Pete Brown Says is a work of creative nonfiction audio written and produced by me, Pete Brown, a man whose wife told him that it would be "over-the-top" to declare himself the voice of GenX.
But the more episodes I write and produce, them more I feel like this podcast lands solidly in the GenX wheelhouse. Because it revisits growing up in the 1970's and 80's in suburban Cleveland just as often as it unpacks modern dilemmas, from our limited attention spans to parenting paradoxes.
In our kitchen we have a wall-mounted avacado-colored rotary telephone that unfortunately does not work, but this fact does not stop me from taking pretend phone calls on a regular basis. What better metaphor is there for these pretty good stories: a man reaching out, trying to connect with his past.
These are the stories I have to tell, and I hope you will find them well-told. They are the stories that never quite fit in a novel or screenplay or short story, but instead cast about for years until the right medium came along. I think podcasts are the right fit for these tales, and hope you find in them something to love.
Here's what you need to know about me:
I've just entered my late 40s. I've been married for 22 years and am currently raising two teenagers in a leafy suburb of Columbus, Ohio. You will likely hear the voices of my wife and kids in various episodes. The pace of our lives doesn't offer up much free time, but when it does, I like riding motorcycles, writing and painting, and also watching the Cleveland Cavaliers. I don't read like I used to, and I'm always saying I'll get back to it. Making these podcasts has been my main free-time activity for the past year.
Stuff I Do or Have Done
In my day job I'm a creative director for a small-but-feisty agency in Columbus. I also host the Mindset Digital podcast, which is more or less about the digital communications revolution.
In my career, I've been a Peace Corps Volunteer, a reporter (both politics and sports), an editor (sports), a technical writer, a television writer, a director and a video game narrative designer. If you're interested, you can see my reel and portfolio at www.petebrown.me, or connect with me on LinkedIn.
The Animals I Live With
My wife and kids have a lot of pets that I help take care of, but am, as they say, over. Three dogs, a cat and a ferret at the moment.
Episode | October 24th, 2019 | 8 mins 56 secs
2020 election, beto, biden, buttiegieg, democrats, electoral college, harris, ohio, politics, president, presidential election, primaries, republicans, sanders, steyer, trump, warren
Pete shares an audio trailer for his new podcast + documentary film project for the coming election year: This is Ohio 2020. Subscribe to This is Ohio 2020 wherever you get your podcasts.
This is Ohio 2020 is a podcast and a documentary film project chronicling my efforts to escape my bubble in the year leading up to the 2020 election, to meet and interview my fellow Buckeyes from all walks of life – especially those most different from my own.
You can subscribe to This is Ohio 2020 now, wherever you get your podcasts.
Episode | October 7th, 2019 | Season 2 | 23 mins 32 secs
1970s, 1980s, christmas cards, cigarettes, gouge an eye out, herpetologists, kool cigarettes, kools, story, storytelling, the bird, the finger
Pete welcomes a guest storyteller for the final Season 2 episode...you'll learn how to tell good biker gangs from bad biker gangs, how to gouge a guy's eye out and buy cigarettes at age 10, the greatest Christmas card in history and the secret meaning of the phrase "stinky on you." Plus, Pete shares some insights on Season 2, his plans for Season 3 and a whole new podcast project that's launching soon.
Episode | September 2nd, 2019 | Season 2 | 1 hr 21 mins
1989, band names, big bald head, chip midnight, colin gawel, college, columbus calling, credit cards, def leppard, delicious, freshman, hacky sack, harry's hat, hobbityhoy, indie bands, indie rock, kopaz, led zepplin, luke skyboogy, motley cure, mullets, music, that thing you do, the oneders, verbal kint, watershed, wing nut bob, wonders
Pete goes in search of a song he heard a local band play on a rainy Thursday night in 1993 at a bar called Ruby Tuesday's.
Episode | July 9th, 2019 | Season 2 | 1 hr 11 mins
central texas, chairs, dead cats, del rio, facebook, flood, instagram, new braunfels herald, pumpkins, san marcos, san marcos daily record, san marcos river, social media, southwest texas state university, spotswriting, swt, texas, texas state university, tropical storm charlie, twitter
A Meditation on Posterity...One of Pete's old friends is not invited to a party. Dusting off his investigative reporting skills, Pete traces this back to a pair of a purple socks, a flood, an old chair and a dead cat.
Episode | May 31st, 2019 | Season 2 | 31 mins 5 secs
aerosmith, angela, brandi brandt, chuck finley, david coverdale, def leppard, elevator operators, glam metal, hair metal, heavy metal, here i go again, janie's got a gun, joey kramer, love in an elevator, motley crue, nikki sixx, ohio university, pump, rock of ages, sam kinnson, steven tyler, tawny kitaen, what it takes, whitesnake, wlhd
In the fall of 1989, Pete inexplicably and uncharacteristically turned against Aerosmith's song "Love in an Elevator." Here's the whole story, as ludicrous as late 80's hair metal lyrics can be.
