The Contender

A WVOX and WVIP Commentary
by William O’Shaughnessy
March 26, 2015

The brilliant Vanity Fair contributor Michael Shnayerson has written a much heralded book The Contender about Andrew Cuomo which comes out next week.

Everyone awaits Mr. Snayerson’s findings re:  the Governor.  Meanwhile, here are some lovely recent descriptions of New York State’s chief executive compliments of the local media:

Andrew Mark Cuomo is tough, blunt, obsessive, intense, driven, ambitious, dour, controlled, controlling, impatient, abrupt, cantankerous, inscrutable, difficult, brittle, sensitive, formidable, aggressive, self-confident, pragmatic, competitive, tense, distant, acerbic, fixated, reclusive, private, combative, workmanlike, prodigious, relentless, goal-oriented, tactically astute, strategically brilliant, mechanical, adept at stagecraft, sharp-elbowed, parochial, not cosmic, centrist, business-like, strong, does whatever it takes, makes it happen, disdains rhetoric, prizes results, honest (per Mario himself) and straight as they come (also per Mario), bright, powerful, effective, taut, dynamic, suspicious, guarded and shrewd.

As you may have noticed, Andrew Cuomo has been called All of The Above by our colleagues in the public press.

But to all of these descriptions and appellations must fairly be added:  brave and courageous (as witness his fracking ban … tough gun control laws … same sex marriage … reining in the teachers unions … property tax freeze … estate tax reduction).

And one thing more.  He is a son of Mario Cuomo.  And in his best moments, Andrew resembles Mario Cuomo and can inspire, motivate  and encourage … as he did so memorably,  gracefully and beautifully at his late father’s funeral             Mass in New York City.

No one knows the levers of government like Andrew. He’s a brilliant tactician.  And he’s had to be a tough guy to clean up the detritus left over from the Spitzer-Paterson era. 

But now … now he’s got to start to “reveal” more of himself as he did praying over his father in that Jesuit Church on Park Avenue on January 6th, 2015.

He’s come this far by being a no-nonsense, eminently practical, Clintonesque, mechanic.

But if he’s going to go beyond the sturm und drang and minutiae of governance here in New York State … he’s got to once more be Mario Cuomo’s son and heir.  He has that ability.

And like his father of sainted memory … Andrew can inspire.

He hears the music.  He’s got the stature, the cadence, the rhythm, the passion, the genes … if he will but give more of himself.

Andrew is great at the prose.

Now it’s time for some poetry.

And music …

He could yet be a president.  And a great one.



William O’Shaughnessy

WO Statement re: Hon. Ernie Davis Sentencing

“I know that – in the heat of the moment – he may have called our colleagues in the public press ‘gangsters’ …

But I remain convinced that Ernie Davis is a good, kind and decent man and that rare political figure who really cares about people.

Although the year of Probation will be a burden on this 76-year old man … it’s nothing at all compared to locking him up for the omissions and mistakes to which he pled. 

Judge Davison has rendered his decision with great wisdom and compassion.  And Mayor Davis’ friends and admirers – and I am among them – thank His Honor for his empathy and understanding in a very difficult case concerning, as the Judge found, ‘a first offender on two misdemeanor counts.’

Having observed Westchester and New York State public officials for over 50 years – I remain convinced that Ernie Davis is possessed of a great and good heart and a deep and abiding love for the people of his beloved Mount Vernon.

As I previously indicated to Judge Davison:  ‘I’ve constantly observed, with great sadness, that men and women of real quality will not submit to the rigors of public service. But there are exceptions like Ernie Davis’.”         



William O’Shaughnessy

914-235-3279     914-980-7003

“Colonel” Marty Rochelle


“Colonel” Marty Rochelle
A WVOX and WVIP Commentary
By William O’Shaughnessy
November 24, 2014

One of Westchester’s most beguiling and colorful characters passed away over the weekend.  Marty Rochelle left after 78 years and with his departure everything becomes duller, flatter and less vibrant.  The fun is taken right out of our humdrum, every day existence here in the county.

