The love for the honoree was palpable. “Brooke is this intelligent, reasoned adult who’s showing me a path through difficult materials, and God, I love that,” said the evening’s host, the comedian Samantha Bee, before she took the stage.
Ms. Bee noted that she listens to Ms. Gladstone’s show twice on most weekends. “It’s very strange to be hosting a gala the literal day after Election Day — but this was not the experience we were all expecting,” she added, referencing the results.
“‘On The Media’ is about media the way the ‘Odyssey’ is about sail boats,” said David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker and Ms. Gladstone’s WNYC colleague as host of “The New Yorker Radio Hour.” He added: “That’s just the start of the story. Increasingly, ‘On The Media’ is an extension of one person’s obsessions, opinions, arguments and character.”
For her part, Ms. Gladstone worked the room — or more accurately, the room worked her. She has a warmth that attracts people to her. As she graciously accepted congratulations and hugs from friends, new and old, and WNYC supporters, her filet mignon and sweet potato gratin went unacknowledged.
After more accolades from the podium, and performances from the High and Mighty Brass Band and the Kronos Quartet (this was, after all, public radio), she found her place of comfort — behind a microphone. “I’m enormously grateful; I’ve always felt privileged. The thought every time I turn on the mic is, ‘How in the hell do they let me do this every week?’”
Ms. Gladstone was not ready for the party to end. She went to the Plaza bar and drank with family and friends, then took a car home. She felt grateful for “the extraordinary tributes, all the old and durable friendships in that ballroom.”
But she also experienced “gratitude of a different sort, for a lesson I taught myself long ago — be careful not to believe your own press,” she said. “It can really throw you off your game.”