May 10, 2022

Bud Gundy On His Newest Release, The History Of Alcatraz, And Working In Public Broadcasting

Bud Gundy On His Newest Release, The History Of Alcatraz, And Working In Public Broadcasting

Ep: 119: How risqué was Tales of the City and was there male nudity? This isn't the primary topic but one of the many Bud Gundy discusses with Brad, including Bud's latest novel Inherit the Lightening, and even some history about Alcatraz.

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Bud Gundy is Lambda Literary Award finalist and an Executive Producer and on-air host at KQED, the PBS and NPR affiliate for Northern California. In 2003, he received an Emmy Award for producing the documentary Lonely Island: Hidden Alcatraz. He won his second Emmy Award in 2016 for directing the KQED News special, State of Surveillance. He's been nominated for two other works.

He began his television career in 1983 as the Program Director at the Nationality Broadcasting Network in Lakewood, Ohio, a job which has given him a lifetime of funny stories to share. Following that, he worked as a Desk Assistant, Associate Producer and Producer for the various newscasts at WKYC, the NBC affiliate in Cleveland, Ohio.  The stories from Channel 3 aren't as funny, but perhaps more illuminating.  After stints as a business reporter and a marketing executive in Northern California, he joined San Francisco's KQED in 1994, and loves the environment and dedication to the audience at PBS and NPR.  You can see and hear him on-the-air, asking for support during those annoying pledge drives.

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Brad Shreve  00:00

So but two years ago, you're on and we talked about your book that actually just released. But and we're going to talk about that for sure. But one of the other thing we're going to talk about is you won an Emmy for a special about Alcatraz and the name escapes me is that hidden island?


Bud Gundy  00:19

Lonely Island: Hidden Alcatraz


Brad Shreve  00:21

Lonely Island hidden Alcatraz, and in 1969 Native Americans, which of course, back then, the papers, called them Indians, occupied Alcatraz and I find that story fascinating. So I'm going to ask you a little bit about that, too. But I want to go back to your book, because two years ago, when you were on this podcast, you were talking about The Accidental Prophet. And when you were on you said you were going to have a book coming up at the end of that year, that was two years ago. And you said you're calling it Inherit the Lightning, but you weren't quite sure whether you're going to keep that name or not. So it's been a little more than two years, but the book is book has finally arrived. And we're going to have a drumroll and you're going to say what name you finally chose for the novel.


Bud Gundy  01:14

Inherit the Lightning.


Brad Shreve  01:15

So you went with Inherit the Lightning? I did. Is there a particular reason why you did so


Bud Gundy  01:19

I just thought it worked perfectly for the story. It's the story is about an inheritance. And the Lightning has a double meaning because the name of a location in the book is called the lightning. It was called that by the I have the Tuscarora Indians name at lightning mountain and you find out why. In the book, what why they chose that name because nobody's really sure. But so it has a double meaning it's the lightning of a spirit, a certain spirit, a confidence and then the lightning the hill.


Brad Shreve  01:50

Okay, well, but it's going to tell us a little bit more about that and my fascination of this Native American occupation of Alcatraz coming up right after this.


Announcer  02:01

It's time to pit on your sleuthing cap, feel nailbiting dread and face heart racing fear. This is Queer Writers of Crime, where you'll get book recommendations and hear interviews with LGBTQ authors of mystery, suspense and thriller novels. Here's your host, Brad Shreve,


Brad Shreve  02:22

the person I've been speaking with this bud Gundy. He is an executive producer and on air host of KQED, which is the PBS and NPR stations in Northern California. He is also a lambda Award nominee, and is the recipient of two Emmys. Congratulations on those.


Bud Gundy  02:41

Thank you.


Brad Shreve  02:41

 Yeah, and let me change that. I hate it when people say congratulations, because you did not win a prize. You earned them. So great job.


Bud Gundy  02:50

Thank you very much. I appreciate that.


Brad Shreve  02:52

I always try very hard not to say congratulations. Okay. So we're definitely going to talk about the book. But the reason I want to bring up this Alcatraz, the thing is I love San Francisco, used to live about 80 miles from there. And I was there every day because my partner at the time worked in the city. And I picked him up to and from BART, and we spent a lifetime in the city. I fell in love with it. But I didn't fall in love with was Fisherman's Wharf. It's to put it lightly touristy. Yes. Very touristy,


Bud Gundy  03:24

very artificial.


Brad Shreve  03:26

Yes, yes. And, you know, it's like I tell people, the Grand Canyon forgot to Arizona, you gotta go to the Grand Canyon, just to say you've been there. Same thing with San Francisco. If you go there, go to Fisherman's Wharf, just to say you've been there, but I wouldn't suggest staying that long. But one good thing about Fisherman's Wharf is that is where you catch the boats to go to Alcatraz. And I wasn't that interested in going to see Alcatraz. I mean, granted, it was a famous high security prison. But I thought I was gonna see trinkets and, you know, little, it was gonna be a tourist trap. And I was actually pleasantly surprised that that was not the case. I found it fascinating. But I want to go a little more into that since you did the documentary about it. But one thing I was really interested in at first, I was kind of offended. And that was all the graffiti and the scorched buildings. And then I learned with the story behind what those were, and I'm glad they were there. It was because Native Americans took over and occupied Alcatraz starting in 1969. And I think very few people in this country ever knew this happened. Tell us about it what you know about it. I know that's not what your show is about. But I'd like to hear what you do know about it?



