Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Tusk Editor's Note: 8/2

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Tusk Editor's Note: 8/2

Article excerpt

Can't say I know much about TV or radio jobs, except I've got the hands for radio and cringe when I see my hulk projected on TV, with the exception of that one time at WTVY in Dothan as all the tiny seventh-graders held up our art-class-made Christmas ornaments. Mine looked like the product of Salvador Dali's collision with a drag queen. I remember the teacher asking "And what were you ... thinking?" Blank slate, man. This stuff just beams in.

Sad notes in both media this week, though, as longtime radio host Kidd Kraddick passed away unexpectedly while hosting a charity golf tournament to benefit Kidd's Kids, which sends deathly ill children to Disney World. The amount of yakking I'll tolerate on radio is low, but over the years I have sometimes tuned in Kraddick's morning show, syndicated locally, and found him and his crew amusing, warm and humane. He seemed a decent guy, maybe one of the last of the old- school DJs, and died far too young, at 53. Then in a bit of career suicide, Huntsville's WAAY reporter Shea Allen fired herself by revealing a bit too much, not on screen, but in a blog post. So what were her crimes? How would mine compare?

Shea: "My best sources are the ones who secretly have a crush on me." Me: I've rarely dated sources, and then only well after the fact. One ex-girlfriend (well, they're all exes, technically, so, umm ...) was someone I'd interviewed like two years before we ever even flirted, except for that little hint on the phone that time, and let's be fair, it was about a Playboy photo spread, so come on. So if there have been other crushes, they are real top secret. Or I'm really professional. You pick. But no, intriguing people, fields and studies are the best sources, because except for this editor's note slot, it's not about me; it's about stories.

Shea: "I am better live when I have no script and no idea what I'm talking about." Me: I rarely write out questions in advance anymore, because the best interviews evolve as conversations, when I ask what anyone would ask, given access, time and sufficient curiosity. But then I've been doing this job for umpteen trillion years and can edit notes. As chief mouthpiece for The Rude Mechanicals, and the guy in whatever band who yaks between songs, or when a string break calls for a break, I feel comfortable riffing, playing off the crowd, telling jokes so bad people laugh at me, not the punchline, then feel bad for laughing at me, and so become much more sympathetic to whatever follows. …

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