He was out of Damon Runyon and Ring Lardner.  Jimmy Cannon could also have written of him. To no one’s surprise at all, “Colonel” Marty Rochelle, as he was known far and wide, came out of Yonkers … where true love conquers.  I mean he had to come from Yonkers.  For you could never place him in Bedford or Rye or Pound Ridge for very long.  And certainly never in Bronxville or Waccabuc. 

At about 325 pounds, he was (no pun intended) the biggest bail bondsman on the entire Eastern Seaboard, which line of work brought Mr. Martin Rochelle into almost constant daily contact with criminals, crooks and deadbeats just as soon as they were about to become “defendants.”  As the pre-eminent bail bondsman of his time, that’s what he did for a living.  He would bail them out.  He would spring them.  And in this endeavor it helps if you know the judge.

Marty Rochelle knew the judge.  Every judge.  He also knew every law clerk, every secretary, every marshal who keeps order in every courtroom.  The range and weight and depth of his Rolodex matched his ample girth.

And, if you can believe it, he was a real, actual colonel in the Air National Guard (New York State really does have one) which is where the “Colonel” comes from.  That’s what our fellows at WVOX called him when he arrived, always several hours early, for his weekly radio program bearing two dozen Dunkin Donuts – one dozen for himself, of course, and one for the studio engineers and staff.  I know of this because – full disclosure – he always brought a butternut covered donut for me.  “Don’t touch that one … it’s for the boss!”

He would also come accompanied by the very latest behind-the-scenes political gossip often mixed with rip-roaring tales of wrong-doing and skullduggery in just about every city hall in Westchester.  He just knew of all these things.

But his specialty was the courthouse.  And he knew every judge who ever donned a black robe to go up and sit in a courtroom under the “In God We Trust” sign.  And there wasn’t one jurist or magistrate who wouldn’t come off the bench to take his call.

Recent years were not kind to this marvelous old character who was in and out of many hospitals as he fought what Mario Cuomo and the great Jesuit philosopher Teilhard de Chardin call “the diminishments” we all suffer.  It’s a great word:  diminishments. And yet despite those diminishments and infirmities, Marty Rochelle kept going.  First with a cane.  Then with a walker.  He did his last few radio shows from a hospital room propped up on a pillow raging into the phone as usual.  And I do seem to recall him calling out His Honor, the Chief Judge of the entire Court of Appeals, the highest judicial tribunal in our State, for some “error” – real or imagined – that didn’t sit quite right with Colonel Marty.  He could do this and get away with it because all the judges loved him.

And if they didn’t actually “love” him, well, they knew that when they next had to submit to the nasty and altogether unpleasant rigors of re-election to keep their standing and high estate in the judicial system, they knew that the man who knows everybody would be right there to tell any and all who would listen just exactly what great judges he knew them to be.

Marty was also capable of delivering an extra line or two on the ballot come Election day, which prowess also no doubt commended him to the favorable judgment of a most grateful magistrate or two over the years.

If you doubt the man had real clout and influence … I will leave you only with an actual scene just last year at the White Plains hospital … when one evening during visiting hours Marty’s hospital room was filling up like a political convention.  And according to several who were there assembled by his bedside on that very night … the head nurse burst in at one point and said, “You’re only supposed to have two visitors at any one time. … there are 10 people in the room … we can’t have this!”

Colonel Marty looked up from his bed and said, very politely:  “Ma’am …  six of them are supreme court justices … two are county criminal court judges … and the other two are family court judges.  Who do you want me to throw out?”  The nurse retreated and the “party” went on.

There will be many Marty Rochelle stories told at the Riverside Chapel in Mount Vernon on Wednesday and in every courthouse south of Albany.  But the little “gathering” up in White Plains that night is my favorite.

The man had his “enthusiasms” during the 78 years he pumped life and energy into his profession and Westchester itself.  Among them were the casinos of Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Foxwoods and the Bahamas for he was a gamblin’ man. But his favorite venue for games of chance of an evening was always Tim Rooney’s Empire City right in Marty’s home heath at Yonkers Raceway.   “They’re honest people, the Rooneys … you really have a shot there!”

