My buddy Ron Rosenbaum, the attorney and broadcasting personality, died Sunday.
The week before he died, I left a message on his cellphone. His longtime companion and co-host of the weekly “Holding Court” podcast, Lucy Quinlivan, told me Rosenbaum told her to call me. We had an off-the-record conversation about Rosenbaum being diagnosed in early March with multiple myeloma. “A very aggressive form,” she added. “He developed early complications. That’s about the story.”
When I asked if Rosenbaum was going to get better, Quinlivan gave it to me straight, like he would’ve: “No.”
After expressing how sorry I was, I emphatically added He’s my buddy! “I knoooow,” said Quinlivan, mustering a cheerful laugh.
He was more than her buddy, of course.
“Exactly,” Quinlivan laughed. “Wow. If we’re still off-the-record I’ll tell you we got married!” — on April 23.
Rosenbaum’s son from his first marriage, Nicholas, “has been home for several weeks,” Quinlivan said.
Last year when I was at the artsy Rosenbaum-Quinlivan abode, Ron talked about how well Nicholas was doing, living and working on another continent. During that chat, I told Rosenbaum I wanted to do a Sunday Q&A with him but thought he would talk too much, give me too much to transcribe. He smiled that smile and we laughed. There’d also have been too much chatter in a joint interview with Rosenbaum and Dan Barreiro, the KFAN radio host with whom Ron co-hosted Fox 9’s “Enough Said.”
Via Twitter Barreiro wrote: “He was my friend, my conscience, my ultimate go-to guy. His loyalty was fierce, mind agile, presence unmistakable. There will be no other. You can count on a Tuesday Ode.”
A regular on TV news when reporters needed a witty, concise explanation of complicated legal matters, Rosenbaum was media-friendly before he became part of the media. He was a regular on Barreiro’s radio show, before and in addition to doing a podcast with Quinlivan. Rosenbaum understood new media, as quickly as it changed. He encouraged me to start a podcast because there’s money in them. He talked and talked, but I still don’t understand podcasting or why I need one.
As a source, Rosenbaum was that rare gem who would call to give me tips that had nothing to do with him. And then he would help me flesh out the information, telling me what to look or listen for; interpreting the unnecessary legalese too many lawyers use in lawsuits.
I asked Quinlivan to tell Rosenbaum he had been invaluable to me and I was crazy about him. “He knows,” she said. “I think he was crazy about you, too.”
E-mailers Kortz, Mark Olson, Jason and John Anderson have been pressing me hardest for information about Rosenbaum. “I feel uncomfortable starting a rumor like this but maybe you can confirm. Ron Rosenbaum has essentially gone missing for 3-4 weeks. I happened to be listening to Tom Barnard on the podcast a few weeks ago and he said a close friend of his had a week to live. Just putting 2 and 2 together and hoping I’m wrong,” wrote Jason.
Sadly, Jason, your addition was correct.
Rest well, Ron.
No strep, but a new set
Strep has been making its way around Fox 9 but that’s not the illness that sidelined Jason Matheson for about a week.
He returns to the air Tuesday to unveil an enhanced “The Jason Show,” set a few days ahead of a national tryout in as yet undisclosed cities. The last couple months the local show’s been airing in Eau Claire and La Crosse.
Matheson’s MyTalk 107.1 FM co-host Alexis Thompson told me Monday, “He doesn’t have strep,” for which he’s been tested and retested.
He was, however, still under the weather Thursday and Friday when he went to the station for talk-free tech run-throughs with the new set.
St. Paul’s Crew Scenic designed the wonderful original set. It looks as classy as any TV studio environment you’ll see in Hollywood. I understand that Crew Scenic staffers were present Wednesday when I was at Fox 9 checking the changes also being overseen by talent that Fox flew in from New York to handle lighting and set design.
Matheson will have a new Jumbotron for a backdrop. It may remind you of the big TV on the “Wendy Williams Show,” which follows Jason’s at 10 a.m. weekdays. New bells and whistles also include another desk, podiums for games participants and … the studio audience being repositioned onto a platform of different heights. E-mailers have complained to me about the audience not being on risers, as if I could change it.
Still no official word from Fox HQ about what cities “The Jason Show” is scheduled to start airing in nationally Monday.
So I’m going to speculate: LA, Philly, D.C. and a city in Texas. Dallas would be perfect, given Jason’s love of the TV show, but Houston is bigger, I think.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9’s “Jason Show” and “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.