WO re: Jonathan Bush Passing

5/7/21

We are very sad to learn that Jonathan Bush, brother of President George H. W. Bush and uncle of President George W. Bush died earlier this week in Hobe Sound.

He was also the father of our friend William “Billy” Bush and attended many Foundation events at the American Yacht Club and Le Cirque.  He showed up at one of our dinners with the Whiffenpoofs Yale singing group.  Jonathan was also a regular attendee at my book launches.

Mario Cuomo adored the guy and once said “He was the Bush they all wanted to be.”            

Jonathan was also a contributor to our Guardian Fund … and defended Don Imus and others of our tribe when they were subjected to censorship.

I had many phone calls when his son Billy was under attack.  He was not happy with our friends at the network for not standing up for his son and heir.

The attachments show what a lovely and gracious guy he was.

Download attachments below

William O’Shaughnessy
President & Editorial Director
914-235-3279
wfo@wvox.com


Ray McGuire for Mayor

A Whitney Global Media Commentary
April 15, 2021
by William O’Shaughnessy, President & Editorial Director

“My journey started at the bottom.

I’ve done well for myself, and I’m proud of that.

But my journey, like those of so many who’ve come to this city for opportunity, wasn’t always easy.”

That’s the opening line of Ray McGuire, our choice for the next Mayor of New York City, and it says it all about this proud but humble exemplar who’s the very best candidate — the only candidate — with the heart, the smarts, the empathy, the intelligence, the experience, and the innate belief in the enduring power of the American Dream to transform our great metropolis from its post-pandemic malaise into the shining beacon of opportunity for all that it once was and will be again!

Raised by a single mother in Dayton, Ohio with no money, but accompanied by plenty of sacrifices, Ray McGuire knew from a young age that education was the key to a brighter future. Inspired by a 5th grade teacher’s early praise, he bootstrapped a scholarship, and his family made more sacrifices to get him that better education. At 16, he flew alone to Connecticut to make good on a challenge to “test himself” against the best of the Eastern Establishment and scored a scholarship that brought him to the premier Hotchkiss prep school. From there it was on to Harvard for an undergraduate degree and then Law and Business degrees. These schools knew there was something special about this guy.

From Harvard he came to New York for a job on Wall Street and made his mark at Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Citibank – and with Joe Perella, the savvy investor – in jobs they all recruited him to accept. Why? Because they knew. They knew he was the young man who could generate $20-plus billion a year in revenue, manage multi-billion-dollar deals, and guide CEOs in creating jobs.

Creating good jobs – that’s as important to Ray McGuire as the mega deals. As a Citi Foundation Board member, he helped the firm improve the lives of people in low-income communities, and worked on a brilliant and comprehensive Report confronting the economic impact of systemic racism.

From the streets to the suites – unbossed, unbound and unstoppable as a catalyst for success – that’s Ray McGuire.

Listen to him describe his journey in an interview called “The Closing” on YouTube and you’d hire him for damn near any job in the country – because his belief that all of us can achieve positive transformation is not only genuine but backed up by Ray McGuire having lived it himself. He may have risen from bootstraps to boardrooms, but his desire to build the foundation for others to take an equivalent journey is what his candidacy is all about.

Sure he lives on Central Park West, but he’s also troubled by “systemic inequities” in the City and understands first-hand what it takes for Black and Brown people to rise above the shackles of circumstance.

When we first heard Ray McGuire on our FM station WVIP, he was reaching out to the Jamaican and Caribbean communities – for votes, to be sure, but more so to offer hope and genuine solidarity.

Ray McGuire is not afraid of Capitalism and has a sincere appreciation of what it could do for Black and Brown people. In fact, in a City so blessed with majestic and magnificent bridges, we believe Ray McGuire is the bridge between the corporate milieu and the communities of color, between the private and the public sector, and between the bricks and the boardroom cultures.

New York City is a culturally and demographically rich community. When Ray McGuire is mayor, people from all the “neighborhoods” will have a seat at the table.  With his proven leadership skills, Ray McGuire is the bridge to having them work together.

Jay-Z, Diddy, and Nas – the music world’s most currently prominent voices of the People – support Ray McGuire because they know he’s the guy with the beat that can unite every culture in our City, whether ethnic, corporate, or creative, and tackle all the pressing problems – even the “unsolvable” ones like segregated schools and segregated neighborhoods.

He has brilliant and sensible economic plans, he worries that we’re not building middle class housing, or what he calls “workforce” housing, for the people who run and sustain the City, and he is very clear that rich developers need to invest in the City. (“People shouldn’t have to pay 70% of their income in rent just to maintain a roof over their heads,” he says.)

As he deconstructs the deficiencies of New York City’s housing Policy and focuses on moving low-income people to middle income abodes, Ray McGuire talks of turning hotels into housing, cutting the red tape that always harms those with the least clout the most, and ending the deleterious “tradition” of New York being the most difficult City in which “to get things done.”

We also like Ray McGuire because he’s studied the great issues of the day. And this fellow really means it when he gives primary importance to Education. Beholden to nothing but improvement, and boldly unafraid, he declares, “I will prescribe every model that gets kids a quality Education.”

Unlike so many mayors of the past, Ray McGuire is not out for self-aggrandizement, and he’s not a one trick pony. He always wants to look “at the entire equation” – on relief for tenants and landlords, on tax policies and growth initiatives, on the value of middle-income homes, and on even tougher, politically charged challenges.

While talking about the City he loves, Ray McGuire’s eyes mist over when he says, “There are very few Black people who haven’t had an “episode” with Police. That’s our reality!” We have to change the culture of Police.” But he doesn’t like the language of Defund Police. (Remember, he wants to look at every model.)

My former father-in-law, the late Walter Nelson Thayer, who was president of the Herald Tribune of sainted memory, and ran Citizens for Eisenhower (and was a pillar of the Eastern Republican Establishment), once told me “Men and women of quality will not submit to the rigors of public service. They get a degree in Political Science … and immediately gravitate to Wall Street for the bucks.”

Ray McGuire breaks that mold in a way our City needs right now!

When he can get away from the boardrooms, he plays spirited pick-up basketball games at public playgrounds where he talks admiringly about folks “who’ve got game.” This guy’s “got game.”