Marty also loved Jeanine Pirro and he never gave up on “Judge Jeanine” even after she dumped everyone in the old neighborhood and went on to FOX News to display her famous lips and toned arms, among her other attributes. 

He also would not permit anyone to do injury to this community radio station or its inhabitants – even divorce lawyers.  Especially divorce lawyers.  And as my mind drifts back through the hundreds of conversations we had, usually over those damn fattening donuts, I can’t recall him ever saying anything really mean or hurtful about any of those who inhabit the judicial world which he knew so well or the body politic.

We can’t really afford to lose too many Marty Rochelle types around here.

Because, like I said, only dullness will prevail … everywhere.

I just hope Saint Peter likes Dunkin Donuts.

But don’t give him the butternut, Marty.  Save that one for me.

This is a Whitney Media commentary.  This is Bill O’Shaughnessy.











Winter Notes 2014

“In the midst of winter … I found within myself an invincible summer.”

                                                                                                    – – – Albert Camus


I’ve always loved the quote.  And now as I sit at my desk on this January day struggling to pull together my fifth book (another anthology), I shake off the cold weather blues by reflecting on just how lucky I am. 

I’ve written previously of the good fortune which has accompanied me in every season of my already long life … even during the turmoil and chaos of recent years.

Happy Rockefeller once told me:  “Good friends rally round when life turns sad and difficult.”  And Mario Cuomo advised me recently to “sweep away the rubble …”  But I can’t discard my gratitude to some wonderful individuals whose encouragement and friendship sustained me during the travails of the last several years.

You will recognize a lot of familiar, if disparate, types among these good souls.   But every single one of them went out of their way to do something nice for me and mine at least once.  But I must admit I taxed the friendship of a great many on an almost daily basis.

As I consider my good fortune and tally up my blessings … there are, to be sure, some others.  But these are the ones whose generosity I’ll remember. 

