Whether Hoboken resident David Brown is interviewing Evander Holyfield or fending off Scientology conspiracy theorists, his on-air persona, Dr. Blogstein, is in charge, and his Happy Hour talk show is one of the highest rated Internet radio programs on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Every Tuesday night at 9 p.m. Brown runs an uncensored one-man circus out of his Hoboken apartment with his telecommuting co-hosts, Vinnie Bond and Dangerous Lee.
Vinnie Bond was a regular caller on the show and his love for American Idol earned him status as a correspondent. He quickly became a sobering yin to Brown’s boisterous yang.
Dangerous Lee was a guest as an advice columnist, and she quickly cemented a niche as the outspoken woman’s voice on the show.
Together, they comprise a radio blogging triad that could arguably be deemed an independent version of the Howard Stern Show on BlogTalkRadio.
David vs. Dr. Blogstein
Brown started out as any blogger would – writing funny ideas on his Web site, DrBlogstein.com. But, in January 2007, Dr. Blogstein got his big break.
“I had no idea what BlogTalkRadio was, what Internet radio was, but some guy who was reading the blog called me and said, ‘Hey, would you be a guest on my radio show?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it. I don’t know what it is, but I’ll do it.’ And as I’m doing [the show], the CEO of BlogTalkRadio calls in, and he says, ‘Hey, you’re funny. You should do your own show.’ ”
And just like that, Brown’s Dr. Blogstein was up and running the next month. He recently celebrated his one-year anniversary on Feb. 12.
“I love it,” Brown says, explaining that he loves it so much that his on-air persona sometimes flows into his daily life. “Sometimes, I really have to shut myself up. Sometimes, I make jokes at inappropriate times, because I forget I’m not doing the show 24 hours a day … For one hour a week, I can be me.”
And who exactly is that?
“I love being the only normal person among the wackiness,” says Brown, who believes his craziest callers had to be the Scientology protesters who called in en masse for the Feb. 19 show when his guest, boxing champ Evander Holyfield, had to postpone his appearance until Feb. 26. “I just love when people call in and make very little sense, and I’m trying to figure out what they’re trying to talk about. Half of me feels bad about it, and half of me loves it.”
So how did Brown get Holyfield to come on the show while on tour for his book, Becoming Holyfield?
Brown’s day job as a publicist for Simon & Schuster in New York affords him a vast network of contacts to tap. But as Dr. Blogstein has gained popularity, he’s been surprised by publicists reaching out to him to get guests on his show. That’s how he got actress Summer Glau (Firefly and The 4400) to talk about her latest TV series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Surfing Internet radio waves
Live radio can be unpredictable, and when guests have to postpone, like Holyfield did, that’s when Brown thinks the show is the most fun, because it’s on the fly and flows naturally.
“What I like absolute best is when it doesn’t go as planned,” Brown says, citing the Feb. 19 show when Holyfield postponed and another BlogTalkRadio host spontaneously called in, advocating active protests of Scientology. “Because it’s live, it lends itself to that kind of ridiculousness. You never know who’s going to call in. Some of the best shows that we’ve had have been when we’ve been pumped up for a guest and he doesn’t call in. In fact, the one I’ll tell you about – when Vinnie Bond was the American Idol correspondent, we were supposed to have Joey G, who played the gay gangster on The Sopranos, and he just flat out forgot.”
It’s this unpredictable chaos that prompted him to prerecord Holyfield’s interview, so he would definitely have it for the next week.
“I try not to prerecord the interviews, but sometimes it’s more convenient for the guest.”
He says it’s well worth it to be able to ask a heavyweight champion what it’s like to get punched.
And it’s clear how much he enjoys the job – he and his co-hosts carry on like old pals randomly pondering everything from the mundane to the offensive, almost like a radio improv version of a Seinfeld episode.
“That’s the way I like to do this show – it’s as if you’re sitting in the room with your friends,” explains Brown. “I’ve said that if you have no friends, we will be your friends for one hour a week.”
He says that this also demonstrates how the Internet is cutting out the middle man in the entertainment world.
“This is a brand new medium [with radio online], and I’m in on the ground floor. If it grows, I’m growing with it.”
And if his show is any indication, the medium is catching on.
“I am the second highest-rated comedy now. I was the first, but they got Nick DiPaolo, who was on Free FM,” says Brown. “So, he’s the number one spot. Now, I’m number two. My goal is to reclaim number one. I’ll show Nick DiPaolo, and his millions of listeners that he brought with him from regular radio. I’ll show him who’s boss.”
But that’s not all – he dreams of local fame, too.
“I was joking that my goal for this year was to make this show so big that it becomes synonymous with Hoboken, and then I’m going to petition the city for funding to commission a Mount Rushmore of Hoboken. It’s going to be Sinatra, a big baseball, Benny Tudino, and Dr. Blogstein.”
Comments on this story can be sent to Mpaul@hudsonreporter.com.