i i n. You know, it was guiding the coach was Cliff Miller. The son was Glenn Miller, and I call the coach Glenn Miller. Probably somewhere in the back of my mind my my father’s favorite band was Glenn Miller. It’s bad. But I just I screwed up. And I didn’t double check it to the point where I should have caught it. So old age sitting in early, but it’s fun, but it really is. It’s, I had to get that on down because for posterity for myself and my kids and my grandkids, I was, you know, want to leave them something. And we did a similar thing on my, my interesting people with Bob row podcast, where I talked about, you know, been in radio 50 years, and I wanted to do a month of stories about life on the radio. And so each day I did for the month of March, I did, I told a story about something some tragic, some good, some mostly funny, you know about things I did, or that happened in my radio career, and which isn’t over yet. But I wanted to get something down for my grant, my grandkids are getting older. And I wanted to have that for posterity.
Michael Hingson 35:54
Well, you know, we can’t forget the fact that you do have a broadcast that at least to you, and I think to a lot of people is famous, something that happened to you. And of course, we have to mention that right?
Bob Brill 36:09
Sure. No, I have no problem. It’s the This year marks the 30th anniversary of the 1992 riots, the LA riots, stemming from the non conviction of the four police officers who attributed to the beating of Rodney King. And I My job was to cover the reaction to the Rodney King verdict, and to go to South Central South LA now. But at the time, it was so central light and long story short, I ended up at Florence and Normandie. I heard my friend Pete Habitrail, who was working for KfW be at the time, say if there’s going to be a flashpoint. It’s going to be a foreign to Normandy. Well, as a reporter covering that type of story. You hear the word Flashpoint. You know, that’s where the story is. That’s where you have my assignment was to go to the AME Church, because that’s where chief gates and Mayor Bradley and members of the African American community, were going to be meeting and talking, calling for calm calling for peace ship Murray, who was a reverend do who was of that church at the time. And so I checked with the desk and I said, you know, I think I should go to Florence and Normandie. And they said, Do you feel safe? And I said, I was the first white guy at an all black baseball team down here. Of course, I feel safe. You know, little did I think, you know that. How stupid was that to put in into my head. But you know, so I was dressed. I probably look like a cop. I have a UPI blue baseball cap on. I was wearing a blue windbreaker for tennis shoes, jeans, you know. And so I went to Florence in Normandy, and I saw activity taking place in the middle of the intersection. I expected to see yellow tape. I really did. I didn’t. By that time, what happened was the cops on the other side of the intersection and fled. They left they were called out, things got too hot. Instead of bringing in more cops and more police, more cars and that kind of stuff. Chief gates pulled everybody out. And so I didn’t see yellow tape because there were no cops there. So I made a U turn in the intersection because I saw a payphone on the left hand side. So I parked but 1520 feet away from the payphone, went to the payphone, picked it up, call the desk, said start recording, I’m in the middle arrived, I won’t say exactly what I was. I said because I use some different language when I call them. And so they started rolling tape. And I just started describing what I was saying. And it was pretty much anywhere between nine to 14 minutes, I think. I was just planning to get out. Reggie, Reginald Denny drove his truck at the intersection. And I’m probably 40 yards 50 yards away from him and describing that, and then the terrible BDD was taken. I mean, I still see visions of it. I you know, and of course, it’s all over the internet. So but it’s, it’s it was just horrible, just horrible. And I was on the payphone. And it’s one of those standard pay phones. It wasn’t a Superman change of clothes type of those. You know, it was the one that stand ups and the kind of Superman in the first Superman movie, looked at and said, I can’t change my clothes. Yeah. So
Bob Brill 39:35
