An Aside to the Reagan Shooting Anniversary

Thirty years ago tonight, I was doing a weekly jazz show on the public station where I lived. When I got in, the Operations Manager said I’d have to join PBS LIVE at the top of the hour…and that was really hard to do. I laughed a bit, and said I’d joined NBC news live every evening for 4 years, it wouldn’t be a problem. The General Manager, with whom I’d gone to college, also found it amusing.


Just before the top of the hour, I was ending a song, and was reminded that I had to join the network, and had to be EXACTLY on time. I said, “No problem. I’ll come out of the record (which were still being played 30 years ago!), do the weather, a legal ID, and join PBS exactly at the top of the hour.”  The Operations Manager and about a half dozen staffers were in the studio watching…they didn’t seem to think this was possible. My buddy the General Manager was in the hallway just smiling.


Of course, everything worked perfectly. Just like riding a bike, you don’t forget how to join a live network broadcast after you’ve done that for years and years. Yes, after the update about the President’s condition in the newscast, the jazz rolled on!


They say moments like the Reagan shooting are defining moments. Having been through the assassinations of President Kennedy, his brother Robert, Martin Luther King, and the shooting of President Reagan, I am one of those who can tell you exactly where I was when each occurred. If you were around then, I bet you can too!


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