I lived in Washington DC during the Watergate break-in. I had just accepted my first ‘management’ job, local sales manager of WRC-Radio, 980 on the AM dial… or, was it 930. I just don’t remember. I was around eight years old and everyone told me I was crazy to take the job for two reasons. One, I had no idea what I would or should do there, and two, I would be working for a man that most despised in Washington media. I was 23-years old, my wife said what the hell, so we packed up all our Bob Dylan Album and headed to Georgetown.
Three hours later after seeing the rents in Georgetown, we settled on a one-bedroom in one of those high risers they built out on Colesville Road.
In the scheme of things I was really nothing, but, in Washington, you still get invited to a bunch of parties for all sorts of reasons, A friend of mine in New York was the media director for the place that was handling the campaign for Richard Nixon and he called me one day in September to tell me that he would leave special passes for me and my wife, Sue, at the will-call window of the old Shorham Hotel. He also reminded me that I needed to be there by 8pm because ‘the shit was going to hit the fan early’.
We had moved to Washington three or four weeks earlier and didn’t even have time to register. I drove home early that day, picked up Sue, and hoped back in my car that was covered with Eugene McCarthy stickers, never realizing I was driving to the headquarters of the Repulicans, and Dick Nixon, on election night.
We parked our car on the streets about four blocks from the hotel and when security gave us our invitations that had the special VIP ‘blue dot’ we had to wear in the top of our suit jacket, the guard reminded me that I should have driven the car straight up and they would have parked it in the secured section. I started to ask if he’d go get it, but though different when he seems to be unbuckling the button above his gun.
Anyway, in piled every big-shot Repulican from Spiro Agnew to Frank Sinatra, when all of a sudden this nice, quiet gentleman sits next to me on a window sill in the corner of the least important room on the very important, and private, 4th floor.
We introduced ourselves to each other and I also introduced him to my wife. She told me later that he put her immediately at ease. I asked him if he was a Republican and he laughed. “No,” he said. “I just write about them.”
We talked a little about Washington radio, that WMAL-AM was the station that most political people listen to and he asked me if we were the station that was changing formats from old time Dean Martin, Cole Porter type music to ‘The Rock of the Capital…WRC... 1970’s rock and roll? I said yes and he paused and took a long drag on his cigar (we could smoke those in those days). He then asked “do you play any Van Morrison songs?” I said we did and he smiled. “Good. I love Van Morrision.” With that, he got up, tapped me on the shoulder, and said ‘get out of this town before it kills you. He moved on in the party
That was Ben Bradlee who was the Editor of The Washington Post. He died this week at 93 and I thought you’d find this more interesting that talking again about who will play shortstop next season for the Mets.