Just how relevant was the Walt Bodine of the past 30 years?
Outside of a handful of aging Boomers and NPR listeners from the arts and academia worlds – not very, says Stanford & Sons main man Craig Glazer.
“I was never a fan of his,” Glazer says. “I never thought he was cool or sharp or anything – he just existed. I only cared about him because I got to be on his show.”
Glazer had been on Bodine’s Night Beat when he was in high school.
Bodine’s Nightbeat program on WHB in the 1960s was one thing, Glazer says, his KCUR FM years quite another.
“He was horrible,” Glazer says. “He had me on once in the early 90s and he was already a schmo. He was just befuddled and shuffling papers and wasn’t really sure what the interview was about. He just let me interview myself. I think his radio longevity as an old man was based on a much older crowd.”
Bodine’s restaurant reviews on Channel 9 weren’t much better, Glazer adds.
“He came to Stanford & Sons with his assistant – I believe it was his daughter – right after we had just redone the restaurant and expanded the menu,” Glazer says. “And he was very kind, but the only thing I remember much about the review was he asked my manager Larry Nichols to cut up his steak in little, tiny pieces, like for a little kid.
“It wasn’t so much a food review, it was more about the history of Stanford’s and my dad from what Walt could remember. You know, when you get to be an older person like he was, it’s not a happy time. And I guess all he had was the media thing going and that kept him alive.
“I remember going down to (KCUR) one time and it was really strange. Walt’s reputation and people knowing him was bigger that his actual shows were. He carried this reputation of being the voice of Kansas City. But he just came across as an older gentleman who wasn’t really able to do a great job of interviewing people anymore. I just think he was past it.
“Realistically, we all knew why Walt was still on the air; it was kind of like keeping a historical monument around.”