He’s articulate and thoughtful. He responds to every email and voicemail and takes great pride and satisfaction in mentoring youngsters and people not of high estate.

What a magnificent role model Ray McGuire will be if the Great City is fortunate enough to install him in City Hall.

Just how special is this Raymond McGuire? … You have only to view the great majority of the current crop of big city mayors as they bumble and stumble their way through important and timely civic pronouncements to try to calm things following police shootings, riots in the streets, floods, urban unrest or just the everyday minutia of governance. The bigger the city, it seems, the more feckless, limited and inarticulate the bumbling mayor.

We find McGuire’s love for the City genuine and very important. There is no question Ray McGuire’s leadership can pull the City together.

If the Great City on which we depend wants to avoid and steer clear of a cringe-worthy and limited chief executive … they will elect this gifted, articulate and extraordinary man – Ray McGuire.

We hope WVOX’s friends at 1460 in the Bronx and Westchester will now step up with financial and vocal support for his long-shot campaign. And we commend his candidacy to the favorable judgment our many Caribbean, Jamaican and Hispanic friends on 93.5 WVIP.

We are persuaded that absolutely no one or any other candidate who aspires to lead New York City during this perilous time is as bright, as astute, as gifted and dynamic as Raymond J. McGuire.

Mr. McGuire is head and shoulders above all the others – not alone because of his obvious ability and awesome talents … but because of his ample heart and becoming sensitivity.

If you sent to Central Casting and said, ‘Send me a superior candidate who will be a great mayor’ … they would send Ray McGuire.

This is a WVOX and WVIP Editorial of the Air. This is William O’Shaughnessy.

William O’Shaughnessy, a former president of the New York State Broadcasters Association, was chairman of Public Affairs for the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington.  He has been a point man and advocate for the broadcasters of America on First Amendment and Free Speech issues and is presently chairman of the Guardian Fund of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, the national charitable organization.  He is also a longtime director and member of the Executive Committee of the Foundation. He has operated WVOX and WVIP, two of the last independent stations in the New York area, for over 60 years as president and editorial director.

He is the author of “AirWAVES” (1999) … “It All Comes Back to Me Now” (2001) … “More Riffs, Rants and Raves” (2004) … and “VOX POPULI: The O’Shaughnessy Files,” released in January, 2011. He has also written “Mario Cuomo:  Remembrances of a Remarkable Man,” a tribute to his late friend Governor Mario M. Cuomo. His newest book RADIOactive for Fordham University Press, another anthology with interviews, commentaries, speeches and tributesWVOX_logo_final was published in 2019. He is presently working on Townies, a paean to those without wealth, influence or high estate in suburban Westchester County, the heart of the Eastern Establishment.

Contact:

Cindy Hall Gallagher
cindy@wvox.com


William O’Shaughnessy
wfo@wvox.com

Our Extraordinary Governor

A WVOX Commentary
By William O’Shaughnessy
February 16, 2021

New York State has had 56 governors … including John Jay, DeWitt Clinton, Martin Van Buren, two Roosevelts: Theodore and Franklin Delano. Also Grover Cleveland, Alfred E. Smith, Herbert Lehman, Hugh Leo Carey, Averell Harriman, the incomparable Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, Malcolm Wilson of sainted memory and Mario Matthew Cuomo who was called “the great philosopher-statesman of the American nation.”

And now Andrew Mark Cuomo.

There are also governors abroad in the land these days who preside over 49 other states. Andrew is head of their exclusive club.

Not one … not one of them knows the levers and rhythms of governance as well as Andrew Cuomo who presides over a Budget of $177 Billion. He employs 340,000 State public servants and controls many boards, corporations and authorities. The Gross National Product of his fiefdom is $2.5 trillion. 

Theodore Roosevelt and Nelson Rockefeller were more dynamic. Malcolm Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt were more articulate. (I would rather be drinking of an evening at the “21” bar with Hugh Carey.)

Mario Cuomo was a greater thinker and more inspiring with a magnificent soul. His son and heir has a reputation (undeserved) as a bully, a control-freak, and an authoritarian.

But. But in his best moments, he resembles his magnificent father.

President Biden praises him for his “skills, guts and experience. He’s a damned good friend of mine.”

The same people who now criticize and demean Andrew are, for the most part, the very same haters who never forgave Mario for his views on capital punishment (“vengeance doesn’t work”) and abortion (he despised the “violence and vulgarity” thereof).

So Andrew Cuomo is a great manager, a skillful and enlightened steward of the State. You gotta give him that.

Even his mother, the beloved Matilda Cuomo, calls him “the Energizer Governor” and occasionally “The Mechanic.”

Her way of saying there is no one better or more astute at governance than her son, the 56th governor of New York.

So just forget his ill-timed book (of which I was the purchaser of 200 copies) or his damned Emmy Award.

I have never said he’s perfect. I am drawn to his defense and cause not alone because he is a son of Matilda Raffa and Mario Matthew Cuomo. But I do believe it’s in the genes … the genes … that make him so extraordinary. We might remember that as they pile on a governor who works so damn hard in our service.

William O’Shaughnessy, a former president of the New York State Broadcasters Association, was chairman of Public Affairs for the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington.  He has been a point man and advocate for the broadcasters of America on First Amendment and Free Speech issues and is presently chairman of the Guardian Fund of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, the national charitable organization.  He is also a longtime director and member of the Executive Committee of the Foundation. He has operated WVOX and WVIP, two of the last independent stations in the New York area, for over 60 years as president and editorial director.

He is the author of “AirWAVES” (1999) … “It All Comes Back to Me Now” (2001) … “More Riffs, Rants and Raves” (2004) … and “VOX POPULI: The O’Shaughnessy Files,” released in January, 2011. He has also written “Mario Cuomo:  Remembrances of a Remarkable Man,” a tribute to his late friend Governor Mario M. Cuomo. His newest book RADIOactive for Fordham University Press, another anthology with interviews, commentaries, speeches and tributesWVOX_logo_final was published in 2019. He is presently working on Townies, a paean to those without wealth, influence or high estate in suburban Westchester County, the heart of the Eastern Establishment.

Contact:
Cindy Hall Gallagher
cindy@wvox.com

Today’s Girl Singers: Divas and Belters

The Cabaret World on the distaff side is populated mostly by overly theatrical divas and coloratura belters who energetically emote and perform as they overwhelm every intimate, sweet, delicate and sophisticated song by making them resemble a booming bel canto aria.

