Thank you for reading LIVEfrom1600™
Originally AndThatsTheNews™, “Random Commentary,” LIVEfrom1600™ has the distinction of being written by a former, real news journalist that, in the past, worked for CBS, ABC, Tribune, Metromedia, Disney, Citadel and others, some of them more than once and, on average, about four years each (for CBS, nine).
I’ve been a writer, street reporter, desk editor, on-the-air anchor, network correspondent, wire services stringer, newsroom assignments manager and news director of several stations, loving every minute of it.
Throughout my career, I was prolific in filing stories to the Associated Press (still the best news operation in the world today) and for United Press International, before they lost their way as a result of a new owner.
Broadcasting has been very good to me.
I started very young.
I have this booming voice and got my first job in broadcasting at WFMU, the world’s first “free-form” radio station just outside New York City (sorry Pacifica; it was ‘FMU!)— because they simply didn’t know I was only 14 (I am tall and once my voice changed, I sounded much older)!
They thought it pretty funny when they made me “Director of Public Affairs Programming” as no one really wants that job but, I was all in! I determined even at that young age I didn’t like the way Public Affairs was being done anywhere—boy, was it boring—so, I set out to make it interesting—and technology focused—’cause that was my thing, man! I’m still a tech head today, as you may have already guessed.
First story, Big news.
My very first interview took me to Bell Laboratories’ vast complex in Holmdel, New Jersey. There, I saw the evolution of microwaves—the radiation of, not the oven with—in early development.
They were experimenting with “wave-guide tubes,” a kind of giant oval hose lined with copper ribs that directed the microwaves around curves—with minimal loss (pretty amazing because radio waves propagate in straight lines!).
This would have been the future, if not for fiber optics!
I saw a powerful laser that could punch a hole through a solid two inch block of steel in a fraction of a second—with a very loud bang! And the inventors of the transistor showed their genius with the first heart pacemaker implant (considerably larger than they are now!).
No one had yet heard about these things—until I told everyone about them during my first broadcast. I had learned about something no one else knew.
I was hooked.
For my second program, I investigated something brand new at the time called a voltage-controlled “synthesizer.” I found Bob Moog’s partner, Walter Sear, at Sear Sound in New York City. No one had ever heard a demonstration of this “thing” on the radio before.
That was one wild Sunday morning Public Affairs program!
Sear took a liking to me and taught me about synths, electronic music and the techniques used in a multi-track recording studio (I have used this knowledge for all of my professional life). And for a while, I worked for him at his studio in Manhattan. Oh, yeah; the more wires, knobs and buttons, the better!
Brush with greatness: I taught the late Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake and Palmer how to work his brand new “900 Series” Moog Synthesizer!
But I needed something else.
What I really needed was someone to teach me news. I picked a popular television news anchor that I thought was a good person to emulate on WABC-TV Channel 7. I called to ask if I could interview him—can you believe he took my call?—and with a laugh, he said, “…sure, come on up!”
I would meet and learn news gathering—and the meaning behind being a good journalist—from the late Bill Beutel of ABC News. Bill was my teacher, my mentor, my hero and my friend.
Even more affable in person than on camera, Bill admonished me to “get the story, know what the story is yourself, and report only the facts.
If you’re good at it,” he told me, “people will watch.”
Bill also explained that even famous and well-seasoned journalists are often guilty of forgetting step two—knowing what the story is, yourself—which can obfuscate the meaning of what is being reported! It’s the reason, today, why I have always examined everything I hear closely!
I became Bill’s intern and pestered him every day to teach me something. A young Peter Jennings was also a student of Bill’s at the same time—and his tutelage was evident, as Peter eventually became the face of ABC Network News and the beloved anchor of World News Tonight.
New York Iced Tea?
Often, the three of us would head to lunch to talk about the “news business” (okay, I mostly listened) …and have something called a “New York Iced Tea.” I didn’t like tea—and I was too young to have one anyway!
Also in the WABC newsroom was another young-but-older-than-myself sprout …running around in his shorts and T-shirt, regularly throwing on a dress shirt, tie and jacket literally seconds before the “beauty” shot at the beginning of the evening’s “Eyewitness News.”
That sprout was a former young attorney-turned-reporter named Jerry Rivers.
Now, Jerry was a nice guy to me in passing but, probably way too manic to notice Bill’s long-haired, teen-aged shadow most of the time (that was me!).
Sports reporting legend Howard Cosell did notice me, though. Howard would routinely sip from a small glass of whiskey as he sat in an ABC Radio Networks’ studio working on his daily “Speaking of Sports” broadcast and, while chomping on a big fat stinking cigar, was fond of calling me “the kid” and leveling gentle insults at my appearance.