Well, I mean, of course, the Indian occupation was a major part of the doc because that's a major part of Alcatraz history, but it's It's it has to do with a protest by Richard Oakes. I think that was the name of the leader. And they were protesting the breaking of the treaties with the various tribes, not just on Alcatraz but around the country. And there was, I believe correctly, there was no oh, boy, they there. There was something in the treaty with the Native Americans that said that if it wasn't being used, that they could have it. And Alcatraz was just an abandoned prison, but a very high profile abandoned prison in the center of San Francisco Bay. And so they, a group of Native Americans went out there and they, they held the land, they stayed on the island for a couple of years. It didn't end well. Unfortunately. I know Richard Oakes, I believe one of his daughters actually died because they were living in the ruins of the buildings where the families of the prison guards had lived when it was a federal prison. And they were pretty rundown if you went to Alcatraz, right? You see how those buildings are just dissolving into the air. And that's kind of it was a little better back then, of course, but it was still a abandoned property, basically. And it was pretty dangerous. But it really galvanized Native Americans, it really captured the attention of the American public. I believe that Richard Nixon even he was very sympathetic to the Native Americans to he was president at the time, but and then it like I said, it didn't end well. But it did make its point. And that's what you saw there with all the graffiti, and that graffiti, by the way, is very, very well protected. They don't want that graffiti. They want to maintain that because it is such an important part of the islands. So


Brad Shreve  06:52

and now that you reminded me I do remember reading the treaty, as far as I can understand treaties can go. And to me, it was pretty clear as day right that it should have been handed over. Exactly. There was no questions asked. And for those that don't know, it's now national parkland, and that's what I presume it will remain and what interests to do about the island that made you want to do the documentary?



Well, I mean, to be quite honest, I was working at KQED. And we wanted to do a documentary about it. And I was asked if I wanted to do it. And I said, Yeah, of course I do. And it was a really amazing experience, we got to go into all the areas where the public can't go, because it's just basically too dangerous. But we were, it's a ranger guided tour. So the Rangers take you around the island in the doc are the ones who are remaining there. And this was some 20 years ago. A lot of them have retired. But it's it was it was a very revealing because that location, even if it's beautiful weather in San Francisco, you're out in the middle of the bay. It's not that far. You course you can see right to it. But that wind coming it's like straight from the Golden Gate and the wind is flying through. And those seagulls and the flies, it's really, it's really a pretty, pretty brutal environment. And I know that the prisoners said that they could hear there was a I believe it's still there, like a sort of a fancy Yacht Club. And they could hear on New Year's Eve, the people at the fancy Yacht Club having a party and they were sitting in their cells on this freezing cold island with the goals of the flies. And so yeah, it's a really fascinating place. It's very spooky in a lot of ways, but definitely, as you mentioned, it definitely worth going to see.


Brad Shreve  08:41

I think it was in fact, I'm almost certain it was Jack London, who said and I'm paraphrasing, the coldest day I've ever felt was a summer day in San Francisco.


Bud Gundy  08:51

It was the coldest winter I ever had was a summer in San Francisco.


Brad Shreve  08:57

Okay. Well, I had I was close.


Bud Gundy  09:00

And I and I think there's some question about whether he actually said that.


Brad Shreve  09:03

Well, yeah, you know, like, all the things are attributed to Mark Twain, right. But still a pretty good quote, because it's damn true. It is. And I'll tell you what fascinated me about going to the prison. For those of you out there who haven't been to prison and I hope that most of you television makes things look bigger because they got to get the cameras in there. But when you go in that prison, those cells are tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny and the whole space itself that they live in is was very small. It was a it was a rather dreary place to live.


Bud Gundy  09:40

Absolutely it was and they will all I don't know what the new guards are like there I knew all the old guards there are the you know the Rangers rather and they they hate that movie. Birdman of Alcatraz because they say it is so false. That guy was a sociopath. He was a horrible human being And the movie made him out to be this very charming, lovely person. But anyway.


Brad Shreve  10:07

Nobody wants to see a psychopath taking care of birds. Exactly right. Actually, that might not be a bad movie, it just be a totally different story, it would be yes. Some somebody should rewrite it.


Bud Gundy  10:21

Yeah. Tell them tell the true story anyway.


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Brad Shreve  11:08

Alright, so let's get right back to what we're talking about, which is inherit the lightning, which as I said, the book has been out. This show airs on May 10, which is the day it becomes available on Amazon. So it is available, you can go to the publisher and buy it, you can go to Amazon, publish it and buy it. I just think Bud wants you to buy this book. I highly recommend it as well. Why when you said it was going to take and I'm not one to question because I told my readers a book was coming out two years ago, and they're still hounding me about it. But you said in 2020, it was going to be out by the end of the year. What took so long?


Bud Gundy  11:52

Well, it was a huge, unwieldy story. And I tried, I had to figure out a number of different elements. And I was trying various ways of presenting those, like the inheritance issue. I was trying to follow legal advice that I got from lawyers about how you would structure it and, and it was like, very complex. And so I decided eventually that that wasn't working. So I took that out. And I replaced it with I think a more interesting plot twist that reveals the the character of Cooper, Cooper tiller, who's the great grandfather, and just in a number of other ways I could go on and on and on about how big this story was, and how it took a lot of time to carefully shave and edit and shape the story. So and I just didn't want to like, put it out there before I had any confidence in it. You know,


Brad Shreve  12:46

what I think a lot of times when you start doing research, you find either it's going to take you down a very long road to fully understand it. Or it could just be boring, you know, to to make people understand the story, you're gonna have to somehow make this really boring legal crap. Interesting,


Bud Gundy  13:08

right? Or at least not so that you have to spend so much time on it to explain it to the reader. Right? He's so you just have to simplify it. And that's, that's what took me a while to get to, for some of it. So, yeah.


