Graham Griffith, a former On Point senior producer, reflects on the passing of Ian Docherty, a singular personality and prescient journalist who last graced these hallways eight or so years ago. Graham observes that in August 2001, the Scotsman sniffed something afoot in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, and was mystified why the American press so blithely ignored that country.
His prescience that August meant that he and I had already educated ourselves on Afghanistan and Islamic terrorism of that time. We were as prepared as we could be to create programming that would help people try to make sense out of what was seemingly senseless. As I worked with producers, Ian worked with the talented—but new to radio—worldly journalist Tom Ashbrook and taught him some of the basics of “presenting radio.”
My Ian story: The American-led invasion of Afghanistan had begun and I was working the graveyard shift, updating WBUR’s website with the latest news. Ian ambled over to my station and commended me for my dedication. He then invited me to take a nip from his ever-present flask; with manhood at stake, I complied, maintaining a stoic composure despite the burning Scotch.
A tip of the flask to you, Ian, one of the most fascinating characters I’ve ever encountered during my time with the station.