It was an affectionate moniker and all in fun, I thought, and it didn’t bother me; because I was a kid. All this and yet, I had been a “newsman” for only four months!
Not bad for the kid.
I stuck with working full time in radio through high school and my college years. My business degree is a B.A. in Marketing—the application of how mass media clashes perfectly with business (that’s a joke, kind of)—and it’s helped me understand how business works.
As a newsman, I’ve interviewed one-on-one several Presidents and Vice Presidents, countless Governors, a gaggle of Senators and Representatives, scores of industry leaders, an assemblage of religious leaders and a galaxy of astronauts—including having the honor of sharing a few “iced teas” with Dr. Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon.
I have spoken with the “grand dragon” of the Ku Klux Klan, dozens of murderers, umpteen victims, hundreds of homeless and tons of true American heroes, to name just a few.
And all of them had something interesting or engaging to say!
It’s all good.
There were many “perks” being in the news business. Several have been thrilling: I’ve personally flown the Space Shuttle simulator and I’ve piloted a real Goodyear blimp—for 35 minutes! I had already learned how to fly a plane (single engine, mostly Pipers) and later, a helicopter (Bell 206G).
Unfortunately, I’ve also had the displeasure of producing television originating from Ground Zero in the weeks following September 11th, 2001. The Twin Towers had been built during my teens as I watched their progress on the New York skyline from only seven miles away—and I took their destruction personally.
I’ve never aspired to be famous (I get stage fright and have the perfect face for radio!). But, I am driven, for some reason, to communicate—and I love the art of telling stories. Words are my playground.
An incredibly lucky fellow!
The truth is, I’ve been paid to go to some event or meet someone very cool and really interesting or—quite honestly—history-making …and all I had to do was write about it or tell others what I saw! A good gig if you can get one!
I really can’t thank the people enough who believed in me, allowing me to do what I love—and I won’t even try. But, I will thank everyone who made my ratings great when I was reporting on the radio and those who watched the television newscasts I managed over the years (always number one!).
I understand “winning.”
I just don’t let winning come between myself and my integrity. I am salient of the fact that, without the viewing and listening audience, and now my readers, I am truly nothing—and I won’t forget that while I post on LIVEfrom1600™.
I want to thank you, in advance, if you will allow me into your virtual home online. I think I have something to offer, now—and I hope to spark some thought—without having any kind of agenda, other than the truth.
If you will give me a chance, I think I won’t disappoint you. I’ve been around the block a couple times so, I might just have something to say that you will find interesting.
That’s my story. And I’m sticking with it!
Read at your own risk!
Some of the posts on LIVEfrom1600™ would have been forbidden for me to write while I was working at these august institutions …and many you’ll see would have surely been the target of reprimands from my bosses at those behemoth media companies oh-so-fearful of angering the advertisers.
However, this is a commentary blog (not “news”) and I no longer have to answer to any management.
I can now tell the truth as it is. About anything, uncensored.
Before that I published a daily news compilation site (NewsBrakes™ “The All-Facts Format”)—several years before Huffington—attracting over 22,000 readers every day).
When I switched AndThatsTheNews™ to a graphical format in June of 2014, kindness of WordPress, the interest soared into the millions reading my “Logical, Rational & Reasonable Commentary.”
Have you been reading me since way back then? You rock—and I am in your debt!
Maybe LIVEfrom1600™ will do even better!
Episode Four: A New Dope…
Well, here we are in the age of deception and denial—led by a man of color (an orange color!). This egomaniac has, astonishingly, been elected to sit in the Oval Office, surrounded by people of less-than-good character and devoid of any interest in the U. S. Constitution.
No doubt, in the near future, we will probably find many of them are actually criminals.
The trick will be in seeing them go to prison!
But, since I am most familiar with the right and where they should be mentally—their total lack of personal integrity is pissing me off—I focus my energy on the real problem with America today: the extremist, radical, right-wing nutjobs holding office and bent on destroying our Republic from within.
They are not “Conservatives” and they have not a clue about historical American values. These impudent wretches even have the gall to call themselves Christians! Bad ones, maybe. To them I say, read some history, read the Constitution and read the Bible—again.
Well, we’re going to set them straight on LIVEfrom1600™!
Hold on to your press hats, my friends! It’s going to be a rough road ahead! And everyone is going to be saying shit that isn’t going to be very nice—including me. Get used to it, because…
This is your brain on Trump!