The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Da Tech Guy on Da Radio 5 p.m. ET

Posted on | November 20, 2010 | 1 Comment

During this year’s campaign in Massachusetts, the Blogfather of the Axis of Fedora began making occasional appearances on WCRN-AM 830, a 50,000-watt news/talk powerhouse in Worcester. After talking to the station management, Pete realized that a weekend show was a feasible proposition, hustled up advertisers to support it and will debut his own show today at 5 p.m. ET. (Regular time for the show will be 9 p.m., but he’s on the air early today because the 9 p.m. slot got pre-empted by UMass basketball.)

Pete has been phenomenally successful in the past year. He’s traveled to CPAC, ridden the Tea Party Express, went to Georgia to cover Liz Carter, made it to BlogCon to cover the 9/12 rally, and went out on the campaign trail with me to cover Ann Marie Buerkle in NY-25 and Tom Marino in PA-10. He writes a regular column for the Examiner and now has his own talk radio show.

All of this phenomenal success, BTW, started just 10 months ago, in January, when I spent a week crashing on Pete’s sofa while covering the Scott Brown campaign (see my “Breakfast in Fitchburg” post for a good wrap-up of that trip). During that week in January, Pete demonstrated one basic aptitude necessary to success as a reporter: A willingness to ask questions to complete strangers. (In the photo above, you see Pete at a Tea Party rally during the Brown campaign interviewing Vietnam vet Randy May, whom I also interviewed.)

Over the years, I worked with a lot of newspaper interns — college kids who thought they wanted to be journalists — and saw how difficult it was for some people to overcome ordinary self-consciousness. It requires a real effort to get past that, to be aggressive, to call up people on the phone or walk up to them in person and start asking questions.

Pete’s got that exceptional quality in trumps. And he’s also got a great love for Ordinary Americans. It’s almost embarrassing at times to go to a restaurant or store with Pete, because he’ll just start interviewing a sales clerk or a waiter — “Would you mind if I ask you a few questions?” — with a real interest in their answers. The stories he gets that way are often amazing: While we were in Newton, Mass., to cover the Sean Bielat campaign, Pete started interviewing the waitress who served us breakfast — and it turns out she’s an immigrant from Haiti, who admired Ronald Reagan and did not vote for Obama.

Pete’s got the kind of optimistic can-do attitude that can accomplish miracles, and I think his radio show is going to be a smashing success. Please tune in at 5 p.m. You can listen on line and check in on Pete’s Tweets during the show.

UPDATE: Hey, that was fun! What’s amazing is to hear about stories like this state legislative election in Massachusetts:

 Republican Peter J. Durant maintained the slimmest of margins — one vote — and declared victory over state Rep. Geraldo Alicea in the 6th Worcester District race yesterday afternoon, based on the last of five recounts held this week.

Lots of shenanigans in that recount that haven’t made the MSM. And, at the end of the show, I was surprised to learn that people in Massachusetts hadn’t heard about the Logan Airport TSA agent accused of raping a 14-year-girl.


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