Saturday, October 04, 2008

Herb Shaindlin 1930 - 2008

Tonight we mourn the loss of Herb Shaindlin, an icon of Alaskan radio and among the very best journalists in our state's history. He will be greatly missed.

His children have set up a MySpace site at
In their words:
"We wanted to give the public who loved our father so much
a place to share and send their wishes.

Thank you to everyone who listened to and watched Dad
all the years he was doing what he loved so much.

He loved journalism in its purest form.

He loved being the center of attention.

Most of all he loved making people think."

I'm going to take this opportunity to re-run a story which many readers originally thought was a eulogy. Although it was not intended as such, it serves that purpose today.

originally posted October 2, 2005:

Herb Shaindlin’s talk radio program "The Public Opinion Hotline," which aired on AM 750 KFQD for most of my life and certainly all of my formative years, educated me in more ways than I have time to list on this post so I’ll give you just a few examples:

One is that Herb’s program introduced me to the works of Stephen King, Tom Lehrer, Spike Jones, Robert Service, and many other artists. One taste of each of these artists led to exploring most of their works and works of similar artists. In this way he set my compass on the course I have taken ever since.

The second is that he told stories of his life. Many of these stories rattle around in my head to this day.

Last night I saw a helicopter fly past my house at relatively low altitude, creating a certain amount of noise in its wake. From its direction of travel (and the few helicopters that would have any reason to fly over my house) I could identify it as the LifeGuard Air Ambulance.

As I watched it pass I had to smile as I was reminded of one of Herb’s stories. If memory serves, the story goes like this:

When Herb was growing up in Brooklyn, New York, he would constantly hear the wailing of all types of sirens: police sirens, ambulance sirens, fire engine sirens. He once asked his mother if the sirens bothered her or worried her because every siren meant that there had been a crime or an accident where someone was probably hurt.

Her response was a surprising “No.” She explained, “Every time I hear a siren I don’t get mad because it is interrupting my peace and quiet; rather I am happy because I know that someone is racing as fast as they can to help someone else. Sirens are a happy sound.”

Ever since hearing this story (at least 20 years ago) I have smiled a little when I hear a siren. And now I smile at helicopter noise too.

Thanks Herb, you are the very best.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Eric. This means a lot to me. My Dad loved the plaque so much and actually it was one of the last things he mentioned to me when he was healthy. He wanted me to tell you what an amazing job you did on it, which I did. Just wanted to tell you that you're the best. :)

Anonymous said...

Eric, what source informed you that Herb had passed away? I know it's true, but can't find an obit or story anywhere

Eric said...

Robin is Herb's daughter and one of my coworkers. She requested that I post about her father's passing in order to get the word out about the MySpace site.

The media will have a much more comprehensive story soon, I'm sure.

Jas said...

Ahhh man. I'm so bummed. Tell the family that if they ever were able to put together a 'best of Herb', I'd pay for a copy. I'm sure lots of us would.

Herb, you will be missed, but fondly remembered.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I had a chance to work and learn from Herb. I will cherish the time we shared together at KFQD. It was always one of my goals to make him Laugh. Herbs laugh was one of pure child like Joy. He was a gracious mentor too. Everything I know about timing when it comes to story telling I learned from Herb. One of the greatest honors of my broadcast career was when Herb asked me to guest host on "Desperate and Dateless"
Even after we both left QD Herb always had time to take my calls
(I would always try to leave him laughing..selfish on my part)
I think I will go dig out my set of hotline tapes. Thanks Herb.

Mike Ford

Anonymous said...


This post made me smile and I need that right now. This type of thing is exactly what we, his kids, need and want to hear. Thank you so much and if you have more stories we would love to hear them.i

Anonymous said...

Hi, Eric -- I'm not a member on MySpace, so I can't leave a comment on the family site, but maybe you can pass my condolences on to Robin, et al.

Herb was our neighbor growing up, and my dad was a part-time newsreader at KQED, so I started listening to the talk show (and later, Deperate and Dateless) at a pretty young age.

I remember being about 13 or 14, and being so riled up about some topic on his talk show that I finally mustered the nerve to call in...and he actually put me on the air. Now, this was surprising because (as any listener knew at the time) Herb didn't suffer fools gladly, and he knew immediately that I was just "some kid." I figured he'd make mincemeat of me, and that would be that.

But -- and this is the amazing part -- he let me speak my piece, and even though he didn't agree with me, I'll never forget that *he took me seriously.* He actually *engaged* the conversation.

And that's the thing I remember the most about him. Even when he disagreed with his callers, he always seemed to be about *substance* -- a quality sorely lacking in journalism today. He never disrespected a person who made a good argument, even if he disagreed with the position that person took.

Of course, pity the person who made a stupid argument...but that's another story...

The world has lost one of the great ones...but he left behind some great memories, and lasting lessons. I hope that brings some comfort to his kids.

Beth (Hansen) Siegel
Fairbanks, Alaska

Fred said...

I remember Dick Bishop, who also worked with Herb, I believe, in the summer of 1974. Mr. Bishop may have taken Herb's place for a short while, hosting "Desperate and Dateless."
I miss Herb. Another memory I have of Mr. Shaindlin, was in August of 1972; wow, almost 40 years ago to the month. I saw him riding his mini-bike close to the A.M.U. campus and Providence Hospital. He wasn't wearing a helmet. I saw this dude and thought: "He looks funny and very familiar."

Anonymous said...
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Steven Kimball said...

I came to the state in 1979 and heard Herb on the radio a lot in those first years here, watched a lot of MASH too as I recall. I was age 23 then and did not listen real well to herb but what I heard made me think. My concerns then were having a good clean time and always seeking love but never finding it. I actually saw herb, passed by him once in Costco in about 1990. Ours eyes met and I realized who he was. He had such great character and his looks very much noticeable. I failed to tell him I admired him, perhaps he seen it in my eyes, I hope so. I did not know that I would long to hear him again, that I now understand the man was a great mentor in his opinions. It's sad today we have the progressive push to destroy our culture, religion, the family even our identity, all in an effort to reshape who we are as a nation. As Obama bastard once said, "to transform America". Come back some how Herb and tell us what to do! I would like more information on this great man, if anyone sees this post, his greatest hits as such, from Opinions and Desperate and Dateless would be great. I would pay for it too Thanks,

Michael Hureaux said...

I had the pleasure and honor of several conversations with herb, back in the seventies as a midnight sun broadcasting copy writer for kFAR, and the last one down here in Seattle one afternoon when I came across he and his wife visiting the pike place market. What a fun, no nonsense guy.

Unknown said...

I listened to your dad as a 8 yr old boy until I moved to the lower 48 in 1982. He introduced me to talk radio and I am still a passionate listener. Your dad helped formed my views on life. I turned him up louder when I heard my dad molesting my sister.

Anonymous said...

Herbie herbie herbie. That will make him roll over in his grave