There are a few exceptions. Most prominent among female cabaret singers who don’t fall into this “show-off” category these days is, of course, Diana Krall. While many singers attack sophisticated and sensitive lyrics, Krall brings a gentle, easy, intimate and respectful approach to her work.

I’ve got nothing against an authentic theatrical belter. I loved Ethel Merman. But I flee from the nasal, one-note wail of Streisand’s delivery. Tierney Sutton, a west coast singer, is another performer, like Krall, who knows how to caress a lyric and resists the temptation to propel it into the higher rafters. And Sylvia Syms and Blossom Dearie were perfect examples of what we admire. Also Susannah McCorkle.

And don’t forget when they asked Louis Armstrong who was the best girl singer of all time, Satchmo replied: “Uh … you mean besides Ella …?”

Speaking of which, the glorious Rosemary Clooney. When I asked her one day about Sinatra’s insistence of “finishing a word” and not ducking the sibilant “S” (Polkadotsss and Moonbeamsss) … Rosie Clooney said “William … how else would you do it?” 

Many girl singers of today could also study Billy Holiday who never had to shift into a “Look at me – I’m an ‘entertainer’ – ‘a performer’” mode as she bestowed her uniquely sinuous, supple way on a lyric. My late friend Nat Hentoff once called Lady Day “the best and most honest jazz singer.”

Much could also be learned from those gentlemen who approach the Great American Songbook with a becoming restraint and laid-back respect. The incomparable Sinatra, with his exquisite, sensitive phrasing, serves as the model (and guide).

Melvin Howard Torme and Tony Bennett got it too. Ditto Matt Dennis, Murray Grand, Richard Rodney Bennett, Steve Ross, Eric Comstock, John Pizzarelli, Ronny Whyte, Charley Cochran and a wealthy Connecticut man named Norman Drubner, who has embarked on a second career (he’s produced seven beautifully assembled CD’s!) are examples of singers who know how to “gentle” a lyric. Also Doug Williams, a singer and pianist in Naples, Florida and Cape May, New Jersey in the summer.

And Chet Baker is being discovered all over again for his lush, haunting vocal renditions and deeply-felt romantic ballads to which he brings an intimate, almost intoxicating style in which he barely whispers.

But save us from those earnest female “Bar the door, Nellyemoters and coloratura divas with their upper register trills.

William O’Shaughnessy, a former president of the New York State Broadcasters Association, was chairman of Public Affairs for the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington.  He has been a point man and advocate for the broadcasters of America on First Amendment and Free Speech issues and is presently chairman of the Guardian Fund of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, the national charitable organization.  He is also a longtime director and member of the Executive Committee of the Foundation. He has operated WVOX and WVIP, two of the last independent stations in the New York area, for over 60 years as president and editorial director.

He is the author of “AirWAVES” (1999) … “It All Comes Back to Me Now” (2001) … “More Riffs, Rants and Raves” (2004) … and “VOX POPULI: The O’Shaughnessy Files,” released in January, 2011. He has also written “Mario Cuomo:  Remembrances of a Remarkable Man,” a tribute to his late friend Governor Mario M. Cuomo. His newest book RADIOactive for Fordham University Press, another anthology with interviews, commentaries, speeches and tributesWVOX_logo_final was published in 2019. He is presently working on Townies, a paean to those without wealth, influence or high estate in suburban Westchester County, the heart of the Eastern Establishment.

Contact:
Cindy Hall Gallagher
cindy@wvox.com

The Last Townie – “Don” Dominic Procopio

The Last Townie
A WVOX Commentary
By William O’Shaughnessy
December 15, 2020

Don” Dominic Procopio was an agreeable and beloved presence in our city for as long as we can remember and he was powerful. 

He owned a wine company and was chairman of our Civil Service Commission. Mr. Procopio was also the Padrone of the Casa Calabria over whose annual dinner he presided.

The Calabria dinners would begin promptly at 6:30PM and continue until well past midnight with the main course not being proffered until 11:30PM. The organizers and exhausted waiters would then mercifully push a rolling Venetian table onto the floor in the wee small hours loaded with sweets and cappuccinos laced with anisette.

Many hundreds of our neighbors and a posse of judges attended these soirees to toast and pay tribute to “Don” Dominic. One of them, Mr. Justice Frank Niccolai, served as master of ceremonies at the specific request of “Don” Dominic. 

Among the honored guests were Billy DeLuca, a child of the west side who is now one of the most important beer and beverage distributors in the country and Nick Trotta, who ran the Presidential Protective Division of the US Secret Service.  At table were also any lawyer who ever aspired to a judgeship in the region. 

By day, Dominic Procopio presided daily at a Posto 22 luncheon which was attended by police commissioners, city managers past and present and all the elders of city hall whose ranking could be determined by how close they were seated to Mr. Procopio. 

I’ve accused him of being “beloved.” And he was that. “Don” Procopio was a politician the way those of our father’s time imagined them to be as he constantly did favors for the less fortunate and those without standing or stature in our home heath. 

He was also a great patron and supporter of this particular radio station WVOX.  And we loved him for it.

With “Don” Procopio’s passing an era ends in the Queen City which now officially and forevermore becomes a “make it happen … do what it takes … gettin’ it done … aging city … firmly fixed in the so-called modern era with its uncaring, unfeeling … at arm’s length … way of doing business.

The man was up there in years and he battled multiple-myeloma, pneumonia, skin cancer on his handsome head and, near the end, Covid, all of which ultimately combined to overwhelm and take down this good and widely respected soul.

I’m writing a book called “Townies” and you can be damn sure there will be a chapter on one “Don” Dominic Procopio. 

But right now, I’m just very sad, as is our entire city. 

William O’Shaughnessy, a former president of the New York State Broadcasters Association, was chairman of Public Affairs for the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington.  He has been a point man and advocate for the broadcasters of America on First Amendment and Free Speech issues and is presently chairman of the Guardian Fund of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, the national charitable organization.  He is also a longtime director and member of the Executive Committee of the Foundation. He has operated WVOX and WVIP, two of the last independent stations in the New York area, for over 60 years as president and editorial director.

