INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (November 14, 2015) – Indianapolis broadcasting legend Amos Brown, the longtime WTLC Radio talk show host who died unexpectedly at the age of 64 in Chicago November 6th, was laid to rest following a funeral service Saturday with a microphone in his hand.
“Amos, my friend, your mic is gonna stay hot,” said Mayor-Elect Joe Hogsett who brought ripples of laughter among the mourners at Light of the World Christian Church as he quoted from Brown’s last article in the Indianapolis Recorder that offered Indianapolis’ next mayor some advice.
“’During this campaign, many times, sir, you said that if you became mayor, you would lead,’” read Hogsett. “’Well, sir, the 277,168 African American residents of this city are waiting for you to be true to your word.’
“He is my friend,” continued Hogsett, “but his job was to keep me straight and to hold me accountable on behalf of this great community that he loved.”
Brown’s commitment to the whole of Indianapolis, but especially its black residents, was a theme of several tributes.
“If you’re a white politician affecting decisions in the minority community in this decision, his input was definitely a little rough and unrelenting,” recalled former Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, “and there always was Amos as the conscience and principle of the entire community, but particularly the minority community, reminding us in his no uncertain way about how we should shape up.”
“I promise you this, I never turned down an opportunity to be on Amos Brown’s radio program, never once,” said former Governor Mitch Daniels. “There was no nearly comparable way to listen to and try to respond to the voice of the black community of Indianapolis and beyond, and how that is replaced is not at all clear to me this afternoon.”
“I never won an argument with Amos Brown, but I won a friend,” said Governor Mike Pence.
“Many of you may not have known that Amos was a hip hop expert, too,” said Congressman Andre Carson who recalled that his grandmother, Congresswoman Julia Carson, tasked him with recording a rap campaign commercial at WTLC studios in the early 1990s. “I froze up when I got to the studio and Amos said, ‘Brother, come on now, we got to get this done here,’ and he looked at my rap and said it better than me.”
An air of levity filled the space between the accolades inside the giant fellowship hall where several hundred friends, family and listeners gathered.
“If it does help, I would ask the speakers to think of Amos in your ear if you’re talking a little too long saying, ‘Please hurry up, the cemetery closes at three no matter what you do,’” admonished Senior Pastor Dr. David Hampton.
“Amos was on the side of the person whose streetlight was out and has been out for too long,” said former Mayor Bart Peterson. “Amos was on the side of the person who was not getting action from the Mayor’s Action Center.
“But when I think of Amos, I can’t help but smile. I think he liked me.”
“I think Amos liked me better,” countered Marion County Health Director Dr. Virginia Caine, “because when they called on the show and complained about the health department, and you know he held me to the fire, I also got a personal phone after the show was over telling me, ‘You better get it done.’”
“It became his life mission to fight for the common man,” said Oveda Brown, Amos’ younger sister. “Serve those who cannot fight for themselves and the voice of the voiceless. Its no coincidence that the meaning of Amos means burden bearer he definitely bared the burdens of our community in an effort to make our city a better place.”
It was left up to a former WTLC Radio colleague to put Brown’s legacy in broadcasting terms with a simple gesture.
“And as you would say, ‘Join me next on the next Afternoons with Amos, live at one,’” said Jay Johnson, quoting his friend’s daily sign off. “But until then, Amos, job well done.”
And with that, Johnson placed a set of headphones on a small plastic stand on the pulpit before him.
Brown was laid to rest at Washington Park North Cemetery.