The first hour of The Roundtable has proven to be a great success. Host Joe Donahue and I have received many compliments about the way in which the program is conducted. Listeners recognize the obvious love and respect that exists among the panelist and new heroes and heroines have emerged.
Everywhere I go, people tell me of their love for the curmudgeonly and professional newsman, Ray Graf, and of their respect for Professor Rosemary Armao.
I’ve got to tell you, Rosemary has guts. She will almost always give us a different perspective than the ones that are most commonly making the rounds. When the events in Ukraine and Crimea began to unfold, Rosemary warned us about some of the fascist elements present in the mix of Ukrainian groups that were fomenting the revolution that ousted President Yanukovych. Rosemary has travelled widely all over the world, working to protect journalists in the worst hot spots imaginable. While we may not always agree, it is so much fun to watch her test her ideas. I have incredible respect for her fearlessness and unwillingness to automatically accept the company line. She will go where others will not. Of course, I love to test her ideas by arguing with her. I think the best thing about her is that she approaches every problem differently, sometimes differently on different days.
Then there’s Libby Post who is just brilliant. She runs her own public relations business and she is a very incisive political analyst. While she has always been a gay activist she brings tremendous insights into all human relations problems. I’ve known her for a long time. If the truth be told, Libby was my graduate student and she brought as much to our class room discussions as she brings to the radio every time we are lucky enough to get her on the air.
Mike Spain is the Associate Editor of the Albany Times Union and he knows a great deal about a lot of things. He happens to be the nicest man I have ever met. I would defy anyone who knows him to say anything but positive things about the man. He always listens carefully to what others have to say and he has the ability to disagree civilly and without causing pain. We all love him.
Judy Patrick, the editor of the Schenectady Gazette, appears on the panel from time to time. Judy is a woman with her feet solidly on the ground. She is very smart. I have watched her progress for years and the fact that she has arrived at one of the top journalism jobs in the Capital area attests to her brains and prowess. I love her sense of humor but you have to get it and listen carefully.
Ira Fusfeld is another gem. Recently retired as the publisher of the Kingston Daily Freeman, Fusfeld is smart and knows the news business as few others do. He is also a regular on the Media Project, a WAMC Board member and has seen it all.
Stu Shinske, Executive Editor of the Poughkeepsie Journal sometimes makes the long trek to be with us in studio. He is the total package. He’s blazingly smart. He has a terrific memory about things that have happened over the years along the Hudson. He knows all the players. I just wish he could be on more often. You couldn’t ask for a better panelist. Of course, there are others who appear from time to time like Jimmy Vielkind who is a terrific reporter. I have to say, I love this show.