Tuesday, January 15, 2008
See Ya, St John
Ladies and gentlemen, St John Flynn has left the building. Yes after a decade or more of being the voice of Georgia Public Broadcasting, St John Flynn has resigned. He is moving on to “greener pastures” and that is a loss for all of us in the state of Georgia.
For those who for some reason or other might not recognize the name, he is the man who created “Cover To Cover” for GPB. He also appeared in fundraisers for the station and for many years was the voice of local news and events on the Georgia segments of “Morning Edition.” To put it quite simply to many people he was Georgia Public Broadcasting.
I first came to know St John as a friend when he asked me to record some stories from my first book, JOURNEY OF A GENTLE SOUTHERN MAN, for “Georgia Gazette.” Then when my second book was published he asked me to do the same thing again. I also was invited to appear twice on his radio show “Cover To Cover.”
“Cover To Cover” was one of the most influential broadcast programs in Georgia. Authors coveted the chance to appear on the show because St John had a loyal listening audience of book devotees. An appearance there guaranteed an upturn in book sales as well as wide-spread exposure for your name and product.
It also was a good venue for authors because St John honestly knows good writing when he sees it. Thus being on the show was an endorsement of sorts. At least that is the way I felt. I trumpeted it from the rooftops when I was asked to appear – both times! The show was only on once a month and there was always a repeat show in December. This means only eleven authors got the nod each year so it was a pretty select group.
Since “Cover To Cover” was St John’s creation I would assume his departure means that program has ended. St John’s personality and professionalism would be hard to equal, so anyone trying to step into his shoes would have a daunting task.
A year ago I suggested a program to St John called “Fridays With Jackie.” We got it on the air and taped it each week. It was only a five-minute segment inserted into “Morning Edition” on Friday mornings but we had a lot of fun with it. This show allowed St John’s sense of humor to emerge. He wasn’t so formal and people responded to this other side of St John Flynn.
After GPB cancelled the show I missed having the chance to talk with St John each week. He is such a knowledgeable person that I missed picking his brain about different people, places and events. And now he will be gone to “greener pastures” and communicating with him will be even more difficult.
The arts in Georgia are taking a beating. It is happening in newspapers, magazines, television and radio shows. The value of our artists is not recognized. St John Flynn was one of our most worthy assets and now we have let him slip away. We won’t be able to replace him and what he brought to the culture landscape of Georgia.
I know many, many people will miss his voice on the air as he announced that it was once again time for “Cover To Cover” or civer to civer as he said it. They will also miss his performances with symphonies around the state as their narrator for some of their events. He also served as master of ceremonies for various awards and benefits. He is a man of many talents and master of all.
It is hard for me to accept the fact St John Flynn is leaving GPB. Those pastures better be a lot greener to justify him leaving our state behind. Still I wish him well on all of his new endeavors. He deserves only the best.
Finally all I can say to him is what I used to say at the end of “Fridays With Jackie” each week. He would say he would see me next week and I would say –
See ya, St John!
Jackie K Cooper is the author of THE BOOKBINDER. His next collection of short stories is titled THE SUNRISE REMEMBERS and will be published by Mercer University Press in November 2008.