Jerry Brown may be off the political stage, but the former California governor isn’t leaving the public eye. He has teamed up with San Francisco public radio station KQED to create a limited-run podcast series. The Political Mind of Jerry Brown is the result of more than 40 hours of interviews that KQED conducted with the four-term California governor and former Mayor of Oakland and California Attorney General.
The interviews were conducted with Brown, 81, at his Northern California ranch by KQED Senior Editor for Politics and Government Scott Shafer, producer Guy Marzorati and several historians at UC Berkeley as part of the school’s Oral History Center. With those conversations and interviews with dozens of others, the series takes listeners through the lessons Brown learned from a political career unparalleled in California history.
“This is a deep dive into the life and career of someone who has had a profound impact on California over the course of 50 years,” said Shafer. “Our conversations reveal a reflective side of Jerry Brown — how he plotted his rise in politics, how he both leveraged his father’s name and distanced himself from Pat Brown’s approach to politics and what he learned from the mistakes he made along the way.”
The podcast starts with a young Brown torn between two different paths. The son of two-term California Governor Pat Brown, the younger Brown had no intention of following in his father’s political footsteps. Instead, he devoted his studies towards becoming a Jesuit priest. But a conversation overheard in the governor’s mansion sparked his interest, and his father’s crushing defeat to Ronald Reagan in a bid for a third-term as California Governor illuminated the pathway for Jerry’s political rise. Along the way Brown also faced three defeats on the presidential campaign trail, including one run he now says he wishes he’d skipped, and he spent years in “the wilderness” after a stinging loss for a seat on the U.S. Senate in 1982.
The Political Mind of Jerry Brown will debut Jan. 8 with an hour-long broadcast on KQED with the episodes airing each Wednesday night on the station through the month. The entire series will also be released as a podcast Jan. 11 allowing for binge-listening.
To promote the launch of the podcast, Shafer and Brown will participate in a live one-on-one conversation at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco Jan. 13. KQED is charging $30 for tickets.