Most who knew Scott Ledger knew him as “Ledge” the “radio personality,” as did I initially. I was, however, eventually fortunate enough to get to know Scott Legere the man. One in the same, yes – but also two separate entities, equally unique, both one of a kind. I was first introduced to “Ledge” as a listener of his talk show, which was on Bubba the Love Sponge’s online platform, RadioIO.com. At the time I had been a regular caller into Bubba’s show, and Scott was in studio one morning promoting his own show, “Dangerous Conversation.” Scott, or DQ as I would come to call him, had an instinctual way of recognizing people’s passions, and early on he recognized that one of mine was Veteran’s issues.
Back in 2012, I flew down to Tampa to take a tour of BTLS’s new studios and sit in on the show. Bubba and I always had an excellent chemistry on air, but off air Bubba was all business, and I would never say I knew him personally. Scott, on the other hand, was welcoming and warm, both on and off the air, and offered to let Mike (my husband) and me sit in on his show. While I was extremely hungover after a night of partying, it was something I will never forget. Dennis Hof from the Bunny Ranch was the on-air guest, and even though it was not my best performance, I was an immediate fan of Scott and what he was doing.
After the show he pulled me aside and said, “You are going to produce a segment for me geared towards Veteran’s issues.” He didn’t ask and I didn’t argue. He wasn’t concerned that I had no prior experience, but he was confident and had no doubt that I would rise to the occasion. Ledge was a modern day Pied Piper, people just seemed to naturally gravitate towards him. Early on, there was just a feeling that what he was trying to create was something really special and you couldn’t help but want to be a part of it. You also couldn’t help being flattered that he wanted you to be.
In the upcoming weeks we collaborated often, and the segment finally found its name, “2100 Hours” (for the time slot in which it aired). Even though I was not being paid I took the work extremely serious – probably more seriously than I took my paying job. For the first time in my life, I truly felt like I was contributing something good for the world. We gave a platform and voice to so many active duty Military and Veterans during our run. I spent hours researching topics and hunting down guests. Our first was Adam Kokesh, Marine Corp Veteran, Activist, Ron Paul supporter, and friend to this day. At the time Adam was planning his Veteran’s March for Dr. Ron Paul in Washington DC, something my husband (a Marine Corp Vet himself) and I were going to be taking part in. Adam was, as always, excellent on air and the segment was a huge success. The listeners loved it. I can’t explain the pride I felt in being a small part of something that at the time just felt so important. It’s unexplainable.
It wasn’t long before I morphed from being a segment producer into booking guests along with Sean Raspatello (who at the time was starting his own podcast). We were definitely the underdogs of the channel, but our following (while smaller than the flagship BTLS show) was never short on passion. One of the things that I have always said and stand by to this day, is that Ledge was one of the greatest on-air interviewers of all time, right up there with Howard Stern (who I had the privilege of being interviewed by several years earlier). Like Stern, Scott was thoughtful and genuinely interested in his guests. While he was never one to “prepare” in the conventional sense (which at times made me mental), he had an innate way of creating compelling content and getting to the heart of things without forcing them, and he also appreciated a great “debate.” As my husband once said, you could find yourself vehemently disagreeing with Scott, but by the end of a conversation you’d undoubtedly be questioning your own beliefs. In a nutshell, that is what Dangerous Conversation was all about, and exactly what Scott wanted it to be. He wanted people, as he often said, to question EVERYTHING.
While I too wanted people to be critical thinkers, we often butted heads on some of the topics and theories discussed on the show. Scott was naturally magnetic and magnetic people tend to hold a power over others that they often don’t fully recognize. I never questioned his motives, but I sometimes questioned the narratives. It was my opinion that he had a responsibility to the audience, some of whom seemed to be very easily influenced by him, and it was his opinion that I did not give people enough credit. I think on some level we are both right. His philosophy was that no topic should be “off the table” or taboo, and while we had these disagreements often, they never came between our friendship.