I’m grateful for their kindness in any season …

And I don’t forget …

Cindy Adams … Roger Ailes … Ahmet Aloqui … Eleanor Alter, Esq. … Gregorio Alvarez … Joe Amaturo … Joe Apicella … David Aronson, Esq. … Michael Assaf … Rob Astorino … Fabio Avendano … Jon Ballin … Vanessa Battle … Special Agent Charles Beaudoin …Joseph Berger … Kara Bennorth … Henry Berman … Judge Jeffrey Bernbach … Karen Dobbis Bernbach … Jerry Biggins … Robert Blau … Carol Bobrowsky … Dr. David Breindel … Gerardo Bruno … Colin Burns, Sr. … Billy Bush … Jonathan Bush … Dr. Steven Butensky … John Cahill … Suzanne Calabrese … Kylie & Louis Cappelli … Father Michael Carnevale, OFM … Peter Carpenter … Commissioner Pat Carroll … John Catsimatidis … Lachlan Cartwright … Trooper Matt Cashman … Chuck Castleberry … Father Joe Cavoto, OFM … Guillaume Chamot-Rooke … Jody Chesnov … Jennifer & Douglas Clement … Maria Cuomo Cole … David Patrick Columbia … Judge Matthew Cooper … Tim Corvo, Esq. … Jerry Cummins … Bill Cunningham … Jim Cunningham … Governor Andrew Mark Cuomo … Governor Mario M. Cuomo … Matilda Raffa Cuomo … Cynthia Foster Curry … Tony Damiani … Mayor Ernie Davis … Robert Davis … Lydia Devine, Esq. … Fred Dicker … Judge Tom Dickerson … Fiorita & Michael DiLullo … Joey DiMarco … Chief Lou DiMeglio … Abramo DiSpirito … Timothy Cardinal Dolan … David Donovan … Jimmy The Doorman … Jose The Doorman …  Judge Ann Dranginis … Bruno Dussin … Dr. Fritz Ehlert … Dr. Marc Sabin Eisenberg … Kevin Scott Elliott … Lee Elman … Ambassador Edward Elliot Elson … Frank Endress … Judge Saralee Evans … Erica Farber … Michael Fasano, Esq. … Tony Federici … Steve Fisher … Dick Foreman … Joe Fosina … Justice Samuel George Fredman … Judy Fremont … Scott Fybush … Cindy Hall Gallagher … Dr. Tom Gallagher … Ambassador Charles Gargano … Leon Geller … Christine Gemelli … Jim Generoso … Simoni Gentile … Raul Geraldo … Edward “Ned” Gerritty … Gary Gerstein … Judge Charles Gill … Marla Golden … Marty Goldsmith … Terry Golway … Shari Gordon, Esq. … Jeff Greenberg … Rich Guberti … Jo Hallingby … Ron Harris … Michael Harrison … Graham Hastedt … Donald Hayde, Esq. … Cynthia Hayes … John Hennessy … Billy Herman, Esq. … Luis Hernandez … Maggie Hernandez … Debbie Hield … Trooper Jim Holm … Judy Huntington … Billy Jacobs … Joan Jedell … Richard Johnson … Robert Johnson … Thomas Johnson … Dr. Bob Jones … Charlie Kafferman … Larry Kaiser … Noel Kane … Mel Karmazin … John Kelly … William Kennedy … Mike Kinosian … Hon. Henry Kissinger … Ralph Kragle … Erwin Krasnow, Esq. … Cappy LaBarbera … Senator George Latimer … Franco Lazzari … Mike Licalzi … Philip Lombardo … Salvatore Lombardi … Egidiana Maccioni … Marco Maccioni … Mario Maccioni … Mauro Maccioni … Sirio Maccioni … Alec MacGillis …  Kevin Mackin, OFM … Ed Mancuso … John Mara …  Carl Marcucci … Charles Masson … Michaele McCarthy … Brian McCormick, Esq. … Kevin Barry McGrath, Esq.  … John McKenna … Patrick McMullan … Paolo Middei … Barbara & Joseph Migliucci … Faith Miller, Esq. … Judge Sondra Miller … Mark Miller … Suzi Mion … Dr. Sandy Mirabile … Jay Mitchell … Wendy Moger-Bross … Joe Mondello … Tom Mullen … Betty Ann Mummert … Dan Murphy … Deborah & Declan Murphy … Mark Murphy … Ryan Murphy … Ted Murphy … Fred Nachbauer … Joe Napolitano … Jimmy Neary … Ambassador Edward Noonan Ney … Judy Ney … Vu Nguyen … Julian Niccolini … Margaret Noonan … Deborah Norville & Karl Wellner … Ken Norwick, Esq. … Amelia Nulty … Flynn Nulty … Tucker Nulty … Dr. Joseph Nyre … Anita Oken … Ellen & Ray Oneglia … Bill O’Neill … Cara Ferrin O’Shaughnessy … Coco O’Shaughnessy … David Tucker O’Shaughnessy … Isabel O’Shaughnessy … Julie Ascenzo O’Shaughnessy … Kate Wharton O’Shaughnessy … Lacey O’Shaughnessy … Lily O’Shaughnessy … Matthew Thayer O’Shaughnessy … James O’Shea … Phyllis Steves & Bob Partridge … Gregg Pavelle … Alina Pedroso … Dr. Paul Pellicci … Joe Percoco … Al Pirro, Esq. … Judge Jeanine Pirro … Kathy & Dr. Rich Pisano … Ray Planell … Caryl Donnelly Plunkett … Kevin Plunkett … William Plunkett … Postmaster Vincent Polacco … Mary Porcelli … Dr. Ken Porter … Assemblyman Gary Pretlow … Dominic Procopio … Doug Quinn …  Dan Rather … Ambassador Ogden Rogers Reid …  Joe Reilly … Phil Reisman … Elva Amparo Reynoso … Eric Rhoads … Dan Ribicoff … Anthony Riccardi … Murray Richman, Esq. … Judge Vincent Rippa … Col. Marty Rochelle … Joseph “Jim” Rocco … Tim Rooney, Sr. … Cristina Rose … Janine Rose … Alan Rosenberg … Marjorie Rubin … Gianni Russo … Constable Pete Russo … Ed Ryan … Dr. Steven Safyer …  Emilia St. Amand … Joao “Bamboo” Santos … Steve Savino … Mike Scully … Judge Judy Sheindlin … Judge Alan Scheinkman … Michele Silva Thomas, Esq. … John Sterling …  Liz Bracken Thompson … Geoff Thompson … Mark Simone … Barry Slotnick, Esq. … Emily Smith … Jan Johnson Smith … Liz Smith … John Spicer … General Joe Spinelli … Rob Speyer… Renee & Stuart Stengel … Don Stevens … Gayle Stevenson … Chuck Strome … Howard Sturman … Laurie & Rob Taishoff … Joan & Val Taubner … Tom Taylor … Steve Tenore … Ann Wharton Thayer … Janet & Wes Tilden … Jonathan Tisch … Father Robert Tucker … Irma Valencia … Jesus Valencia … Charles Valenti … John Valenti … Sean Vokhshoorzadeh … Alex Von Bidder … Ron Vuy … Mario Edwardo Wainer … Sabrina Wender … Ed Whitman … Bud Williamson … Rabbi Amiel Wohl … Greg Wright … Francis X. Young … Zahir Ziani … William Zimmerman … Guliano Zuliani … Todd Zuzullo.  