Brad Shreve  13:21

Do you ever read James Michener Oh,



my God, I haven't read Michener in years.


Brad Shreve  13:26

Now. I love James Michener. But for those that aren't from our, almost every one of his books begins with the formation of the Earth, right? Because whatever. One books takes takes place in Colorado and how its held the settling of the West. Another one, my favorite is take place, settling Chesapeake Bay and other Alaska, and so on and so on. So we started with the formation of the earth, and then how that particular area formed. And then he gets into the native people that live there, which all that's conjecture. And I used to, I used to try and read his novels read, and I'm like, How can anybody read this? And then I learned, skip all that and go right to where the story begins. And his stories are great. So if you ever want if you tried to read a Michener or novel and you couldn't do it, skip ahead to where the story really begins. And you may find it's a pretty fascinating story.


Bud Gundy  14:21

Yeah, I remember one of his books. He started with the were the dinosaurs who were living at that particular location. But But yeah, it was yeah, you're right. He did that a lot.


Brad Shreve  14:31

And actually think the dinosaurs was Centennial, which is the one that Colorado yes, they actually made a made for TV movie of that book, which wasn't bad. It was pretty good. Unlike Hawaii, which was a very good book, but they turned it into a musical and I may my god I don't really have been fine musical but other than the name My end the fact that it was based on his book, there's no connection whatsoever to


Bud Gundy  15:06

Yeah, I remember when Hawaii was on TV. Yeah,


Brad Shreve  15:10

there was a tiki tiki movie. Anyway, there was a song that drove me insane. Now when


Bud Gundy  15:16

I think you're getting South Pacific mixed up with Hawaii, am I Yes, because Hawaii had a very I remember the ending of that. It was very grim. It was all the, the, you know, the native people, you know, the indigenous inhabitants, I guess, would want to say, but yeah, it was it was pretty sad ending. It wasn't a happy musical. I think you're confusing. Because that you're thinking happy, happy, happy, happy talk. That's Yes, that's South Pacific. Okay. Don't put don't don't put me singing on the air.


Brad Shreve  15:53

And as you were talking, I pulled it up. South, or South Pacific was based on a Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway play. So yes, yes. Excuse me that I will say who I was not all that hot either. So yeah, yeah, excuse me for confusing the two. And thank you for setting me straight. Now. I want to go back and watch why and see if it's as bad as I recall.


Bud Gundy  16:18

I mean, interested to go back and watch Centennial now, because I don't I'm not sure if I even watched it when it came out. But I remember trying to read that book. But yeah, I tried was the key word there.


Brad Shreve  16:29

Yeah, it's pretty good. It's pretty good. Okay. I would say the miniseries is good. But like I said, Don't compare the movie with TV. They're different mediums. Yeah, just enjoy each on their own. Yeah, this whole I've always said I don't play the book is better than the movie game because it can't compare. You can't take a 1000 page book and make it into a two hour movie and have it be the same. Exactly. different mediums. Yeah. Now when we talked about the story before Coop, who was the great grandpa was a great grandfather, great, great grandfather,


Bud Gundy  17:08

great grandfather,


Brad Shreve  17:09

a great grandfather, he had the inheritance in the story spans about 140 years. And when we first talked,Coop was going to be a very small, almost a throwaway character, just to say he has an inheritance. And that was about it. That changed. And he became a much bigger part of the story. How did that come about?



Well, so I Coop was just actually never going to be part of the story at all. He was just going to be an old man in a, you know, on the photos on the the mantel and but the house that the house had cube commissioned back in 1920. He I described it and a friend of mine read that description and said, I just need to know more about this house. And so I tried a variety of ways to talk about the house and tell the story of the house. And all of them were horrible and contrived. And my friend sent me that story. I think it was by gosh, Virginia Woolf may be about about the ghosts wandering through the house. But then she Virginia Woolf had already done it right. So I couldn't do it. And I tried it from a number of different ways. And I finally thought I just need to know more about Cooper who had this house built. And I started writing his story. I always thought, okay, he was he owned a coal mine. And that's where the fortune came from it this sort of hidden fortune that the Modern Family, they they kind of wondered where it went like was it all spent. Anyway, Cooper had the house built. And I had I realized I had to know his story in order to talk about the house. And the more I started putting together the story of Cooper tiller, the more interesting he became. And then the more I started studying that period, he was born in 1880. I'd always expected him to be the owner of a coal mine, but I decided that he was going to be born really poor. And so how does a poor farm boy end up owning a coal mine? And how does he know how to make it coal mine? Profitable it which is a very complicated story, but again, very fascinating to me anyway. And so when I started doing, putting his character sketch together, he just became so interesting. And I knew he had to be a major part of the book. Was he ruthless? Initially, I planned him to be just sort of Yeah, like this gruff, stereotypical, very wealthy businessman from the turn of the 20th century. But that was just boring. You know, it was just such a stereotype. And I wanted him to be a lot, a lot more interesting as a character. And then, as I did that, I saw ways I could make him more interesting and more interesting and more interesting. And so no, I don't think he's ruthless. I think he's a very good person. He has his flaws for sure. But he's not ruthless.


