Beginning in my teen years, I had the wonderful experience of doing a little TV and radio. That created a comfort level in those media that the Lord has built upon, both in the secular commercial world and the religious realm, and expanded to include print publications and the Internet.
My father was a news photographer in Washington D.C. He covered the Presidents from Truman to Nixon for UPI and then, moving to the Washington Post, he covered Congress from Watergate to Iran Contra. The experience of being around and interacting with famous people from my youth and having a father who was not intimidated by such people at all, created in me a different perspective than most on people and power. As my father always said, “they put their pants on one leg at a time just as we do.”
Although I never pursued a career in journalism, my father’s attitude and how he lived it, freed me to do many things on my own that most would never have tried. For example, I remember while traveling over land through Central America in 1989 that I got stuck in Tegucigalpa, Honduras for two weeks while I waited to secure a visa to enter Nicaragua, then under the rule of the much vilified Sandinistas. Rather than brood over my misfortune, I embraced the opportunity diving into the local culture head first.
Shortly after my arrival, I met a homeless man in the street. He led me to a local soup kitchen which was run by a Human Rights activist. From that vantage point, where I chose to eat my daily breakfast, lunch and dinner I came to interact with a broad cross-section of Honduran society – street people, prostitutes, intellectuals, artists and ultimately political leaders and even television personalities.
Over the next two weeks, I was welcomed into the studio to hear young musicians record an album, enjoyed coffee with Honduran writers, listened to lectures from leading professors, and experienced the fear of the people and reviewed the documentation of persons gone “missing” from government crack downs. This coupled with the fact that local prostitutes turned tricks in the local dive where I was staying, gave me a rapid immersion into Honduran society.
During that time, I learned that an election was nearing so I decided to turn free-lance reporter and contacted all the political parties to interview their Presidential candidates. Through that process, I came to see the systemic corruption that plagued Honduran politics as Presidential candidates essentially bragged to me about the “good” they did in their campaigns. Sadly what they considered “good” was nothing less than the “buying” of huge blocks of votes, a practice that we have since come to see in America. I also met with and interviewed various folks working at the U.S. Embassy. It was amazing to me to see how out of touch our embassy staff was with what was happening on the ground in Honduras.
Finally, just to give you an idea of what my life was like at the time, the street people at the soup kitchen asked me if I was a member of the U.S. Soccer team? That seemed an odd question to me. What would a member of the U.S. Soccer team be doing eating in a local soup kitchen? Still, with a little probing I learned that the U.S. soccer team was indeed in town to play El Salvador the next day.
Having been with my father to cover sporting events in the past, I decided to swing by the stadium the next morning to find out where the press entrance was and what time the press usually arrived. I figured our press corps might need a translator as so few Americans back then seemed to speak a foreign language. Sure enough, just a few minutes after I arrived at the gate, I saw an entourage of Americans approaching and they yelled out to me in English “Hey, do you know where the press entrance is?” I told them that I did and asked if they needed a translator. Sure enough, they did.
It turned out that the entourage included not only the U.S. press corps, but also the head of the U.S. Soccer federation and a few of the team members who were injured. None of them spoke Spanish so I joined them in their box. During the game, Honduran TV wanted to interview the head of the U.S. Soccer federation. He could not speak Spanish nor they English so I translated the interview live for all concerned for Honduran TV. After the game, which the U.S. won, I visited the losing team’s locker room with the U.S. media and translated the interviews with the coaches and players from El Salvador for the reporters.
Such activities typified my youth. Though I never pursued a career in journalism myself, I did do quite a bit of work in all three media. Beginning in High School, I captained my school’s It’s Academic team, a local televised competition between high schools in a game show type of format. In college, I did a short stint on the Cornell University radio station, doing sports news. I also worked for the U.S. Senate Budget Committee where, at my boss’ behest, I interacted quite a bit with the Washington Press Corps, essentially operating as one of the much vaunted “sources” from inside that you often hear them tout. Later, while working at General Mills in Minneapolis, Minnesota, I was one of a few engineers that was selected to be interviewed for a local PBS program on careers in science and engineering. Finally, while studying at Georgetown University Law Center, I wrote an article on International Moral Obligations that was published in the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal.
When I became a Christian in 1991, I never anticipated doing anything in any of those media again and you, if you had been with our fellowship in little Northfield Falls, Vermont would probably have agreed with me, but I was wrong. In 1994, Richard returned from being on the road with a tent revival team. He was seething with some of the things that he had learned were going on in the country and wanted to inform others. Immediately, we started broadcasting on the radio (i.e. satellite, shortwave and FM) and shortly thereafter started a bi-weekly newspaper known as the Liberty News. Ultimately, our hour long weekly broadcast morphed into a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week satellite radio network known as the Eagle Radio Network.
Over the next two years, I spent hundreds if not thousands of hours on the radio and wrote dozens of articles that were published on various subjects. It was during this time that the Lord redeemed many things from my pre-Christian life. Essentially, He took the large mass of knowledge and experience that I had buried and forgotten from my pre-Christian travels, studies and experiences and resurrected it from the dead. As He brought back to remembrance my former life, it was as if He laid a transparency over it to show me the world and how it operates from His perspective.
Immediately, He put His handiwork in me to work on the radio as I interviewed authors, political figures and persons of interest on the air; hosted or co-hosted a wide variety of shows that touched upon political, scientific and/or religious subjects; and was given many opportunities to speak on radio, TV and other public forums concerning issues of the day. At the same time, He had me do a series on the Bill of Rights for The Liberty News and write thought provoking articles for publication in the mainstream media, such as: Conversion of a Pacifist and Where is Justice?
When Richard moved to South Carolina from Vermont, he closed down the radio program and the Liberty News, but my media work continued albeit at a less strenuous pace. Prior to my recent move to Texas, I did a fair amount of main stream talk radio for local stations in Vermont (WDEV) and New Hampshire (WNTK), as well as Christian radio. At times, I have been the guest on another’s program where I have spoken about political, scientific and/or religious issues. At other times, I have filled in as a guest host on well-established programs where I interviewed others or carried the show myself. The Lord also had me do a fair amount of professional writing and speaking in the legal community, penning a quarterly column entitled Tech Tips for the Vermont Bar Journal, and doing many continuing legal education (CLE) seminars for lawyers.
These experiences have kept me current in the media, including helping me to make the transition to the Internet. If you would like me to appear on a radio, TV or Internet program that you run or are a fan of, please get in touch. Similarly, if there is an article I have written or you think I could write for your online or print media, do not hesitate to contact me.