He is the author of “AirWAVES” (1999) … “It All Comes Back to Me Now” (2001) … “More Riffs, Rants and Raves” (2004) … and “VOX POPULI: The O’Shaughnessy Files,” released in January, 2011. He has also written “Mario Cuomo:  Remembrances of a Remarkable Man,” a tribute to his late friend Governor Mario M. Cuomo. His newest book RADIOactive for Fordham University Press, another anthology with interviews, commentaries, speeches and tributesWVOX_logo_final was published in 2019. He is presently working on Townies, a paean to those without wealth, influence or high estate in suburban Westchester County, the heart of the Eastern Establishment.

Contact:
Cindy Hall Gallagher
cindy@wvox.com

“Do We Really Need Another Apartment Building?”

A WVOX Commentary
By William O’Shaughnessy
November 25, 2020

The city development commissioner Luiz Aragon is leaving.

Time to see what he has left in his wake.

He leaves an urban landscape once loaded with potential and opportunity, now littered with concrete and glass buildings with no lineage or character … and urban architecture without style, dignity or reference to the City’s hallowed background or its remarkable multi-cultural history.

These soulless structures could exist in Tulsa, Jersey City, Dayton, Flint, or Oklahoma City. They don’t belong here. Which is not to say the City hadn’t slipped into a slow, inexorable decline over the years as we turned away Lord & Taylor, Ikea, the United Nations and other suitors.

The rents for these behemoth boxes are still out of reach for cops, firemen, nurses, first responders, waiters, bus boys and teachers who don’t need or require “concierge” service when they come home spent and exhausted after a hard day’s labor.

Mr. Aragon, Mayor Bramson and the desperate, needy city council of the last several years bought in hook, line and sinker to the blandishments of a posse of high-rolling “What’s in it for Me?” developers who pushed generic designs and plans appealing to the lowest common denominator. They dazzled the elders at City Hall with developer-speak phrases like “crowdsourced placemaking.”

The great international architect Renzo Piano once memorably said, “You can put down a bad book. You can avoid listening to bad music, but you cannot miss the ugly tower or that block of concrete that despoils the skyline of the city.”

There was no concept or mandate to innovate or be bold in all of this. A design concept, no matter how large or small, is the catalyst for a project and its development. In our downtown especially there is no music, no narrative, no intellectual public engagement for these soulless buildings, except gobble-de-gook like that “crowdsourced placemaking.”

It’s been observed that “Architecture is a social act and the material theatre of human activity.” But we showed no concern when confronted by drab aesthetics with drab, multi-cultural faux brick, plastic mullions, fake and weird styling cues – both inside and out. Sadly New Rochelle has become a ubiquitous bastion of bad architecture. We’ve become a victim of homogeneous planning.

Across the country we know that passionate civic activism has helped put an end to some very bad projects, private, as well as public. But not in New Rochelle where we begged developers to “Roll over and Pet me …”

In recent years, our bourgeois mentality and perceived materialistic values stifled any unconventional or creative approach.

Blame it on the seeming paucity of urban planners today and speculators who are lacking in courage and vision that once distinguished the urban planning profession. Mind you, I’m not trying to urge or impose any pinched restriction or “artsy-fartsy” approach to the downtown opportunity.

But shouldn’t the City, when contemplating Renewal, be allowed to have its surprises and contradictions in the dull, colorless urban landscape?

I’m not saying we should only have done business with developers who covet, understand and appreciate the architectural and conceptual genius of the likes of Renzo Piano, Santiago Calatrava, Enrique Norton, Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind, Lord Norman Foster, Richard Meier, Robert A.M. Stern, the late Eero Saarinen, Michael Graves, James Polshek, Oscar Niemeyer, Costos Kondylis or Ren Koolhas.

Thanks to my compadre Gregorio Alvarez, we’ve actually met and spoken with Santiago Calatrava, Lord Foster, Richard Meier and the late Costos Kondylis. Although they have designed brilliant buildings all over the world, they would gladly have taken a shot with poor, desperate, needy and too long ignored New Rochelle. But the greedy developers selected by the mayor, Luiz Aragon and our genius Council thought your City was not ready for prime-time creativity and the brilliance of a quality, imaginative urban architect.

As it struggled in years gone by, we were able to observe the genius and dedication of Mayor Alvin Richard Ruskin for many years as he fought to retain Bloomingdales, Arnold Constable and build a Macys. The liberal Republican was admired by both sides … even by the Teddy Green-led conservatives. He was also encouraged by Hughie Doyle, Joe Evans and Elly Doctorow, Rocco Bellantoni, Joe Fosina and other Forward-looking people on the high council of our city.

Some blame has to go to the Board of Education of the day and age. When it was appointed by the mayor it was populated with lawyers, judges, successful business executives and wonderful women like Mary Jane Reddington and Ruby Saunders. 

It should not be a popularity contest as it is now for the one who can get the most votes … and run by a superintendent answerable to no one.  Once a year they come around and show themselves only at Budget time.

We have very high regard for several of those in City Hall … starting with our skillful, dedicated and hard-working city manager Charles Bowman “Chuck” Strome. He knows the levers, the buttons and the tedious minutia of government better than anyone. Only Paul Feiner, George Latimer and Andrew Cuomo, the Governor himself, and very few others are in his league. Nita Lowey certainly is. Chuck is certainly a great recruiter. He finds talented people and protects them from the political winds. There are several other stellar players in City Hall, even to this day, including Police Commissioner Joe Schaller who succeeded the legendary Patrick Carroll.  And Fire Chief Andy Sandor.  And thank God we have a wonderful individual like “Don” Dominic Procopio heading up the Civil Service Commission. And our City Court, headed by Judges Anthony Carbone, Susan Kettner and Jared Rice. Jimmy Generoso is perhaps the best court administrator in New York State. We also have high regard for Paul Vacca, our longtime building inspector.

The Board of Education? Forget it! We’d need Jimmy Breslin (The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight” to describe that group.)

Who then to blame for the very bland stew of unimaginative apartment behemoths that development commissioner Luiz Aragon leaves behind?

We blame the city council. What we wouldn’t trade for a Walmart, a Target, a Wegman’s, a Bed, Bath and Beyond or a Best Buy! We’d even settle for a good deli!