Brad Shreve  20:11

And I'll tell you it the ruthlessness is a stereotype. It's actually for good reason. I, I really love to study US history from basically 1800 to 1900. Because it's amazing. I mean, we think there have been amazing changes since the 1900s. Today, and, and there were, but that was a really interesting time period for the country just because it was such a new new country and was really on the precipice of collapsing a lot. And when they I found interesting are people like farm boys who became multimillionaires one way or another? And they were all pretty not nice people. Yeah, the Vanderbilts were not the sweetest people. And there's the railroad barons, I could go on and on, right, I'm sure there was some some great folks. Even Andrew Carnegie, who was nice enough to build a library in every town across the country. wasn't such a nice guy. I guess later, he decided to give some people some books, but you Yeah. So yeah, I agree with you. It probably wasn't a good idea, because there's a stereotype. But as I say, many types, many times stereotypes do exist for a reason at times.


Bud Gundy  21:24

Exactly. Yeah, I'm aware of that, too. But I coupe was just, I was too fond of him to make him just that kind of a character. So


Brad Shreve  21:32

well, let's go beyond the blurb. And aside from what you were going to read, in online about the story, give us as be as much beyond that as you can, obviously without telling us the whole damn thing,


Bud Gundy  21:48

right. So you know, it's it's about Darcy Darcy is the great grandson in the modern day, and Darcy's grandmother has just died. And her death, it turns out, released the, the state the inheritance. And so Darcy and his sisters, discover that they are about to inherit this immense fortune that Cooper Tiller left if he structured his will, in such a way, as I said, and there's a reason for that, too. And so, but there's somebody else in New York City saying no, actually, I own this estate. And so who is this person? How do they relate to the family like what they've been waiting for this money their whole lives, they just kind of assumed it was gone. Like maybe it wasn't as much money as they expected, and it didn't spent, but they coop sets out, or Darcy rather sets out to find this man. And he it leads him to he doesn't follow the clues necessarily to find out about his great grandfather's life. But it leads him to people who can tell him about his great grandfather, and he doesn't make some discoveries of his own. But Darcy never knew anything about Cooper, you know, he just was the old man and pictures. And he's amazed by the story that he learns about his great grandfather and the reality of his life. And that because Darcy and Cooper are very similar, although neither, you know, Cooper died, you know, a good 2030 years before Darcy was born. And Darcy is not aware of his similarities to his great grandfather, but I had a lot of fun writing them separately, and then tying them together in these really interesting ways. So for example, one thing Darcy has a very instant connection with animals. Well, he doesn't know that. But he he inherited that from coop. So you know, it's just like fun things like that. But also more important there. They're both very confident of their ability to conquer skills. But they both have very little faith in their emotional inert life. And they have a very hard time with relationships and love. So Well,


Brad Shreve  24:08

part of the story with Darcy learning things about coop as the story goes along. The story is nonlinear. Correct? Yeah. Which sometimes is difficult for me, but when it's done well, that's the way you do I really enjoy it. And best I can do think of movies as to movies. I like Pulp Fiction is one of my all time favorite. And then there's one I think I'm one of the few people that like it, it's a book called go or a movie called Go which really kind of was a rip off of of Pulp Fiction, but I still like it. And they are nonlinear. I liked the way they did it. But was did you plan on being there that way or did again just as coop developed, happen?


Bud Gundy  24:54

It just happened but it you know when you say that in linear it's true that we go back and forth in Time. For the end, there's a little bit of time shifting within this the the two parallel stories itself themselves, but, but I think you can follow the progression of each of the characters fairly easily. So, but I didn't want to do this again, Brad, I'm constantly doing this with my characters, older characters, younger characters parallel stories. And I don't, I never set out to do that, in fact, but I'm aware now that this is my preferred style of writing. And I intentionally set out to not write this story this way. But I could not just leave coop, I had to, I had to write about it. So.


Brad Shreve  25:42

And that's really interesting, because the last time that you were on this show, we talked about the fact that you enjoy writing intergenerational stories. Yeah. And while this is a case where Darcy and Koop didn't know each other, it was still very much an intergenerational story. And are you thinking that it sounds almost like you just said, you're kind of saying that's the path you're going to take? Well, maybe not all the time. But


Bud Gundy  26:08

yeah, I mean, I enjoy doing it, because I love weaving these generations together. And I think we, you know, these, these things that happen in the past have an influence on us that we're not even aware of most of the time. And I find it really, I, you know, I've discovered some things in my own life about my own grandmother. And the way my dad acted, my dad was had a very big terror of his children being in water. And then I found out my dad died, probably by 2008. And I found out just a couple of years ago that my grandmother, his mother, her older brother, had drowned in like, 1907 or something. And so I think, Oh, my God, like, that's where my dad got the terror of water. He got it from his mom whose brother drowned. So you know, it's just like, I love exploring those kinds of connections. So, but I'm really going to try and not do it for this next one. In fact, I really don't see how I could actually.


Brad Shreve  27:11

You're gonna have to have your husband hold your hands when you start to go that route? Yes. So are you kind of big on ancestry?


