Someone You Should Know - Radio

Someone You Should Know and WRKO part ways (Update)

I’ve held off writing about this, but this last Sunday for the first time in years, I didn’t prepare a “Someone You Should Know” tribute for that segment on Kevin Whalen’s “Pundit Review” radio.

As the time I usually do the segment came and went, I reflected on the fact that what started with Matt Burden and was handed off to me 4 or 5 years ago had survived that long. 

Each week, Kevin would have me on to talk about our heroes down range and the awards for valor they’d earned.  “Someone You Should Know”, was, according to Kevin, the most popular segment on the show.  He always wanted to attribute it’s success to Matt or me.  But both of us realized that without Kevin’s platform and generosity, SYSK would never have made it on the air or become the hit it became.

I’m not sure how many we did in the almost 7 years Kevin’s show was on, but it has to be hundreds.  And they’re all preserved right here in the Pundit Review archive.

WRKO, the station that carried the show, made a business decision to change the Sunday night talk line up.  That, of course, is their right.  As Kevin said:

After 374 Sunday’s, this was our final show on WRKO. It has been a great experience. I had many people to thank, starting with Gregg Jackson who pushed me into this crazy idea in the summer of 2004. There are lots of folks at WRKO to thank, from Todd Feinburg to Howie Carr to the great roster of producers, Sandy, Bernie, Producer Rob, Dan the Man, Ed, Horseshack. I don’t have a bad thing to say about WRKO. They gave me a great platform to do what I wanted for 374 weekends, so you won’t hear me complaining or saying they owe me week 375. In fact, I owe them.

Kevin’s a classy guy and I agree with him.  For that extended time we had the opportunity to tell the stories that weren’t getting much coverage in the press.

Anyway, here’s my bleg.  If you have a blog – it doesn’t matter what kind – and you’re looking for material, why not start popping one of these stories up each week for your readers (who will soon be listeners).  There are some that we call the “way back machine” where a hero from WWII, Korea or Vietnam is honored.   The rest are from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Regardless of whether or not the platform that WRKO so generously allowed us for so long still exits, these stories deserve to be heard and these heroes honored.

Oh, and one last thing … my and I’m sure Matt Burden’s profound thanks to Kevin Whalen for the opportunity he gave us here at Blackfive to honor our troops.  Kevin has been a supporter of our troops for years, is active in the Boston area in promoting groups and charities that help the troops and has also been a very good and close friend.  I’d also like to thank the wonderful and loyal Boston area listeners who tuned in every week to hear these stories and made me feel so welcome on their airwaves.  Thanks so much

I’ll admit I miss our Sunday talks already.  I’m hoping some other station will hook him up as he’s one of the best interviewers I’ve ever listened too (I’ll tell his secret – when he interviews someone he prepares.  If it is the author of a book, he actually reads the book … yeah, the whole thing).

Hopefully he’ll pop back up on the air and at some point SYSK will resume.   Until then, if you wouldn’t mind, maybe you could help keep it alive and honor those who’ve sacrificed so much to keep us free.

Update: Kevin drops us a comment and in it says:

If anyone wants to embed the audio for these great stories on their blog, drop me a note at punditreview -at-hotmail-dot-com and I can share the code with you.


Twitter: @McQandO

One more Burn Notice Photo with Someone You Should Know

Bieger 223444

Lt. Col. Mark Bieger (center left), the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment commander, stands with Spc. Peter Jank, a Chicago, Ill., native, while Bruce Campbell and Jeffrey Donovan, cast members from the television show "Burn Notice," hold the U.S. flag, Nov. 12, at Joint Security Station Nasir Wa Salam, Iraq. Bieger reenlisted Jank while the two actors assisted.  Photo by Spc. Luisito Brooks.

For a reminder of who that LTC is...go here

Project Hero, Someone You Should Know and Taking Chance Home

How true to LtCol Strobl's story about taking LCpl Chance Phelps home is HBO's treatment. This, from Chance's mother in a comment to a story at Pundit Review concerning the movie:

Hello to all! I am Lcpl Chance R Phelps mother, Gretchen.

It took me almost 5 years to completely read the account, "Taking Chance" that LtCol Mike Strobl wrote about bring our son home…. Mike is a dear friend of our family now. I still have to read the account in bits & pieces, as high emotions keep me from reading it all at once…

We did see the movie for the first time in early Dec as a family, before it's release to the public. Absolutely gut-wrenching to watch, but HBO & director Ross Katz did an amazing job of sticking to LtCol's story, and the reality of what goes on behind the scenes in our military.

Without them our country would suffer greatly.

My hat is off to all of you who choose to defend all of us!

Semper Fi,
Forever a Marine Mom,
Gretchen Mack

The latest radio "Someone You Should Know" at Pundit Review.

The latest "Project Hero" post.

