Five Things We Learned About David Greene When He Came To Kansas City

Jul 18, 2016

David Greene, co-host of NPR's Morning Edition, was in town last month to help KCUR with our first annual benefit event, RadioActive. He was here for just over 24 hours, and in that time managed to sit for a Q&A with KCUR staff, appear on Up To Date with Steve Kraske, give the keynote speech at RadioActive, meet with some of KCUR's Generation Listen KC leaders, and pose for more selfies than we can count (including one with yours truly!). 

If you're anything like us, you spend a lot of time with David Greene each week, so we thought it only right that we share with you a few things we learned about him during his visit:

  1. He starts his day early, about 2:30 a.m. It's so early that his wife is often not home from work when he leaves to catch a cab taking him to NPR headquarters to host Morning Edition.
     
  2. Greene's wife runs her own bar/restaurant in the U Street/Cardoza neighborhood of Washington, D.C. (hence, the late nights). Named after her, it's called Compass Rose and serves "international street food-inspired" fare. 
     
  3. He fuels his early mornings on eggs in a mug, cooked in the microwave.
     
  4. David said this report from our own Frank Morris made him feel transported to Ferguson, Missouri, and the protests there. Greene quoted this opening line as an example of the power of great radio journalism: "Last night at 11, you could play kick-the-can with smoke and tear-gas canisters right in the middle of the busiest protest street in Ferguson."
     
  5. Greene's mother "believed that everyone had a story to tell." His mother died suddenly while he was on Air Force One, returning from a trip to New Orleans post-Katrina. He learned of her death when the plane landed. Of his mother, Greene told Steve Kraske, Greene knew he had to go back and listen to Ethel Williams, the woman President Bush and the press corps met that day, to honor his mother.

We promised five things, but here's one more: Just a few days before David Greene came to Kansas City, his  friend, NPR photojounalist David Gilkey, was killed in Afghanistan along with NPR's Afghan interpreter and fellow journalist Zabihullah Tamanna.

Greene and Gilkey had worked together on many stories over the years and around the globe, including a trip to Kansas City in 2008. On that visit, they spoke with Dawn Mosley as part of their series "Take Me To Your Leader: The Road Trip." Remembering Gilkey's portrait of Mosley, Greene said, "that image told her story better than anything I did that day." 

Kathleen Connaghan-Gross is a membership coordinator for KCUR 89.3.