Bud Gundy  27:21

Well, I mean, I wouldn't say that I'm big on it. No, I'm just fascinated by the past. And I'm fascinated by the way the past influences us. Yeah. I don't know what you mean, specifically by ancestry. So I mean, like, do I study my own? Yeah. Oh, I would say no, I know, that people my family have. And there are some interesting question marks there. We don't we're not really sure who my grandfather was. on my mom's side. But, and there's some reasons for that. But in the story, my mom told me all her life until she was like in her 90s, and finally revealed the truth was not the truth. And so but I haven't studied that. No,


Brad Shreve  28:02

well, it is amazing. Some of the things that come up. My husband, Maurice is very interested in ancestral history. And his is very different, difficult, because he, his family's Creole. So you had that era where the French elite in New Orleans may have had a black wife per se, but she was not allowed to be part of society. And then once he married, she just kind of tossed aside there. That all history is kind of hard. And plus, it was a very poor area, so that history is kind of hard to, to dig up. But in the process, he's he's dug up a lot of my history and like, he'll put one of my ancestors in there and then just explode Boom. Oh, there's this tie in with all these other ancestors that he's absolutely fascinated by for my family's past. I'm like, Oh, okay. But there are interesting things like I, you know, I found out my grandmother was not my grandmother, and my aunt and uncle. Were not my aunt and uncle. Yeah. Life is very. Right. And so that has gotten me a little more interested than I would have been. But


Bud Gundy  29:13

yeah, yes. That discovery about my grandfather was pretty amazing. Because my mom had always told us that he died right before she was born. But it turns out, and then nobody's quite sure who he was and when he died or anything, so.


Brad Shreve  29:30

Yeah. Well, you're more you can tell us about Darcy.


Bud Gundy  29:34

Yeah, well, Darcy is a an interesting character. He's one of these guys who moved to San Francisco when he's a young and because he's very interested in the idea of living in a city with a lot of gay man, because it's a place for him to go party and meet guys and have a lot of sex. But guys like that can burn out. I mean, I'm not saying that they don't have a good life, you know, for the Part of years and maybe some of them make it into something more substantial later in life, but they can, they can wake up one day. I've seen this happen several times here in San Francisco where a guy wakes up and it's like, oh, shit, you know, he's a lot closer to 40 than he used to 20. He's a lot closer to 50. Even then he is. And all he's been doing this whole time is partying, he's got no money. He's, you know, he's got a dead end job. And he panics and then he gets out of town. And I've seen that happen several times to some of my friends. And so I think he has that kind of an interesting background. I had a lot in there about his family and his relationship with his sisters. But I took a lot of that out because I don't know how Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice with five sisters and made it work. I just, I just don't be it's it's so hard to juggle those characters. And people were very confused by them. So I ended up taking a lot of that out and shortening that story substantially. So but he's a he's an interesting guy, too. But, but he his his accomplishments are good for him. You know, he and he does manage to support himself for a while anyway. But they're nothing at all as expansive as what coop experience, but coop got lucky because of where he ended up. So


Brad Shreve  31:25

I don't know why you keep reminding me of old movies. But you are. I don't know if you remember. Lifeguard I think it was 1976 had Sam Elliot in it.


Bud Gundy  31:37

Oh, God, I don't think I ever saw that movie. But yes, I remember it like, Oh, my God is having such a huge crush on San Elliot.


Brad Shreve  31:47

As I recall, it wasn't a very good movie. But the reason why he made me think about it is Sam Elliott wakes up one day and realizes he's kind of this middle aged guy who's still a lifeguard. And you know, you can't be a lifeguard when you're 70. So what are you gonna do with your life? And what you're talking about, like some of the, I don't want to say circuit, guys, but some of the guys that are partiers and have a great time. Large number of them do that for a few years, and they go out, you know, get their fun out and go on with their life. But the ones that stay that way. Like you said, it's like one day they realize like, No, I'm driving an ice cream truck. Right? Yeah. Yeah. It's sad to see that happen.


Bud Gundy  32:33

Yeah. Well, yeah. And it was sad that Sam Elliott said that thing about the power of the dog, I really was disappointed. I was like, Are you? Did you hear about that? He was complaining about that movie? No, he said it was like to gay or something like that. And it was like, Sam Elliot, come on, like all of these gay boys, who were your you know, who were madly in love with you in the 70s. He did apologize for it later, but I was still disappointed in


Brad Shreve  32:58

him. I think actors have gotten much smarter. Ryan Reynolds, who? I have no doubt he's straight. But I could be wrong. He knows how to play that up. And he plays it a big time. Yeah. And I don't think in the 70s they were as likely to do that. Well,


Bud Gundy  33:17

no, they weren't. But he didn't say this in the 70s. He said this, like last, you know, in the last few months. So it was like, Yeah, I mean, he probably wouldn't have really been aware of it in the 70s. But he should be aware of it by now for God's sake. So


Brad Shreve  33:32

he was maybe older mentality.


Bud Gundy  33:34

Maybe maybe because he was super hot.


Brad Shreve  33:37

Oh, yes, he was. And I'm going to totally throw us off the rails here because I have to tell my Ryan Reynolds story. Okay. My husband Maurice, and I were driving through Santa Monica, and we stopped at a stop sign. And going across the crosswalk was Ryan Reynolds. And of course, we flipped out and I haven't lived in LA this long. It's very rare that a celebrity I'll even bat an eye. Oh, Ryan has a different story. I've been wanting to get into his pants for years. So to be quite honest, but he had this little fluffy dog he was walking and we looked at each other and we're like, oh my God, he's gay. Sadly, it was a few months later that I saw him in Alanis Morrisette back when they were together, playing with a dog and it was a Alanis Morrisette's dog for a few months. I got to believe that not that every street man that has a fluffy not that every man that has a fluffy dog is gay or in my mind went to exactly where I want it to go. So for those few months, my fantasy was was thoroughly enjoyed.