DQ was truly one of those people who saw the best in others, the type of friend who was always in your corner cheering you on. He was such a supporter of my writing, often texting me that I should “get off of my ass and write.” He also encouraged me to do a podcast of my own, something that still sends shivers down my spine. He chose the people he put on his show carefully and surrounded himself (in studio) not with life-long radio personalities, but people that he believed would spur compelling conversations; and more often than not he was “right.” His instincts about people in general were impeccable. The original show would not have been the same without Ben Carsley, Stefen Anderson, Richard Cross, Rob Revere, Frank Martinez, Billy Dyer, Lee Inglis, and of course, our in-studio producer, “Super Rick”.
To this day it amazes me that we were able to attract the talent we did with no budget, relatively no marketing, and no big corporate money behind us. Here are some of my favorite guests, or as Ledge would say, “some of the Big Fish,” that we landed: Larry Flynt, Darryl McDaniels, Matt Taibbi, Ian Mackaye, Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein, Bill Binney, Thomas Drake, Abby Martin, and Noam Fucking Chomsky. Scott would probably have wanted me to add Alex Jones to that list (Alex was one of those guests we butted heads on), and I often said that booking him was when I officially “jumped the shark” as a producer. My one regret is that I was never able to land Scott’s “unicorn,” Joe Rogan, and it pains me that we will never hear that interview. It would have been an event of epic proportions.
I can’t pay tribute to DC and Scott without mentioning the stellar group of rotating weekly guests that he assembled for the show, like Brad Friedman from the Brad Blog, Jason Bermas from Punk Rock Politics, and Jack Blood from the Jack Blood Show, all of whom contributed greatly to Dangerous Conversation’s success, as well as the countless others like Lee Camp, James Woods, and Katie Klabusich, all of whom sat in with him many times over the years. I know one of the things that tickled Scott was that he was also inspiring and encouraging those of us around him to do our own projects, like Sean Raspatello, Kinky Katie, and Matt Masur (who are currently hosting their own shows); and of course, me. While taking long breaks at times, I am still writing for the Chaos Section.
Scott’s legacy is that he implored us all to think “deeper,” and like myself, he believed in Pantheism (even though he would say he hated any kind of “ism”). He believed we were all connected, and often spoke about the “ripple effect.” He was intent on sending out positive waves into the world, no matter how bad things seemed to be. Even when people did him wrong, he rarely spoke badly about them; he didn’t see the point (he was way more evolved than myself in that aspect). It’s because of him that I became an Activist, and I credit him with some of the amazing, lifelong friendships I have made during my time with DC. So many of those people are still a part of my life to this day. It sounds cliché, but he truly changed the trajectory of my own path.
Scott loved to preach the 80/20 rule—that as humans, we have more in common with each other than we have differences. It was one of the reasons he was so good at what he did. It gave him the sensibility to be able to listen to ideas that he did not necessarily agree with. These days in particular we could most certainly use more of that. It has become a lost art. Scott was by no means a “perfect” man, and he would not have wanted to be. He fully recognized his own flaws; and while he saw ours as well, he also recognized and celebrated the beauty in them. While he battled his own demons, he remained a beautiful soul and someone that I will miss for the rest of my days. There has been a hole in my life since the original line-up of Dangerous Conversation went off the air. I have tried to work with other shows, but nothing ever “fit” quite like DC. I am so grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to do something that I truly loved. Scott was our maestro and we were his orchestra of mismatched instruments. While we were all a part of creating something magical, he alone was the heart and soul of DC. There will never be another like “Ledge.”
Until we meet again DQ, until we meet again. – Love, Your Booking Goddess
Author: Cynthia Tarana is a heavily tattooed Ex-Con with no college education and very bad punctuation. She currently lives on Long Island, NY where she pays extremely high taxes, likes to drink, rage against the machine and shop at the GAP.
Contact Cynthia at firstname.lastname@example.org