April 4, 2006

A standup guy

BY MILTON METZI once asked Barry Bingham Jr. whether he remembered any shouting in his house during his growing-up years. (My house was no stranger to shouting, and I was curious.) He looked at me quizzically and said, “No-o-o, we didn’t do any of that.”As a matter of fact, I can’t picture Barry Jr. ever shouting. He just wasn’t that kind of a guy — or boss. He made his point firmly (just ask the arts groups to which he belonged), but always as a gentleman.To this day, I’m still impressed by the sense of humor he showed, often at his own expense. Once, when he was on my phone-in program on WHAS radio, a listener called and I answered with my usual greeting, “Hello, Metz here with my guest, Barry Bingham.” The listener replied, “Drop dead, Moneybags!” Whereupon Barry turned to me and said, “It’s for you, Milt.” You gotta love a guy who can ad-lib that fast!I wasn’t a confidante of Barry Jr. Rather, I was an admirer. For his ethics, principally, if nothing else. He made it a point that his employees would never accept any “freebies.” He didn’t want anyone “on the take,” so that news judgment wouldn’t be compromised. Under him (as well as his father), The C-J always published opposing viewpoints in their editorial pages.Barry Bingham Jr. was a standup guy. He helped make the community a better place. (Editor’s note: Urbane, witty and courtly, Milton Metz became a Louisville institution during his long career as an on-air personality at both WHAS radio and television. His talk show, “Metz Here,” set the standard for talk radio on a regional and national basis.)