Episode | May 7th, 2019 | Season 2 | 33 mins 14 secs
breakfast cereal, car ownership wine, coaching tee ball, cocaine, drugs, imma keep it real with u chief meme, jesus, memes, millennial bashing, millennials, mimeographs, participation awards, participation trophies, rotary telephones, santa, snack schedules, spirit awards, tae kwon do, the big lie, the print shop
A Gen-Xer stands up for his Millenial colleagues and exposes a big lie that sits at the heart of an entire generation.
Episode | April 5th, 2019 | Season 2 | 38 mins 39 secs
cars, changing the oil, cleveland municipal stadium, college, first jobs, freshman, lawnmowers, oil change, prius, shoveling, snowblowers, thatching, work, work ethic, working, yard work
Pete explores his fears around his son's imminent departure for college, reflecting on teaching, teenagers, work ethic, shitty rakes and cheap tacos along the way.
Episode | March 4th, 2019 | Season 2 | 33 mins 29 secs
chocolate labs, dogs, dropping the deuce, family pets, labrador retriever, paul auster, pets, pooch, poochy mcpoochy, rescue dogs, timbuktu
We were already full-up on dogs when my wife and kids asked if we could adopt a disabled labrador retriever. I did not foresee how much our lives would be impacted by Timbuktu.
Episode | February 27th, 2019 | Season 2 | 1 hr 2 mins
90s, athens, burger king, burrito buggy, code, coding, college, drink and drown, foosball, french class, french fries, grand canyon, hoodoos, london, ohio, ohio university, pawpurrs, plasma, software, technical writing, the junction, the tube, whopper
I revisit some of the dicey decisions I made in my early 20s, and as my son prepares to head off to college, I wonder how I can help him not do the same.
Episode | February 14th, 2019 | Season 2 | 23 mins 45 secs
48, barack obama, battle of rostov, bluto, brutus, cars, chevy, cuv, el camino, hugh grant, julia roberts, notting hill, olive oyl, parkland, popeye, ranchero, risk! podcast, robin williamn, rostov-on-don, selfies, shelley duvall, tag team, travel bookstore, valentine's day
From the 1978 Chevy El Camino to Popeye's 'roid rage to Barack Obama to Notting Hill: I walk you through a series of phrases that I struggle to understand, ending, inevitably, at Whoomp! There it is! Along the way, an almost-selfie teaches me something weighty about myself. You won't believe what it is.
Episode | February 1st, 2019 | Season 2 | 36 mins 57 secs
chicago bears, new england patriots, nfl, risk podcast, super bowl, super bowl shuffle, telegram, western union, westlake high school
What's missing between WTH and WTF? The answer involves death metal, a corrupt vice principal, the Super Bowl Shuffle and an actual telegram from Western Union.
Episode | January 17th, 2019 | Season 2 | 40 mins 18 secs
blood pressure, bon jovi, cardiologist, context, dead or alive, empathy, facebook, ferrets, instagram, snapchat, social media, spam accounts, stories, twitter
I explore the connection between social media, my teenagers and my blood pressure. Along the way, I discover what connects J. Alfred Prufock, Snapchat, Instagram, beastiality, cat-eating aliens, blue monkeys, spam and ferrets. Believe it or not, the answer is Bon Jovi.
Episode | January 3rd, 2019 | Season 2 | 30 mins 10 secs
communications, f off, f you, f-bomb, f-word, flipping the bird, middle finger
When was the last time you flipped someone off? Or were on the receiving end of the bird? I explore my evolving relationship with this most basic form of communication.
Episode 012: Season 2 Preview: Everything from unholy doggos to the windy coast of Ireland to outlaw dirt track racing
Episode | December 21st, 2018 | Season 2 | 9 mins 34 secs
creative nonfiction audio, dirt track racing, dogs, giant's causeway, ireland, motorcycles, narrative, northern ireland, storytelling, wicklow mountains
Everything from unholy doggos to the windy coast of Ireland to outlaw dirt track racing...Get a sneak preview of Season 2 in this trailer.
Episode | December 28th, 2017 | Season 1 | 31 mins 36 secs
christmas shopping, costco, groceries, holiday shopping, narrative, shopping, story, tire salesmen, tires, tyres
In this bonus Season One episode, Pete faces his greatest challenge yet: buying a set of tires at Costco. Can he do it, or will it devolve into an absurdist folly? I think you know the answer to that. Plus: Reflections on Season 1.
Episode | December 18th, 2017 | Season 1 | 30 mins 52 secs
billy idol, catholic school, catholocism, ccd, cleveland, curriculum, eighth grade, middle school, middle school news, psr, rebel yell, religion class, rosa parks, seventh grade, singing, tape recorder
Pete shares four stories about odd assignments in middle school religion class, and wonders about the ready-to-retire teacher who assigned them.