I still love that “invincible summer” line.  But before summer comes spring.

Pitchers and catchers report next week.

# # #

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.  He operates two of the last independent stations in the New York area: WVOX and WVIP.

He is the author of “AirWAVES” (1999) … “It All Comes Back to Me Now” (2001) … “More Riffs, Rants and Raves” (2004) … “VOX POPULI: The O’Shaughnessy Files” was released in January, 2011.  He is currently working on his fifth book for Fordham University Press, an anthology which will include this piece.


More on Election 2013 …

More on Election 2013 …
A Whitney Media Editorial of the Air
by William O’Shaughnessy
broadcast October 30, 2013

The race for County Executive is not the only game in town this Election season … tawdry, off-kilter and bewildering though it is.

Indeed there are several other important choices which will confront our listeners on Election Day.

The first matter at hand when you are firmly and securely ensconced in the intimacy of the election booth will be to choose from among ten who aspire to only five seats on the Supreme Court of the State of New York.  WVOX and WVIP recommend to your favorable consideration the following three candidates:  First, and by far, the most sensible choice will be Mr. Justice Daniel Angiolillo, who presently sits as a Supreme Court Justice on the important Appellate Division in Brooklyn.  Judge Angiolillo is a wonderful man of great probity and patience.  He is eminently qualified and deserving of re-election.

Two other judicial candidates who we pray will earn your favor are Judge John Colangelo who served ably and with great distinction here in the City Court of New Rochelle.  Also Mr. Justice John Sweeny.  Judge Sweeny is well known in the northern counties.  He’s based in Putnam County and we hear only very good things about His Honor.  He also sits on an Appellate court.

Judge Angiolillo and Judge Sweeny are Republicans.  Judge Colangelo is a Democrat.  We hope you will bless the candidacy of these three outstanding jurists. 

Why is this important, you wonder?  “The true administration of Justice is the firmest pillar of good government.” That’s the memorable phrase etched forever on the facade of the great Courthouse in Foley Square in lower Manhattan.  It should be etched in our memory as we carefully consider our judicial selections.   That’s why it’s important.  And that’s why these candidates are important:  Angiolillo … Colangelo … and Sweeny.                         

Another candidate we would recommend for your favorable consideration is Tim Idoni who presently serves as County Clerk.  He’s a Democrat.  And a great public servant who served as mayor of New Rochelle and has completely revised and reinvigorated the unglamorous, but important, Office of County Clerk.  Tim Idoni has impressed damn near everyone with his management style and dedication.  Include us among his many admirers. 

Finally, there are three very superior, very worthy candidates for the County Board of Legislators who deserve more than a brief shout-out.  Jim Maisano, the dynamic, indefatigable Minority Leader is everywhere apparent in our district.  He’s been a very skillful consensus builder and a shrewd strategist and parliamentarian who merits your enthusiastic support. 