anyway, so I I’m describing it and I was very aware of my surroundings. I was very aware. And I had made my plan to exit how I was going to exit I was will be safe and everything else. Well, I got distracted. A guy dressed very nicely, came up, came toward me and said, What the hell are you doing here and I let my guard down. I stepped away from the phone booth. I said As you can hear on the audio, audio tape, a reporter of, you know, doing my job, whatever I said, and then he looked past me. And thank God, I wasn’t 10 years younger, because it was 10 years younger, I would have been quicker. And I would have turned and look to see what he was looking at. But I didn’t turn fast enough. And what happened was, there was a guy with a 64 ounce beer bottles in his hand, and he smashed it on my head. If I turned around to get it right in the middle of the face could have been blinded. That was I could have had class all over my face. Any any number of things would have happened. And as it was, I got on the side of my head, punctured eardrum cracked skull, I immediately went down. And then whoever it was started kicking and beating me, and you can hear that on the tape. I stopped, and I grabbed the phone. And I said, Did you get that? And they said, Yes. I said, Well, I just had the crap beat out of me. I’m gonna head to the hospital. I said, go, go, go. And so I I started to leave. My thumb was broken, smashed, difficult to get into my car, turning the key. And I knew as soon as I started the vehicle, there were people coming toward my car. And I knew that soon as I started, I would get a car to get him rocks and bottles and which is exactly what happened. And a guy and I don’t know if it’s a guy beat me up or what. But there was a guy, I caught a corner, my eye on the right hand side, winding up with a piece of rock junk rock concrete, and he was winding up like a pitcher wood, and was gonna throw it in my car. And immediately, my right rear window exploded, and the rock landed in the backseat. And just, you know, I took off. And I could luckily, I couldn’t see anything because was beer and all kinds of stuff on my windshield. And I luckily, there was nobody in front of me when I left. Or if they weren’t they they moved pretty quickly. Because I couldn’t see I have my glasses were gone. My tape recorder was stolen. I was I couldn’t see what was on the road in front of me until I got down the road, about a half mile, call the desk again, then went to the hospital. And but that audio tape, and I always said I still have a rock today, that audio tape is unheard, how many millions of times it’s on pretty much almost every internet video of the riots that put people put up on YouTube, they’ll play part of that I only copyright to it now than I did. And I even have it on my website. I mean, I don’t have any probabilistic to it. It’s not. It was my it happened to me, it was my moment. Physically, I’ve recovered, except I still have some negative effects. My I have caused some pain in my neck, you know, from the early arthritis that the beating brought on. And, and some of the other damage that you know, it’s evidently negligible. But when you’re dealing with your neck and your spine pain happens?
Michael Hingson 43:19
Well, I hear what you’re saying. And of course, it’s the, in a sense, the same thing that that I experienced and deal with from the World Trade Center. And I can certainly listen to discussions about it. And for the last 20 years, plus, I have been traveling the world talking about it, I give speeches talking about the lessons we should learn and, and talking about my story and my experience. And I think talking about it helps as much as anything does.
Bob Brill 43:47
I agree with you very, very much. You know, and like me, you don’t mind talking about it. It comes up, you know what’s going to come up? You’ve told the story 1000 times. And, you know, for us, you and me. I mean, that’s a piece of history. You know, it’s a piece of history that maybe 20 years from now or even today somebody Google’s you know, and, you know, there’s there’s some comfort in that, I think in that, you know, you want your legacy to be something that you leave the world. It’s never really up to us what the world chooses to remember us why? Or how to remember us. Hopefully we have some influence on it. But there are times when in our case, is it it wasn’t up to us. It happened.
Michael Hingson 44:36
If you don’t mind. We’ll we’ll put a little piece of the broadcast in then.
Bob Brill 44:41
Sure.No, go ahead,
Audio Recording 44:42
man. In fact, now he’s closer. torinese still bleeding all over the place trying to get back into his truck is getting back into his truck at the transit. Transit mixed truck. He’s white he’s trying to get to try to drive through this intersection. Now he has enough power to on his own. Just get out of the air. a news reporter on how she smoked something.
Michael Hingson 45:17
Here’s my question to you. How much do you think we’ve learned? It’s been 30 years and so many things continue to happen. Are we learning anything from lessons like the whole Rodney King riots?
