And That's The News

Mar 1, 2019

The news is coming so fast that most of us can hardly keep up.

Of course, WAMC played the remarkable House Oversight Committee (Michael Cohen) hearings in their entirety. I listened as much as I could and I came away pretty shell shocked. There is nothing like hearing this stuff for ourselves, unfiltered.

I know this is whining and not attractive but I really have to say that NPR let us down on one aspect of this. WAMC had planned to take a live feed from NPR (that is why we pay them a fortune) at about three in the morning from Vietnam. And when the president announced that he was walking away from the talks with his self-described loved one, the vicious  Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, the press conference which we had plans to play via NPR  would be moved up to the absolute middle of the night. NPR announced that they would not provide anchored coverage so we had no alternative but not to play it for you. As I said, just a sentence or two above, it is essential that you be allowed hear what he said for yourself. Yes, you will hear clips on our news broadcasts but that is hardly the same thing as hearing him tell us why this latest foray with Kim failed and then reacting to the damning news of the previous days Michael Cohen testimony. Had we known that NPR would fail us, we would have figured out how to get the feed from somewhere else and we would have done right by you.

If you were like me and heard the president trying to blame the failure of the Korean talks on the Cohen hearing in Washington, you might have developed an Excedrin headache. The point being that you would have heard him yourself which, in a democratic form of government, is essential. We spend a great deal of your money not only on our widespread news staff but on NPR which is known for trying to get more and more money out of its member stations -- money that many of them simply don’t have. Put another way, when it comes to NPR, it’s never enough.

I have been receiving a good deal of mail about WAMC’s efforts. The credit goes to our remarkable news director, Ian Pickus, who is on the job day and night. Of course, our reporters and bureau chiefs are terrific but Ian is the glue that holds it all together. Naturally he can always turn to Joe Donahue or me for advice but in the end, it all falls on him. It is Ian, for example who manages our newfound relationship with Governor Cuomo. The governor has been coming on WAMC with some regularity and making a lot of news when he does. Obviously, it is in our interest to host him but also to ask him the toughest questions we can. So far, he has not walked away from any of these interviews. Even his father had his limits with me but always kept coming back.

I truthfully had no idea that Andrew had a sense of humor but it turns out that he does. He always calls me “Doctor” during our conversations, so at one point I asked him why he did that. His answer would have made Papa Cuomo proud. “Well, I keep calling you “doctor” because you’re quite an operator.” Terrific!

It is no wonder that a recent study showed WAMC is now the go-to place to get news in our markets. Just ask yourself where you are tuned in when you get into your car or where your clock radio is set when it wakes you up in the morning. The number of people listening to the station is just amazing. When I think of where we started in 1979 when we took over from the Albany Medical College, I almost faint. It’s all about YOU and what you have done to make this station what it has become. We sure do thank you.