Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Louis Rukeyser passes away

It was with great sadness that I heard the news this morning that Louis Rukeyser, the former host of the PBS program Wall Street Week passed away.

His brief 18 months on CNBC followed his unceremonious firing from PBS where he had completed 32 years of broadcasting. In many ways, Rukeyser was an original, though his career followed the very successful financial journalism career of his father, Merryle. In fact, his brother William Rukeyser was the founding managing editor of Money magazine and is the current managing editor of Fortune.

In today's world where we are inundated with the nonsensical buffoonery of Jim Cramer, the breathless sensual banterings of Maria Bartiromo (aka the Money Honey), and the Fox Business debates of burnt out strategists and newsletter writers, entire networks are now dedicated to the dissemination of business "news."

Friday nights for me, even as an 18 year old kid meant using an old UHF converter to bring in Channel 56, the Detroit public television station to learn about the markets through the eyes of Rukeyser, the Wall Street Elves, and his guests. I could party after 9:00 when the show ended, but I would try to learn a little about capitalism first.

I admired his dry humor, and his genteel manner. His ability to use a pun was also a trademark. Back in 1970 there was nothing else that delivered a glimpse of Wall Street on television. He was respectful, insighftul, and well aware of Wall Street analyst foibles. In many ways, watching his show helped me develop contrarianism and skepticism about much conventional opinion.

His eternal optimism and warm respectful approach to his guests and that dry sense of humor are remembered today and will be missed.


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