In recent years there has been occasional glimpses of taste, sophistication and genius provided by Louis Cappelli who gave us a splendid example with his Trump Tower, still the most attractive downtown structure. Cappelli is also doing the right thing with his new building where the Standard Star and Marty & Lenny’s once stood. There is another attractive building in the hood: the Valenti-Montefiore building is a worthy structure built by John and Charles Valenti and their father Jerry of sainted memory. 

We even look back on those heady days when developers Norman Winston, David Muss and a marvelous character named Spencer Martin (who worked out of our office) at least gave us a Macy’s and, for a while, a mini-shopping center.

And what of David’s Island that lays forlornly rotting in the sun? We lost The Edison Company.  And even Donald Trump because they wouldn’t give him a bridge which would connect to overgrown and crumbling Fort Slocum out in Long Island Sound. It’s a prime piece they still don’t know what to do with.

The problem is not just downtown with all the dull, boxy, high rise apartment buildings.

We have been richly endowed by our Creator with nine miles of natural shoreline. We’re not landlocked like poor Mount Vernon. But the elders of the City have done nothing about that precious waterfront resource. Davenport Neck is slowly disappearing, and Five Islands Park is underutilized, while Premium Point remains a guarded and pristine haven for the wealthy.  Even Mamaroneck has done better with its waterfront via Harbor Island Park.

We also have a rich cultural heritage that once attracted Norman Rockwell and America’s greatest artists and illustrators.  Among the City’s prominent citizens were Lou Gehrig, Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, Frances Sternhagen, Lee Archer, Don McLean, Andrea Mitchell James Fenimore Cooper, Thomas Paine, Carl Reiner, Ken Chenault and three other chairman of AMEX, Vin Draddy, Richard Roundtree, Peter Lind Hayes, Robert Merrill, John Jay, Farouk Kathwari, Tom Rogers, Joe Klein, Governor Malcolm Wilson, Whitney Moore Young, Hugh Price, Willie Mays, Ben Ferencz, Frankie Frisch, Eddie Foy and the Seven Little Foys.

And … YOU … who subsidized all this with lavish tax breaks!

Unfortunately, all this was lost on Luiz Aragon.

And Noam Bramson.

# # #

Postscript: We’ve been pretty tough on Mr. Aragon. It’s not personal. He is, in every telling and by every account, a very nice man with good intentions.

Let us just say … he got what he could.

The same for Bramson.

However disappointing.

William O’Shaughnessy, a former president of the New York State Broadcasters Association, was chairman of Public Affairs for the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington.  He has been a point man and advocate for the broadcasters of America on First Amendment and Free Speech issues and is presently chairman of the Guardian Fund of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, the national charitable organization.  He is also a longtime director and member of the Executive Committee of the Foundation. He has operated WVOX and WVIP, two of the last independent stations in the New York area, for over 60 years as president and editorial director.

He is the author of “AirWAVES” (1999) … “It All Comes Back to Me Now” (2001) … “More Riffs, Rants and Raves” (2004) … and “VOX POPULI: The O’Shaughnessy Files,” released in January, 2011. He has also written “Mario Cuomo:  Remembrances of a Remarkable Man,” a tribute to his late friend Governor Mario M. Cuomo. His newest book RADIOactive for Fordham University Press, another anthology with interviews, commentaries, speeches and tribute was published in 2019. He is presently working on Townies, a paean to those without wealth, influence or high estate in suburban Westchester County, the heart of the Eastern Establishment.

Contact:

Cindy Hall Gallagher
cindy@wvox.com
914-235-3279

WO re: Michael Scott Shannon // The Legendary “Z Morning Zoo”

Michael Scott Shannon

Notes

Re:

The Legendary “Z Morning Zoo”

I’m a Radio guy.

I write books, editorials and commentaries about the great issues of the day. And I’ve occasionally been introduced as an “author.” But I flee from that lofty description.

Breslin was a writer. So too are Malcolm Wilson, Sam Roberts, David Hinckley, Daniel Silva, Robert Harris, Pete Hamill, Lance Morrow, Bill Saroyan, Tracey O’Shaughnessy (no relation), Michael “Lionel” Lebron, John McKenna and Mario Cuomo. They were writers. Also a lawyer named Michael Assaf.

I am a hack writer who struggles mightily and unsuccessfully with the English Language.

But I’ll gladly embrace the appellation “Radio Guy” any time, even in my dotage.

And I’ve always had great respect for disc jockeys who get up each day to strap on earphones and go in a radio station to entertain and inform.

Some of them view the instrument of communication over which they preside for a few hours each day as more than a jukebox.

A few even resemble social commentators and, lacking that, they aspire to be agreeable companions.

In high school in Buffalo I loved Fred Klestine and the five guys who all used the moniker “Guy King.”

And then, much later I discovered a guy from Babylon, N.Y. named William Bernard Breitbard, which name he didn’t use. Instead, he addressed the microphone as William B. Williams.

He went to work in a place called the “Make-Believe Ballroom” which was housed at an iconic radio station with the legendary call signs WNEW.

William B. became a great and wonderful friend.  And it was a sad day when Variety asked me to eulogize him when he left us with the music still playing.

And then, speaking of legends of the air, I became a fan of one Michael Scott Shannon who presided over an obscure New Jersey station Z-100.

Scott is a lot more than a hippy dippy, finger-snapping “Rodney Radio” disc jockey.

In his best moments he’s also a gifted and skillful social commentator, very knowledgeable and worldly about the great issues of the day.

And so he assembled a marvelous and beguiling cast of characters to populate his now legendary Z Morning Zoo.

They played Cindy Lauper. I had no idea who the hell Cindy Lauper was. I still don’t … but I understand she’s pretty talented and a big deal on Broadway.

Scott, who has become the pre-eminent Radio guy of our time was the ringmaster, the interlocutor, the glue and seasoning that drove the inhabitants of the “Zoo,” and his genius held it all together.

I can still remember some of the most delightful off-beat personalities from that show. Everyone on my block … including Yours Truly … was in love with a dame named Claire Stevens!

And the most beguiling of all, of course, was one absolutely outrageous, but endearing character named “Mr. Leonard,” who wore a lime green leisure suit and cherry red pumps. He was always getting in trouble …  like when he covered the visit of Princess Diana “on assignment for Mr. Scott Shannon” and got rousted by the British Secret Service when they caught Mr. Leonard hiding in the bushes with his “Z Morning Zoo” microphone! (“Don’t you know who I am … ?”)

