‘The Pub’ #75: John Sepulvado was drunk this whole time

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If you’ve ever worked with veteran public radio host and reporter John Sepulvado, it might not surprise you to learn that he’s an alcoholic. It may, however, surprise you to learn just how bad things got when he hit bottom before entering rehab last year.

“Hitting bottom is taking a laptop to a pawn shop and forgetting that you have all these pictures on it but just trying to get the 40 bucks so you can buy booze for that night,” Sepulvado told me on The Pub.

(Side note: This is a week where I really wish my show was called something else.)

What’s remarkable is that Sepulvado successfully held down a series of jobs at local stations and national networks while living a lifestyle in which waking up in a strange city in a stranger’s car was not unusual.

After all, he figured that all the greatest journalists have been drunks — so why not him?

On this week’s show, Sepulvado tells his story with brutal frankness and more than a little gallows humor. It does have a happy ending; he’s now 20 months clean and the new host of The California Report from KQED.

Also on the show, I contemplate the various, imperfect metrics for gauging the success of a podcast, and I enlist your help in helping me name The Pub’s signature segment.

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We welcome your feedback on the show: You can reach me at adam@current.org or @aragusea on Twitter; my supervising producer at Current, Mike Janssen, is at mike@current.org; and you can contact Current generally at news@current.org or @currentpubmedia on Twitter.

If you’d like to offer a comment to be used in the program, please send on-mic tape (recorded in a studio, with a kit, a smartphone, anything) to adam@current.org either as an attachment or through Google Drive. Please keep it short!

Adam Ragusea hosts Current’s weekly podcast The Pub and is a journalist in residence and visiting assistant professor at Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.

  • Susan Lindstedt

    OMG! John nailed it when talking about public broadcasting being comprised of the views of nice white people with degrees. Its like the voice of Martha’s Vineyard. A panel discussion about latinos feelings about Trumps statements about Mexicans : No latino voices. Each person NO DOUBT lived in a gated community. This has bugged me for a few years.
    Also GREAT show. Sepulvado is very brave to share candidly about his drinking. Wish you well, and will miss you greatly as the Bundy trials commence.