Remembering "Wind & Rhythm's" Doug Brown by Rich Fisher

Jul 5, 2018

With great sadness, Public Radio Tulsa remembers our program host Doug Brown, of "Wind & Rhythm", heard Sunday evenings at 7pm on KWTU. Doug passed away, much too soon, on June 7, at the age of 70. 

I remember when Doug brought the idea of a program devoted to wind band music to my attention back in 2005, he was filled with passion for sharing this music, and a belief that with a little help from Public Radio Tulsa, he could share this music with the whole nation. As I often do with aspiring producers who have dreams of being heard on NPR stations around the country, I did my best to inject a dose of reality into the mix, urging him to concentrate on creating a great local program, and reminding him of the difficulties in getting hundreds of program directors across the country to even listen to a demo, much less program a new show in their lineup. But even as he rolled up his sleeves to create what would become “Wind & Rhythm”, that idea of syndicating the program was always in the foreground.

To his great credit, out of that luncheon meeting at The Hideaway, Doug put together a program that is heard weekly on 18 stations from Michigan to Texas, while his seasonal specials are heard on over 50 public stations ranging from Anchorage, Alaska, to Mobile, Alabama. Through his devotion to wind band music, he has also developed a network of composers, conductors, and university and professional wind bands who are advocates for the program.

While we all greatly miss Doug, his creation, “Wind & Rhythm,” will live on. With his typical foresight, Doug created a non-profit production company to oversee the program, and they have decided to continue production of the program with a new host, David Lawrence. The first program with David will air next week (July 15). Titled “Legacies”, it is dedicated to the beginnings of the wind band movement and traces the Eastman Wind Ensemble from its inception as the first modern wind band. The show will also honor the legacy of our Doug Brown, who lived to promote wind bands and wind band music, a tradition that “Wind & Rhythm” will carry on.