Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Saturday Night Massacre

The day was Sunday October 21, 1973.
I was working the Sunday morning news shift at WILK-AM in Wilkes-Barre. This was not the shift that WILK's premier news anchors worked. I was 17 years old and working my first real news job. I worked that shift.
The morning deejay opened the intercom and said, "There's a guy on line one who wants to know what happened last night."
What happened the night before would soon become history.
And the guy on the phone wasn't just some guy.
In what would become known as the "Saturday Night Massacre," President Richard Nixon ordered his Attorney General to fire Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. AG Elliot Richardson refused and resigned. His deputy William Ruckleshaus also refused and resigned. Nixon finally found someone (Robert Bork) to do his bidding and Cox was fired. An incensed Congress ramped up it's investigation and less than a year later, Nixon would resign.
These days I can relate those events easily from memory.
In those days, I was still having difficulty in discerning first base from the back of my front.
I answered the phone and the caller identified himself and asked if I could relate to him what happened.
In those days there was no internet or cable news channels. I had to rely on the Associated Press teletype.
I still have some difficulty explaining to young people the concept of teletype.
The man on the phone said he was in town visiting family. He needed to know as much as he could about what was going on. He might have to return to his job in Washington D.C.
Now you might think that I would be caught up in the event.
I wasn't.
Instead I was mesmerized by the voice.
Deep and confident.
I knew the name and shook with a little nervousness.
I was talking to a legend.
I related as much as I could.
He was professional and generous in his appreciation for my help. (What help? I was just reading wire copy.)
The voice on the phone was a Mutual Broadcasting anchorman, a Washington D.C news anchor, a local radio icon.
Today he's still on the air. And he's still a legend.
Nowadays, I have been fortunate to add another title; my friend.
Tom Woods.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome story Kevin...keep them coming!

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