And we remember when he charged out the radio station door in high dudgeon to “have a word” with someone who had the “audacity” to take his personal parking spot.  The confrontation didn’t last long, however, when Mr. Leonard found out the car belonged to Hulk Hogan!

“Oh, sorry, so sorry Mr. Hulk Hogan … I didn’t mean nothing by it when I said those terrible things to you and threatened to beat you … I was just kidding! Hah, hah, hah …”

So many delightful moments …

So much fun.

Such great Radio.

I didn’t just enjoy their antics. Many nights I would stand at the “21” bar and pummel one and all who would listen with my admiration for this Scott Shannon.

Apparently, I was not alone in my enthusiasm. In a short time, the station had a meteoric rise and went from “Worst to First” in the New York market.

Scott then moved on to also program WPLJ and re-invigorate WCBS-FM.

He is the best of what we are.

And he is equally at home with high rollers like Ken Langone, the late Jack Welch, his “patsies” at Westchester Country Club and the swells at Lost Tree in Palm Beach.

Shannon is also possessed of those generous genes which inhabited William B. Williams. Scott has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Blythdale Children’s Hospital and he tees off with his sketchy, 18-handicap at our Broadcasters Foundation of America, and many other, charity golf tournaments.

# # #

An observation: You’ve heard the phrase “He’s got a face for Radio.”

I don’t want you to think I’m “sweet” on the guy. But, Scott Shannon, with those beautiful cheekbones and exquisite jawline indeed has a face for … Television.

But maybe, just maybe, that would ruin everything. He’s so damn good at what he does.

I’m glad he’s my friend.

He’s a great entertainer.

And a class act in every season.

(Oh, and his daughter works in the White House for the President of the United States.)

William O’Shaughnessy, a former president of the New York State Broadcasters Association, was chairman of Public Affairs for the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington.  He has been a point man and advocate for the broadcasters of America on First Amendment and Free Speech issues and is presently chairman of the Guardian Fund of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, the national charitable organization.  He is also a longtime director and member of the Executive Committee of the Foundation. He has operated WVOX and WVIP, two of the last independent stations in the New York area, for over 60 years as president and editorial director.

He is the author of “AirWAVES” (1999) … “It All Comes Back to Me Now” (2001) … “More Riffs, Rants and Raves” (2004) … and “VOX POPULI: The O’Shaughnessy Files,” released in January, 2011. He has also written “Mario Cuomo:  Remembrances of a Remarkable Man,” a tribute to his late friend Governor Mario M. Cuomo. His newest book RADIOactive for Fordham University Press, another anthology with interviews, commentaries, speeches and tributesWVOX_logo_final was published in 2019. He is presently working on Townies, a paean to those without wealth, influence or high estate in suburban Westchester County, the heart of the Eastern Establishment.

Contact:

William O’Shaughnessy
wfo@wvox.com

He Is Who He Is – A WO Endorsement

  “He Is Who He Is”

President Trump for President!
A Whitney Global Media Editorial of the Air
Broadcast on WVOX, WVIP and wvox.com
by William O’Shaughnessy, President & Editorial Director

October 23, 2020

We decided long ago that a radio station could be more than a jukebox. And thus we envisioned WVOX as a platform, a forum to let our neighbors discuss the great issues of the day on our community soapbox.

So we’ve sat in front of a microphone at our Westchester studios for damn near 60 years, during which time the loyal listeners of this unique and influential community station have indulged and tolerated our enthusiasms as they were broadcast into the ether via countless editorials and commentaries also heard worldwide on wvox.com. They’ve also been acknowledged, preserved and memorialized in seven well-received volumes by Fordham, the Jesuit University Press.

Our portfolio as the hometown broadcaster in the very heart of the Eastern Establishment gives us a unique, first-hand look at governors, even presidents, as well as local officials. 

As passionate and dedicated stewards of the People’s Business we’ve registered our approval for a great many public servants who strive to improve and ennoble our home heath and the great State of New York, or to elevate our nation to a higher plane. And we’ve also told you about some who were less than stellar.

Over the years we’ve shared our great admiration for Nelson Rockefeller, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Jack Javits, Malcolm Wilson, Hugh Carey, Howard Samuels, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush … and the incomparable Mario Cuomo, of sainted memory. We’ve also learned from personal experience that his son and heir, Andrew Mark Cuomo, would one day make a hell of a president.

Along the way we’ve also sung the essential song of the precious First Amendment and the free speech that results from that magnificent instrument.  And we denounced Abortion and the Death Penalty in every instance.

Closer to home, we’ve also told you of the great many worthy local politicos we admired: Alvin Richard Ruskin, Edwin Gilbert Michaelian, George Latimer, Ernie Davis, Max Berking, Tony Colavita, Andy O’Rourke, Ogden Rogers Reid, Sam Fredman, Bill

Luddy and Nita Lowey.

For President of the United States, we’ve recommended Nelson Rockefeller, Mario M. Cuomo, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, John V. Lindsay and a man named John Anderson.

Some were Democrats.  And some Republicans. Anderson was an Independent. Some might label that inconsistent. The unifying thread is this: We always come down on the side of principles and greatness in the service of our great nation.

Now again – with great respect – we offer our view on the contentious, nasty and mean Presidential Election of 2020.

We’re for President Donald J. Trump.

He is who he is.  Accompanied as he is by a rich admixture of arrogance, egotism and overweening self-confidence, the President is far from perfect. He is dynamite in front of a crowd and loaded with charm, but he’s got no damn “couth,” to be sure.

In his worst moments, President Trump can be boorish, rude, ill-mannered, lacking in civility, refinement or “polish.” He’s never paid attention to the word “decorum.”

But we wouldn’t change a God-Damned Thing about Him!

He is, with all his obvious flaws and rough edges, one of the greatest Presidents of our lifetime!

He’s certainly the most available and accessible president we’ve ever had.  (Perhaps too available and too accessible.)

We don’t like where he is on Fracking … or on the Death Penalty. 