And, incidentally, we share Leader Maisano’s confidence in his colleague Legislator Sheila Marcotte who serves Eastchester and the north end of New Rochelle diligently and well. 

And we can’t but very confidently endorse and urge the election of John Verni to the County Board.  Verni is the scion of a great Westchester family.  He has admirers in both major political parties for his business acumen, his leadership at Iona Prep and his selfless volunteer efforts for countless organizations.  Plus he’s one smart lawyer – (but don’t hold that against him!).  John Verni, we can absolutely assure our listeners, will be a stand-out from the get-go on the County Board.  He’s a solid, balanced individual.  And we can all be glad a fellow like Mr. Verni will not be deterred by the rigors of politics and will actually take the time to enter the arena of public service.

And one more.  There’s a very dynamic – and highly intelligent – woman running for Town Justice up in Cortland.  We’ve long admired attorney Shari Gordon for her work within the legal Establishment and on college campuses.  Shari Gordon has become a role model for women who aspire to a judicial career.  She’s bright and smart.   And you can do your friends up-county a favor by telling them of her attributes.  Shari Gordon is a Democrat.  She’ll make a fine judge.



Cindy Gallagher
Whitney Media

Noam Bramson’s Hometown Station Endorses Astorino!

Astorino for County Executive
A Whitney Media Editorial of the Air
by William O’Shaughnessy
broadcast October 29, 2013

Despite what you’ve heard … we are endorsing Noam Bramson … for Congress!

We’re sorry.  But Noam Bramson has been running a “Congressional Campaign” from the get go.  Young Mr. Bramson, I tell you, has all the Kennedy-esque moves.  All the gestures.  The pace.  The cadence. The rhythm.  All the Harvard elocution.  He’s got the moves.

But. But downtown New Rochelle, with rare exception (a few good restaurants, an art gallery, a couple of jewelry stores) is essentially all “dollar” stores and a for-profit college owned by out-of-towners.  For you see Mayor Bramson has practically turned over most of our faded and beleaguered downtown to Monroe College and the Jerome family’s forprofit empire.  And he’s trying to jam that ill-conceived Echo Bay so-called “development” down everyone’s throat.  But the concerned, sensible residents of his city are asking what the hell Forest City Ratner has ever done for New Rochelle!  We can answer that:  absolutely nothing

We’ve been at the People’s Business for 50 years, ladies and gentlemen … covering politics and government here in Westchester … and we’ve had Mayor Bramson at this microphone often during his tenure as our part-time mayor.  He’s articulate.  He talks a very good game of policy-speak.  But he’s gone missing during his recent bewildering “Congressional Campaign.” 

Noam Bramson is precocious.  He’s brilliant.  And he lets everyone know it.  He’s a policy wonk very much at ease with the jargon of governance and lingo of text book public policy. 

But the Westchester county executive is supposed to run the damn county parks, the county parkways, the county police.  And preside over the 1.7 billion dollar county budget.  Mr. Astorino does that all with great skill and sound judgment. 

Our friends at the Journal News have blessed Mr. Bramson’s lofty aspirations … saying he offers a “holistic” approach.  With all due respect, I’m not sure what the hell that means (we’re sure our friend Phil Reisman, their star feature columnist, didn’t write that Holy Holistic headline!)  Have it as you will, we believe Rob Astorino offers a sensible, prudent, common sense approach to regional, local government.

Mr. Bramson has shoveled hundreds of thousands of dollars down to Washington, DC consultants and political gurus in the state of Virginia.  But he has almost completely ignored local media – the local newspapers, and indeed, our local radio stations.  There’s no question he’s shooting for the big time. He’s really … running … for Congress.  And it was ever thus. 

Indeed, Mr. Bramson has even ignored the elders of his own Democratic Party in Westchester.  No, like I said, I think our mayor is shooting for bigger fish.  He wants to go National.  We don’t think he’s at all interested in this job of Westchester County Executive.