Bud Gundy  34:47

I have to look Ryan Reynolds up I don't know who he is to be quite well, I know the name but I just yeah, I'm not really up on celebrity culture to be quite honest. I mean, I don't mean that in any kind of snobby way. I just I am busy.


Brad Shreve  35:01

I will only tell tell you this there are a lot of incredibly attractive men in this world. Ryan is not only attractive. He is hysterically funny and damn charming.  Okay,  three to three together. I don't know how they could not love him.  Okay  Yeah. Yeah, if he was an asshole. It'd be a whole different. I'd say there's a hot looking asshole. But he's the total package in my opinion. Okay, great. So Darcy has had I don't know about love interest that he has. He longs for Jake tester. Right. Right. Who is Jake and tell us tell us about that little entanglement there?


Bud Gundy  35:47

Well, Jake is his grandmother's gardener who keeps this gigantic lancha grandmother grows up and lives her whole life. It turns out in the house that coop built, but Jake is the gardener Darcy has the hots for him the first time they saw each other. Darcy thought, oh my god, we had this connection. But then like Jake was suddenly gone. And Darcy was just visiting. So he went back to San Francisco. But so he's kind of been standoffish with Jake for a while. He's still the gardener. And he's still taking care of his grandmother's lawn, even though she's just died. So that he he decides because he's having this moment of like, I'm gonna go out and find who is trying to take away our inheritance. And he's just feeling this moment of determination. And he makes a pass at Jake, and then Jake accepts it. So that's that's who the J character is. But there's some complications there. And it is through coop coop story that Darcy eventually learns to maybe open up with a Jake and and maybe try to make something of so. So it has a hopeful


Brad Shreve  36:57

ending. Please tell me that Kook doesn't come back from the dead and tries to get in the way.


Bud Gundy  37:01

He does not know.


Brad Shreve  37:04

We're not talking to parents. And I have no problem a paranormal this right? Yep. It just doesn't sound paranormal. Yeah, I kind of knew the answer to that one before. You did one interesting thing. And it's not a huge part of the story. But there has been major, major debate in writers groups, and even in readers group. And that concerns COVID. Writers are telling me I think most writers are telling me they're gonna ignore it, at least for now. Because they don't think people want to hear it. Maybe down the road, they will. And they're either skipping the years over COVID, or they're just writing like it doesn't exist. Readers are kind of conflicted as well. They think, well, it's part of history should be there. And I had actually a one time one now I've had two separate readers say, we don't want to see COVID In your book. In fact, one I don't know where she got the idea. She said, I'm sorry, Brett, I love your books, I will not be able to read the next one. Because you said COVID is going to be in there. And I'm like, I don't know when the hell I ever said that. But no, I don't, I probably won't be. But you made the choice to put it in there. Why? Well,


Bud Gundy  38:14

because of the timing. So his grandmother was Grandma Millie who just died was getting pretty old. So I really couldn't push it too much into the future. And it was also a good plot element because it's Darcy's parents died of COVID, the first summer of COVID. And it just kind of worked out. And but that's the extent of COVID. Will also Darcy loses his job in San Francisco because of COVID. And he has to move back. But he was going to move back anyway to help his grandma. But so it's an element in there. I can understand people being sick of it at this point. But there's there's gonna be a lot of stories about these these paths. Coming out, it may take a few years before somebody writes the right one. But yeah,


Brad Shreve  39:06

somebody suggested to me I can't remember who was he wasn't writer. He said, I think a good idea for you. Actually, it was a different podcast that I was on. But it had nothing to do with writing. It was personal stuff. And he said, I think you should write a story about COVID Now, while it's fresh in your head, but don't release it for 10 years. Oh, interesting that that. I said that's a good idea. Yeah. Cuz then, you know, 10 years, we might be used ready to read it. And now it's fresh in my head. But I don't know. I don't know if I'm in the mood to write about it.


Bud Gundy  39:39

Yeah, I think we're all just ready to move on. Right? Yeah. Like really ready to move on?


Brad Shreve  39:47

Yes. Yeah, absolutely. Now, the last time you were on, we talked about you working in production for PBS. And I asked you about writing and you use that there wasn't really a transition from writing to television because you kind of always knew you wanted to be a writer. Knowing that you wanted to be a writer, why did you choose to major in political science in college? Which seems like it would be more of what would have drawn you to television?


Bud Gundy  40:20

Well, so I, when I was God, I was 20 years old. I was very persistent about


Brad Shreve  40:28

five years ago.


Bud Gundy  40:31

Add a few decades to that. But I was very persistent. I, I interviewed for this job at the local NBC affiliate in Cleveland, Wk yc. And at the time, it was the Oh, no. So it was owned directly by NBC. But I spent every week I called and asked for an update on if they were going to have a position for me. And after a year, they finally hired me, and I was already I was a sophomore, at least in college. And at that point, like the, the college was not a career path for me anymore, because I was worried I was on my career path at work. So I thought, I'll just study anything I'm interested in. So that's why it took me an extra year to finish because I changed majors a number of times, and I ended up I was very, very interested in in politics back then. And super interested in Middle Eastern politics. And so that's what I studied. And it was just because I had the luxury of studying something I was interested in.