Bob Brill 45:29
I think we have. I think a couple of things have happened. I think the black community has become empowered. And while at the same time, I think some things we haven’t learned, we still have George Floyd, we still have Breanna Taylor, we still have, you know, constantly, you know, you know, you look back at the incident in LA, and there’s blame to go around for everybody. Yeah, you know, we, I think we’ve learned how better to deal with it. I think Rodney King was the start of something because Rodney King, I think is a reference point. Yes. There were many, many instances before Rodney King, going back into the 17 1800s. I mean, you know, everything from Dred Scott to, you know, I can’t think of the guys that Emmet. I can’t think of his name off top my head. But many, many cases that nobody ever talks about, especially in the south, when you have the Klan and stuff. If we had had mass media, in the 1800s. Maybe we wouldn’t be where we are today. You know, we’d be past it. But Rodney King was the reference point. It sort of everything after Rodney King. And like I said, you know, it still happens today. I mean, how many times during the year do we have to have these incidences that before we wake up? And you know, if you say it’s bad apples? Yeah, it is bad apples is people making mistakes. And it’s also people doing the wrong thing. Because they haven’t learned. They think they’re doing the right thing. They’re not thinking before reacting, you know, a man runs away, you know, from a traffic stop. Number one, it shouldn’t run away. Number two, the cops shouldn’t chase them and shoot an unarmed man. Okay. Two wrongs don’t make a right in any any case. You know, the guy who ran away looks at it and says, Well, I was afraid I’m a black man in a car being stopped by a cop in front of me we get shot. Okay, well, that’s a real possibility, you know? And what is the cop think? So? I mean, these things, probably will never go away. Totally. But they should never be happening even as much as they’re happening now. You know, so have we learned? Yeah, I think we’ve progressed, I don’t think we’ve learned I think we’ve progressed. And I think empowerment from the victim side has become more powerful. And now there’s this movement with our political system being so split, that there’s a movement to put that down or change that or keep that from going further. You know, we’re so radicalized that, and I don’t want to get into politics, but we are so radicalized that, you know, this isn’t going well. And I don’t expect it to go get any better. You know, in my opinion, over the next five years, I’d be shocked if it got better. I, if it stayed the same, it might be progress, but it’s gonna get worse.
Michael Hingson 49:05
Yeah. And that’s what’s so unfortunate and so scary. We have gotten so polarized, and in some senses so radicalized that we’re not dealing with this at all now, and it seems that to a large degree, we’ve lost a moral compass. And somehow we’ve got to move away from that.
Bob Brill 49:24
We know politics is supposed to be all about compromise. It’s not supposed to be winner take all. And because you have so many diverse groups, and today, as opposed to let’s say when my grandparents came over in 1896 today, so we’re, I think we’re more diverse, but the other thing is, the diversity has more of a voice. In other words, in 1896, when my grandparents came over, they could vote for one thing. And they didn’t have they were surviving. They didn’t have they didn’t really have a voice in what was being done in the country. If they did, it was put down immediately. Where today, whether you’re Asian, Pacific Islander, Indian, black, Muslim, whatever you are, you’ve got a political voice. And you’re organized groups that you’re a part of. And all those political voices are so diverse, that it’s almost like a parliament. You know, and maybe that’s the answer is to go back to go to a parliamentary system, instead of a two party system. I mean, this unique experiment that we have here is just tremendous. And we’ve been lucky, you know, but and I’m not advocating parliamentary systems. But, you know, the rest of the world does it that way. We don’t. And we’ve been strong for almost 300 years, 250 years, but, you know, it’s like, okay, where’s this going next? Can this political system survive?