Here is what we do like about his flamboyant and sometimes erratic stewardship. He’s Upbeat … and Inexhaustible … with unlimited Optimism and unbridled Enthusiasm

To those who trumpet the diminution of our standing and stature abroad … we see the exact opposite. Do you not think our foreign enemies, those who don’t wish us well, when they come up against Mr. Trump are not saying … “Don’t mess (I had another word all ready to go) with this guy!”

Trump gave us Judges Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh … and, we hope, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a distinguished scholar, great jurist, and woman of impeccable integrity.

On the fundamental Life Issues alone … we recommend the President, without hesitation, on behalf of those thousands of vulnerable and innocent babies who deserve Life, love, and families who will celebrate the miracle of their existence and the promise of potential that lights up like a beacon pointing toward a better future from the moment of conception – rather than the fate that awaits at abortion clinics.

As the late, and truly great, Pope John Paul II sagely advised his fellow Catholics and citizens of nations the world over, “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”

Also on the Plus Side of the President’s ledger, you have to place his relentless efforts at peacemaking in the Middle East and for persuading European nations to pony up for their own defense. He also knocked out ISIS, which was beheading Americans, before he became Commander in Chief. The peace agreement he brokered between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain is an inspired, stunning piece of diplomacy deserving a Nobel Peace Prize precisely because it’s a signpost toward an enlightened state of existence No Other President has even come close to achieving – a prevailing and lasting peace in the Middle East.

The President also freed us from many unfair foreign trade deals and entanglements through a bold vision and policies that may not be broadly understood but benefit every segment of American Society.

He also gave us a brave and brilliant Attorney General in William Barr who is standing up to street thugs, agitators, rioters, hoodlums and looters. And we now have astute economic advisors in Steve Mnuchin and Larry Kudlow. We’ve also come to admire Vice President Mike Pence who, during the campaign, has shed his automaton-like demeanor. When Pence speaks on Life issues, he does so with clarity, conviction and compassion. Trump has also made it clear he’ll have absolutely no part in discriminating against Catholics.

And with it all … Mr. Trump has rebuilt our Military and strengthened Law Enforcement with solid support for our Police as he tightened up on illegal Immigration. 

He’s damn tough on Iran … where his predecessor conveyed billions to the ayatollahs. He’s also been resolute on behalf of the State of Israel, as we have been for many years.

And you don’t want to be caught pulling down historic statues like those of Christopher Columbus or Winston Churchill or Robert E. Lee when he is in the hood! The President knows, as too many don’t, that attempting to rewrite history through criminal disobedience is nothing but a path to amplifying discord that will reverse the nation’s accomplishments on rights and equality – the opposite of what the protestors seek.

As I’ve said, he’s wrong on Fracking and the Death Penalty. And he ought to take his sons to the woodshed and advise them to cut out their terribly unbecoming “Big Game Hunting” antics. Clearly they need a new hobby.

I’ve told the President he perhaps made a mistake trying to “demonize” his opponent, Joe Biden. All he would have to say, in the unlikely event Mr. Biden should prevail, is that he will come accompanied by Maxine Waters, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, The Squad, Mazie Hirono et al. And by Kamala Harris, who is absolutely going to cause a lot of “trouble” for Mr. Biden. And for the country. Of this we’re sure. He should also ease up on Dr. Anthony Fauci, a great New Yorker and great public servant.

The elites have demeaned and made fun of his followers. But the undeniable truth is that the President connects with The People. We should highlight the hubris of The Left in presuming to declare academics and other approved elites as The People who count, but the President, in a socio-demographic magnanimity that goes uncredited, embraces all of the nation’s People as a true leader should. (He even embraced Chuck and Nancy when there was a brief glimmer they might work constructively for the good of our fine nation and all of its People.)

Our Hispanic friends will tell you Donald Trump has “compechano” which means he is “good-natured, cheerful, genial, frank, open, generous, and comradely,” which explains his great appeal among the “untutored” or, as Hillary called them, “The Deplorables.” And, incidentally, Hispanic support for the Republican is going to surprise you this time.

He has been attacked relentlessly by the Public Press … the worst being MSNBC, whose distinctive “marque” and Mission is to attack, attack, attack the president every day and every night, the worst, most mean-spirited and angry among them being Joy Reed, who replaced the great Chris Matthews. Nicolle Wallace, who once served in the Bush White House, has also climbed on board the attack squad.  Even our beloved New York Times has been piling on almost since the day he was elected. 

Speaking of MSNBC … my mind drifts back to a hazy afternoon long ago as I sat in Costello’s Bar on the East Side with James Earl Breslin, who was in one of his legendary foul moods. Jack Kennedy, his brother Bobby and Martin Luther King had been murdered and Winston Spencer Churchill lay dying (Jimmy had once called him the last great statue of the English language): “Who’s to write about … ” the great writer asked … “except for Mario (Cuomo)?” It now occurs to me that our colleagues at MSNBC – and some over at CNN – had better polish their resumes.  If Trump goes down … it is to be expected that the whole damn lot of them will soon be sitting in a saloon somewhere repeating Breslin’s bleak question: “Who’s to write about … ?”

All the writing about the President is, not inconsequentially, part of Donald’s Trump’s perception problem. A statement of the obvious, you may think, but in fact it’s the opposite. The President’s great achievements in his first term are ignored or diluted by the torrent of trenchant tirades tallying up his tics, his Tweets, and his turnabouts against those who stray from the mission of Making America Great Again. In short, the Press broadly refuses to respect and reflect how brilliantly the President reflects and implements the Will of the People.

And we have always believed all Wisdom resides with The People.

And that’s why … despite the “polls” … WVOX and WVIP confidently and proudly endorse President Donald J. Trump for Re-Election.

As has been our unique custom for five or six decades, we also gladly encourage and broadcast opposing viewpoints via our famous “Open Line” programs and with quite often spirited commentary from those who disagree with me and mine.

So have at it, my friends …

Your turn at the microphone in this presidential election.

This is a Whitney Global Media Editorial of the Air. This is William O’Shaughnessy.

P.S.  We know this will cause some “agita” among many of our friends.

But I mean every damn word of it!

Contact:
Cindy Hall Gallagher
cindy@wvox.com

Rick Buckley – An Appreciation

Rick Buckley came at your with great lineage.  His father Richard Dimes Buckley owned the legendary WNEW of sainted memory all the way back in the days of Arde Bulova, John Jaeger and Bernice Judia. One of young Rick Buckley’s first assignments was to pick out the records to be played on the “Make Believe Ballroom” program. 