Brad Shreve  41:38

So you've ended up in public television and Public Radio. Do you think that you enjoy that more than you would in commercial?


Bud Gundy  41:48

Oh, no question, w


Brad Shreve  41:49

hy, and why is that?


Bud Gundy  41:50

No question about it. Because the in commercial television it was, I was working in news, right. So it's not like I was right working for entertainment. I was working for NBC News. And I don't know if I should say, the network. But but but the the commitment there was to the ratings, it was just all about ratings. And they serving the audience with information with interesting shows, with things that to engage them intellectually treating them with respect. Those things didn't exist, at least what what I saw they weren't there. And when I went to PBS, and NPR, this was a several years after I left NBC, I had sort of a foray back into television. When I moved to San Francisco, I did some I was a print reporter. Thank God, I didn't I got out of that. I'd be homeless by now. But and then I was doing marketing and but you know, I just as soon as I walked into those doors at KQED, it was all about like, what, what is interesting and informative for our audience, it was all about serving the audience. I mean, that all the time. But most of the time, that was what was driving us, it still is. And that I love that environment. I really hated the way in commercial TV the audience was, people were contemptuous of the audience. I saw. Why are you so contemptuous of these people? Like why do you call them these names? They're, you know, they're our audience for God's sake. And that that atmosphere does not exist at PBS and NPR, at least doesn't that I've seen?


Brad Shreve  43:33

Well, I don't know what time period it was that you got involved in public television. But I remember back when networks had a news division, and an entertainment division, right. And I can't remember what never, I'm gonna say NBC, but I don't know for a fact I probably shouldn't even mention their name. I remember one of the networks was the first to announce as a cost saving measure, measure. We're going to combine the two divisions together. And that is really when I think we saw things spiral downward. There's, there's no such thing as unbiased news. Because just deciding what shows are newsworthy or what stories are newsworthy, there's a biased in there, but you certainly can do the best you can. Right. And I think back then they used to and that's not true anymore. No, it isn't. Not in any kind of shape or form. So it is sad to have seen that happen in especially nowadays. I mean, nobody's learning anything if you if you're liberal, liberal, you watch Rachel Maddow, and that's who all you watch and if you're conservative and even crazy conservative watch Tucker Carlson then that's your only listening to what you want to hear. And I don't think that's healthy.


Bud Gundy  44:55

No, there's a lot that's not healthy going on right now. I mean, I just said If you're just a little bit there, I think that people if you're conservative, you only listen to conservative news. I don't. I think that people were conditioned to listen to what they want to hear. I don't think that it's gravitated towards anything. I think they were conditioned for what they wanted. And I don't know, I'm not explaining this. Well, I haven't thought it through very carefully. But I think that it doesn't mean because you watch Tucker Carlson that you're like, down the line it Republican and you all support Republicans, and you support Trump. And it doesn't mean that like, there's still a lot. It's even like Q anon and all these crazy conspiracy theories that are going on today. I think we make a mistake when we write those people off, because a lot of those people aren't even particularly political. It seems kind of crazy. But that's the truth. They're just not. And not I'm not saying that the leaders aren't. But I'm saying that the people who are involved and then wrapped up in these things, they're not as political maybe as we think they are. I think they just, it's just kind of a group dynamics, tribal, tribal politics, you know, and I think that they are still very reachable. I'm not that I have the insight and knowledge to reach them. But they are, and I think we should be trying to. So


Brad Shreve  46:22

in actually Dharma Kelleher and I talked about that last week that regardless of what kind of let's see, the leaders have particular parties are people, the general public or just connecting with people that feel the way they do, right. And it's, it's not particularly news that they just like comfort, there's that comfort level of, you know, your, regardless of what side of the aisle you're on, I'm not gonna go there. But we're more comfortable with people that think like us. And I think people tend on both sides, they'll tend to be thinking a lot more radical, for lack of better word. I hate to use that word, but extremely. Yeah, extremist. And I think that's what it comes down to. I don't think that's huge. There. I'm not big on conspiracy theories, because people talk and but let's say there's some wider winds going on overall, it's just people taking advantage of what they're seeing. And they're telling people what they want to hear. Yeah, so yeah, that could be that's a whole different story.


Bud Gundy  47:22

It is a whole different topic, but it's an interesting one, but it's a whole different topic.


Brad Shreve  47:29

So you were with public television, back in 1994, when Tales of the City came out,


Bud Gundy  47:37

I think it was just after Tales of the City. I think tales came out in 93.


Brad Shreve  47:42

Okay, yeah. When did you start? 94? Okay, so you definitely felt the impact? Yes. Because they were in serious trouble after that happen? Well, yeah. the Senate was ready to yank out every penny.


Bud Gundy  47:56

Yeah. Well, you know, the thing is for KQED, that the money that people pay for taxes that come to KQED is, in fact that come to CPP or NPR is tiny, it's very small and KQED had never gets more than like, 10% of our money from those sources. So it was like, it wasn't as scary for us. But there were a lot of little stations that it was a big threat to them to have federal funding poll, but thankfully, it wasn't. But there was a lot of controversy that with Marlon Riggs, the Tongues Untied, that documentary about African American gay men. That got a lot of criticism. It was a beautiful Doc, you know, and Tales of the City really wasn't that risque. As far as I was concerned. It was great, but I think it may have been the first like romantic same sex like real same sex kiss on TV that came out of tales but it wasn't like you know, graphic sex or anything like that, but


Brad Shreve  48:59

okay, but it was more than a kiss. We saw men naked in bath houses. We saw people openly doing drugs and not done in a negative way. They just did drugs and right now I'm gonna disagree with you. I think it was a I think was a big step.