Michael Hingson 51:01
The problem is we’re much more diverse, but we’re not inclusive. And that’s what we really need to change and see changed in some way. And until we truly become an inclusive society, we’re going to have these problems. You know,
Bob Brill 51:22
I had to describe me once that it was chip Marie, that that described it, we’ve gone from the melting pot to the salad bowl. Now it’s the melting pot. We’re all Americans, we all blend together. Now, we’re the salad bowl, where we’re all Americans, but some of us are raisins. Some of us are peanuts, some of us are in dive, some of us are dressing, some of us are carrots, some of us are celery, you know, we’re all Americans. But we’re individual. And, you know, whether we identify as Italian American, or as American, or we identified as Polish American, or American, you know, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with identifying yourself with your heritage. Because, you know, I, I’m an amateur genealogist, I love doing Family Research, I’m thrilled that the 1950 census is now out, and I can look at it, you know, but, you know, at the same time, that does have a tendency to lead to more individualism, as opposed to, when we grew up, growing up in the 50s, and the 60s, we were this melting pot, and we were all, you know, and we have to look to a lot of what we were taught in history was a lie, you know, or fabricated, or stretched, you know, and you start looking at really, who did what and history and it’s like, okay, we worship this guy. It’s like, Ty Cobb, being in the Hall of Fame. You know, if Ty Cobb were alive today, you probably wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame, because nobody would vote for that blank, blank light,
Michael Hingson 53:00
you know. Other side is we never, we’re, we’re so focused on one part of it that we forget the rest of the accomplishments, okay, people say Woodrow Wilson was a racist. But Woodrow Wilson, also was the President of the United States and did help to accomplish a number of good things. Yep. And,
Bob Brill 53:22
and, you know, and that, that is a big part of, I think everything when people talk about this is they forget it real. They forget to realize we all make mistakes. Now, if we atone for those mistakes, or we’re truly sorry, and not just publicity. Sorry, I think you can think everybody has to be forgiven for something. And, I mean, you know, we get into religion for that. But, you know, everybody makes mistakes. And if you are truly sorry for those mistakes, you truly correct them or whatever you need to do to make up for them and then start the new path. You know that. That’s what I think a lot of people forget people hold grudges for. Ever. It seems like you know, you don’t we
Michael Hingson 54:12
don’t start the new path. And we don’t give people the opportunity to start the new path. Yeah, that’s true. Exactly. And that’s the problem. Well, this has been absolutely fun. It has been we’ve been trying to we got to do it some more.
Bob Brill 54:25
I’m a fort. I definitely know this. This has been just a great time, Michael. I really enjoyed it.
Michael Hingson 54:33
How well I do want to do it again. We will have to do it some more. Figure it out and make it happen. We could we could do a whole one on the Twilight Zone and yes, he had most of the twilight zone right. But But how do people learn more about you if they want to get in touch with you and so on and learn about your books and I know some of them are even audio which I’m going to go hunt down and find but how do people reach out to you
Bob Brill 54:59
The easiest way is if you Google me, I usually come up if you Google Bob Brill, or Bob Brill reporter, the easiest way just Google Bob Brill. I’ll come up. Usually 17 of the top 20 Bob Grill now I’m not Bob Brill, the drummer for Berlin. I’m not Bob Brill, the IP lawyer in Chicago. I’m not Bob Brill, the Tony winning set designer, and I’m definitely not Bob Brill, the bodybuilder. That guy is off the charts. Unbelievable. I wish I had some of his muscles. But anyway, but that’s the easiest way or you can go to Bobbrill.com. And for the books, Amazon or you can go to my website, as I mentioned before as Bobbrillbooks.com. And all those things usually come up. Interesting people with Bob Brill comes up and my contact information is that all those places, you can email me and just reach out to me and and I’m on Facebook as well. Facebook, Twitter, and some other websites. But yeah, that’s easiest way. I’m always open. So cool.
Michael Hingson 56:19
Well, Bob Brill, the reporter thanks very much. You’re welcome. Thanks very much for being here. This has been a lot of fun and I hope all of you have enjoyed this. Wherever you’re listening, please give us a five star rating. We appreciate that bobble appreciate that too. And, and you can always reach out to me, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this podcast or what we’re doing. You can email me at Michaelhi M I C H A E L H A I at accessibe A C C E S S I B E.com. And for those who don’t know, research accessibe.com It’s a company that helps make websites accessible. And you can also go to our podcast page Michaelhingson.com/podcast M I C H A E L H I N G S O N.com/podcast. And check us out there and listen to more episodes, but you can find them wherever you find podcasts episodes. So again, thanks for listening. And Bob, we really appreciate you being here today.
Bob Brill 57:20
Thank you. I had a great time, Michael anytime and I appreciate you having me on. Thank you.
UM Intro/Outro 57:32
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.