David Wiegand, Assistant Managing Editor at the San Francisco Chronicle and my co-host on The Do List on KQED from 2008 to 2017, died unexpectedly at his home Monday. He was a colleague, friend, dog lover, and someone who seemed to know everyone and everything about music, theater and the arts here in the Bay Area.
By all accounts, David was a workaholic, helping plan the Chronicle’s coverage for big events; writing TV reviews; editing copy, sometimes late into the night, from the paper's critics; and filling in for them when needed. Yet somehow he always found time for The Do List, which he often remarked was his favorite part of the week. (While out in public, he got a kick out of the fact that people recognized his voice from the show and told him how much they enjoyed it.)
When David, radio producer Suzie Racho, Vice President Jo Anne Wallace and I created The Do List in October of 2008, Wiegand brought the show credibility and depth. Usually when talking about an upcoming event, he had previously interviewed the artist, or heard them perform a year ago, or 20 years ago, and kept a vivid memory of why they were so good at their art.
David loved classical music, rock 'n' roll, rap, cabaret and jazz, theater and the occasional opera — though he had little use for Wagner. He got a huge kick out of standup comics, and the way they skewered the pompous and the stupid. And David got just as excited about discovering young talent, a new singer or lyricist, or painter, or a great new theater group. In other words, there was nothing stale about his taste, and he was proud to have a role in publicizing something great that no one had heard of before.
David and Suzie Racho and I were an odd trio, sometimes. He could be cranky when he felt like it; he also had a razor-sharp wit. We often disagreed on whether a performer was great or crap. But that was David — passionately caring about art, about The Do List, and the trust our listeners gave us to help them find a great show.
David never missed a show or a deadline. And he believed deeply that the arts mattered in society, that they could both bring us joy and new insights about the world.
We're going to miss his insights, his voice and his wisdom.
Read the Chronicle’s obituary of David Wiegand here.