Update from Blackfive:  Gretchen also left a comment on our post about the upcoming HBO movie.  Just thought you should know that she appreciates your comments as well (btw, Chance's family raised a lot of money for binocs, body armor, scopes, etc for the Marines).

Hello to all!  Thanks for the great posts about my son, Lcpl Chance R Phelps USMC.
Thanks for your service, commitment, and dediction to our country also.  Our family appreciates & cares for every one of our military men, women & families. You all are living examples of this country's greatness!

Semper Fi,
Forever a Marine Mom,
Gretchen Mack

Pundit Radio Interviews Former Media Chief ADM Slavonic

Up on Pundit Review Radio is an interivew with my former boss, RADM Greg Slavonic.  He details some of his work in Iraq, contrasting it with his media work in the First Gulf War, and gives some inside details on working with the prima donnas of the media like Christiane Amanpour. 

Listen to the interview HERE


Ranger Kanaan Merriken - Someone You Should Know Radio

Bruce McQuain from QandO is now telling the stories of Someone You Should Know at Pundit Review Radio:

We are honored to have Bruce Mc Quain from QandO as regular part of the program.  Bruce will be handling the Someone You Should Know series moving forward.   Matt Burden from Blackfive strongly recommended that Bruce take over. 

Why is Bruce such a great fit?  On QandO, he has done a series very similar to Someone You Should Know.  Project Hero tells the stories of those who were awarded the Silver Star. Bruce spent 28 years in the US military, is a Vietnam veteran, a Ranger and...was a member of the 82nd Airborne.

Go here to listen to it or you can download it at iTunes.  There are two podcasts at the link - the first introduced Bruce and the second is the someone you should know segment.

I had talked to Kevin at Pundit Review for a few weeks about getting Bruce to take over the SYSK Radio segment and we were able to "convince" Bruce to improve SYSK Radio.  It's tough for me to let it go after all of the time I spent with Kevin, Gregg and Rob building the SYSK segment into a popular piece, and I wanted to ensure that the tradition, respect, and accuracy continued.  Bruce was one of a very small group of vets I could think of to take over...listen to the segment and you'll see exactly why.

Doc Kirby - Someone You Should Know Radio

Doc Kirby has been featured here and at Op-For and other blogs quite a few times.  I talked about Doc Kirby and his Marines on Pundit Review (click link for podcast) last night. 

You can see the list of Someone You Should Know - Radio podcasts at Pundit Review (also available at iTunes).

SPC Daniel Unger - Someone You Should Know Radio

Pundit Review Radio (on Boston's WRKO) posted my latest addition to the Someone You Should Know podcasts (stream it from Pundit Review or download via iTunes):

Matthew Currier Burden, author of Blog of War and proprietor of Blackfive joined us once again for Someone You Should Know, our weekly collaboration to bring the inspirational, true stories of the men and women fighting for us around the world to the radio.

This week, Matt told us the incredible story of Specialist Daniel Unger.

What is Pundit Review Radio?

Pundit Review Radio is where the old media meets the new. Each week Kevin and Gregg give voice to the work of the most influential leaders in the new media/citizen journalist revolution. Hailed as “Groundbreaking” by Talkers Magazine, this unique show brings the best of the blogs to your radio every Sunday evening from 7-10pm EST on AM680 WRKO, Boston’s Talk Leader

Hit this link to listen about why Daniel Unger is Someone You Should Know.  I'll repost the key message about Daniel from his father, Marc:

...No terrorist took Daniel Unger’s life from him. The Fourth Degree Black Belt and four-year starting center fielder was, arguably, the fastest runner on the base. From all accounts, Daniel could have made it into the safety of the bunker with the rest of the men. The licensed minister chose not to do so in order to save some by giving his own life and blood so they could live. The Bible says, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Daniel’s life wasn’t taken, he laid it down for his friends: for those he was assigned to guard to be saved, for the Iraqi people to be free from tyranny and for the American people to remain free...

Someone You Should Know radio archives are here.

(These are some of my favorite podcasts - Jason Cunningham, Ross McGinnis, Rick Rescorla, Jason Schauble...)

Here is my original post about Daniel Unger - A Hero's Love.

Ross McGinnis - Someone You Should Know Radio

Last night on Pundit Review, my Someone You Should Know segment was on Ross McGinnis:

A memorial service for US Army PFC Ross McGinnis was held today.  Tonight on Pundit Review Radio, Matthew Currier Burden from Blackfive honored Ross during this week’s Someone You Should Know.

McGinnis gave his life in an incredibly heroic, selfless way.  He has been nominated for the Medal of Honor, and his citation for his Silver Star read,


His family has suggested for anybody who wishes to make a memorial donation to send something to a service member overseas, a veteran or local service member and present it as a gift from PFC Ross McGinnis. Gifts to his unit may be sent to:

SFC Cedric Thomas
1st Platoon, C/1-26 IN
Task Force Blue Spader
APO AE 09390-1537

Go to Pundit Review to listen or you can download the podcast on iTunes.