Bud Gundy  49:14

Well, I don't I don't remember naked men and bath houses and Tales of the City. I mean, not the original one. It may have been Brad, I'm not saying that you're wrong. I just I don't remember that. I remember that kiss. And I remember because this is people were still making appointment TV. You were what everyone was watching the same episode at the same time. I remember getting calls from straight friends saying oh my god, there was a gay kiss I TV so but I don't remember all the rest of that but but you could be right I don't remember. We


Brad Shreve  49:46

watched it not too long ago and I'm almost certain there was some nudity because the guy that played rocketeer that does he both my husband and I had crushes on him long ago and I kept waiting for him to be naked. It never happened very But I think we're anticipating that because there was other nudity shown in the story, but anyway, okay, it still was it was still was way beyond its years. Yes, it was. And what I found interesting with that is you and I've discussed this before, that I remember growing up PBS was opera symphonies. And the whole reason that I recall, saying there was public support for public media was to protect these classics that were going away. And you'd be hard pressed to find an opera on PBS these days. It's changed dramatically, we have Tales of the City and, and I actually Saturday Night Live did a really funny skit years ago. And it was a it was probably one of the biggest routines I remember them doing. I have not been able to find it anywhere online. They had flashing neon lights, they had people singing and dancing. And it was supposedly a PBS. Commercial about we're not stuffy anymore. And what made it brilliant was the next week the president of PBS came on and assured the public, they are stuffy and always will be stuffy. Which made it even more funny. Yeah. Do you ever see going back to what I recall is perfectly what I hear on as far as NPR, public radio is almost entirely news.


Bud Gundy  51:46

Yeah, yeah, for sure. I mean, KQED is an all new station. And do I see it going back to like, are we talking about NPR, PBS here?


Brad Shreve  51:56

Really? Kind of both? But let's go with NPR.


Bud Gundy  51:59

Well, NPR is started as a new service that stations like KQED with just sort of feed out to their public using this, you know, the local signals. But, you know, we do a lot of local news and information programming, I KQED. Public Radio, I can't see that ever changing. It used to be that KQED ran on the radio, like a lot of bluegrass and a lot of you know, like you said up or a different classical music. But I can't see us going back to that we've become too important as a new source, just because some we've lost so many reliable news sources in the last 20 years. And people turn rely on KQED in Northern California, because because there's no other real source of that kind of intense focus on local news and information. So I don't think for KQED there's no going back.


Brad Shreve  52:57

I will tell you this in the podcasting world, all the different groups and that sort of thing when you talk about podcasting, and you talk about the cream of the crop, NPR is always up there. Good. It's always the kind of the crop. Now I will argue that whether or not they're actually podcasts, because they are shows that ended up being podcasting, like, but there's still you can't deny that beautifully done.


Bud Gundy  53:25

Well, I understand what you mean about just turning shows into his streaming audio file, and that makes it a podcast. I understand what you're saying there. But we also KQED produces a number of very interesting podcasts that never air so so we do have a podcast inventory that is not just taken from our on air shows, but a lot our Yes, yes,


Brad Shreve  53:48

I agree with you. There are I will say wait, wait, don't tell me I love it every week here. But then they put it on his podcast and it is not a podcast, but that's a whole different. I'm glad they do because I rarely can listen to it when when it's on anyway. But right. That's, that's a whole different story. So the name of the book is inherit the lightning. Yes. And here it is out now. By it.


Bud Gundy  54:11

Yeah, gave him at bold strokes books. You can go there if you don't want to go to the you know, feed the gigantic octopus, but it is available every other place. So as of today,


Brad Shreve  54:23

we know the big guy as him but go to Bold Stroke books.


Bud Gundy  54:28

Yeah, they would they would love to have you online. And if you know, like there's a lot of a lot of writers at bold strokes who are very interesting, mostly LGBT, and you know, you can find a lot of interesting stuff there. So,


Brad Shreve  54:45

and I it is not an exaggeration that we would not see a lot of these outstanding Authors, if it wasn't for some of these small town presses.


Bud Gundy  54:54

3x true. Worth the hell out of them. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah,


Brad Shreve  54:59

well Thank you, but it was great to have you on again. I appreciate it.


Bud Gundy  55:03

Thank you, Brad. It was a lot of fun to see you again. And yeah, good luck with everything. Oh, and congratulations on being named by BuzzFeed as one of the top you have to you're gonna have to say that.


Brad Shreve  55:16

Well, it was one of the top queer podcast as you go about your queer day. I don't know if I have that. Correct, but it's pretty close.


Bud Gundy  55:28

But it's like one of the top. It's like the top 20 podcasts. So it's like we're really high up there.


Brad Shreve  55:34

Yes, yes. I do want to do a shout out to my friends over at the Big Gay fiction podcast. They made the list. But yes, they did. Good for you guys, but I don't really care. No, Jeff, and well have been great to me from day one when I started, but it was quite an honor to be included on the list with them. Yes, yeah, absolutely. So thank you for mentioning that.


Bud Gundy  55:55

Yeah, you bet. So yeah, thanks. Thanks for having me again. Brad.