The Rick Buckley who slipped away from us on a warm, summer Sunday was himself one of the giants of our tribe.   Although Rick presided over a collection of stations in other states, including the estimable WDRC in Hartford, he will always be remembered as the permittee of the mighty WOR, an urban powerhouse known as one of America’s “heritage” stations which sends its signal throughout the northeast from New York, NY.

In every season Buckley was in love with that notion, subscribed to in these parts, that a radio station achieves its highest calling when it resembles a platform, a forum, for the expression of many different viewpoints.  And for many decades, while so much else was changing in the great city, WOR, never did resemble a jukebox. 

For decades he kept this instrument of communication away from the speculators and absentee owners with a fierceness and relentless devotion that surprised even his friends.  And they were legion.   He saved it harmless even during the allurements and temptations of Consolidation. 

Buckley carried himself with a shyness and a self-effacing wit that endeared him to so many of our colleagues. 

Rick lived like a country squire and had homes in Greenwich and Quogue and out in the desert in California.  And he was quick, this Buckley, to grab a check in every circumstance and venue.  

Just one month ago, Rick Buckley stood in the glow of the lights at The Sagamore in upstate New York before 600 of his colleagues there assembled by Joe Reilly to welcome him into the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame as plaudits and encomiums rained down on the honorees.  Brian Williams … Regis Philbin … Deborah Norville … my friend Joe Reilly and others stepped up to the microphone.   Norville and  Williams did a dazzling turn.  Reilly was superb.  And Regis was, well, Regis.  But the most touching, heartfelt response came off the lips and from the heart of Buckley. 

And no one who heard it will ever forget the words he used to describe his love for the profession he distinguished for 50 years.  And the enormous pride which was his as a result of WOR’s independence, standing and stature.

He also spoke movingly on that summer night on the shores of Lake George of his great love for his family, in whose care and keeping WOR is now entrusted.   So there’s a great sadness in our profession this August morning, a Monday.  But nowhere is that sadness more profound than among those of us who served with Rick on the Board of the Broadcasters Foundation of America.  He was our Treasurer, a member of the Executive Committee and one of our strongest Directors who was unfailingly generous with his wisdom, his counsel and his purse.

The Foundation’s humanitarian mission of helping those for whom life has turned sad and difficult always resonated and had an effect on Buckley.  You could see it in his face as we would review the pleadings and importunings from those unfortunate souls who have fallen through the cracks.

He had a great family.  And when Rick and his dazzling Connie – or his crackerjack daughter Jen – entered the room at one of our events and high councils, you knew something good was coming at you. 

He amplified the voices of the fabled Gambling family, Bob Grant, Mayor Bloomberg, Joan Hamburg and Joey Reynolds.  And WOR, in its best moments, resembles one of the soapboxes favored by street corner orators in London’s fabled Hyde Park Square. While almost every other station in the great city was rocking and rolling, Rick Buckley used his franchise to amplify the disparate voices of his New York neighbors.  Some of them were raucous, many unsettling and a few were even sweet.  And Buckley made it very easy for all sorts and types of people to get on the radio. 

He had absolutely no interest in presiding over a jukebox.  Rather he was powerfully and irresistibly drawn all the days of his life to Vox Populi, the real music of America.  Not a bad legacy.

Re: The Thought Police vs. Facebook and Fox News

Statement by

William O’Shaughnessy

Re:

The Thought Police vs. Facebook and Fox News

June 22, 2020

 

We’re against the Police.

The Thought Police.

When I hear of attempts to intimidate and put pressure on Facebook and other social media platforms as wel as that glorious, old punching bag FOX News … my mind drifts back to similar attempts to stifle and intimidate CBS and other media outlets during a long-ago era. 

In those desperate days, we defended William S. Paley and his colleagues at CBS when Harley O. Staggers, a right of way agent from Mineral County, Virginia wanted to throw Mr. Paley, Frank Stanton and Walter Cronkite … including the elders of my beloved  New York Times … in the slammer.

And now, in 2020, we rise from our Westchester community radio station with its 500 pulsating watts in the Heart of the Eastern Establishment to defend the son and heir of a dentist from Ardsley, New York, a billionaire with a nerdy haircut named Mark Zuckerberg. 

Zuckerberg deserves the same enthusiasm and support from all of us as did Mr. Paley of sainted memory and his rich friends Jock Whitney, Walter Nelson Thayer and Ogden Rogers Reid who collaborated – with the help of Broadcasting magazine and Variety – to shut down Mr. Staggers on the floor of the House of Representatives. 

The Thought Police are not threatening a jail cell for Mr. Zuckerberg (yet). But they are trying to intimidate him by bringing pressure on his advertisers. 

So we stand with Zuckerberg. And those who want to intimidate The Dentist’s Son ought to think long and hard before they stifle Free Speech.

We plead for the same protections for Mr. Zuckerberg that we demanded for our own colleagues Rush Limbaugh, Don Imus, Bill O’Reilly, Howard Stern, Bob Grant, Billy Bush, et al.

Speaking of which …we also have to again be on full battle alert against those holier-than-thou corporate geniuses on Madison Avenue presently threatening Tucker Carlson’s opinions and his livelihood. But in that predictable instance they’ll also have to tangle with the formidable Rupert Murdoch and his son and heir Lachlan, who need no prompting to stay the course against the economic crosshairs of the censors as they have in London and Australia for many years.  

The Supreme Court ruled in Packingham v. North Carolina that social-media platforms are the new “public square” and access to them are protected by our cherished and essential First Amendment. 

And a federal appeals court ruled that a Facebook “Like” is indeed a form of expression and that clicking a “Like” button is a protected form of speech. The courts have also looked with hostility and lack of enthusiasm on the use of speech which encourages force, fraud or defamation. And we quite agree. 

But the rest of it, in all its unpleasantness, raucous vulgarity, imprecision, and even meanness must be protected. 

Some many years ago we published a poster with the help of Mario Cuomo and some other First Amendment voluptuaries. 

Free Speech

 

 

Contact:
William O’Shaughnessy
wfo@wvox.com
914-235-3279