We go all the way back in this county to Edwin Gilbert Michaelian, the legendary county executive of sainted memory.  The county office building is named after Mr. Michaelian.  He was a wonderful man.  And a great county executive.  So too was Andy O’Rourke who we lost just recently after a long, distinguished career in public service.  Rob Astorino is cut from the same bi-partisan, sensible cloth as Michaelian and O’Rourke. 

Astorino is also astute and smart enough to repair to the wise counsel of some very intelligent individuals who know Westchester well … such as his deputy Kevin Plunkett and Kevin’s estimable brother William Plunkett … as well as John Cahill, who, indeed, ran the State of New York at one time as chief of staff to a former governor … whereas Mr. Bramson seems to have wrapped himself in the bosom of those paid gun political strategists from Arlington, Virginia and Washington, D.C. who see big things for him.  But the bottom line is:  Noam Bramson is … notagoodfit … for this job.

We’re sorry but guns and abortion are national issues.  And so is gay marriage.  And while we’re at it, it’s one thing to say you’re Pro Choice.  Everybody should be Pro Choice.  A state can’t legislate where it has no power, that is, in a woman’s body.  But, in the very next breath, we think you’ve got to say how horrible and vulgar and violent abortion is.   We haven’t heard that from Noam Bramson.

On his record, on the issues that should count in this race, Mr. Astorino has been, in fact, a very brave and able executive.  He’s taken bold and, at the same time, prudent, sensible steps to curb the excesses and sweep away the rubble of the Spano years.  And he’s done it all thoughtfully and carefully and fairly.

The battered and discredited national GOP in Washington can certainly take a lesson from our enlightened Republican county executive.  He’s reached across the aisle and actually cooperated with (God-forbid) Democrats.

Astorino has worked especially well with our Westchester neighbor Governor Andrew Cuomo in whom we are so well pleased.  And, in case anyone failed to notice – the Governor, in what was supposed to be a huge, momentous endorsement of Mayor Bramson last weekend … opted instead to just do a perfunctory “shout-out” to Rockland and Westchester Democratic candidates in general. 

And say what you will about wily Bill Clinton.  He’s not stupid.  And Bill Clinton’s so-called “endorsement” of Mr. Bramson was along the same lines.  (Anyway, we think he endorsed Mr. Bramson.  It’s “rumored” that he did anyway).  But notice that no members of the press were allowed to witness the grand event.  Not one.  In fact, the media was summarily banned from the proceedings (something that was very pointedly noted by News 12’s great Janine Rose during the recent debate).

Now despite the outstanding job he’s been doing, Astorino has some formidable obstacles.  He’s got registration numbers against him.  Westchester, in case you haven’t noticed, is heavily Democratic.  He’s most likely got my beloved New York Times against him.  He’s certainly got our friends at “Mother Gannett” – the Journal News – against him.  And to his great credit, he’s got shy, modest retiring Senator Chuck Schumer against him. 

Rob Astorino has also had a lot of endorsements.  But he’s going to have one more.  Were very pleased to announce this morning that WVOX and WVIP are endorsing Mr. Astorino, the very able and dedicated … Republican and Conservative candidate for County Executive of Westchester.

We’re glad to stand with Mr. Astorino. 

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



Cindy Gallagher

William O’Shaughnessy Remarks re: Page Morton Black



William O’Shaughnessy

Memorial Service


Page Morton Black

Frank E. Campbell Chapel

New York City

September 12, 2013



I won’t intrude for very long on your September afternoon.

Thank you, Robin Elliott, for gathering so many influential friends of an extraordinary woman.

Many of you knew her as a great philanthropist of national renown for her leadership of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation which was founded by her beloved husband William Black.  Others remember Page as a gifted artist who could play and sing achingly romantic songs like an angel.

She lived for decades in a grand house in what the Times referred to as an “enclave” off the coast of New Rochelle.  It was aptly named Premium Point.

It was from this redoubt that she conducted her own personal philanthropy and raised millions for national charitable causes.

Also among her enthusiasms, I’m proud to recall, was our community radio station.  She would dispatch missives, suggestions (actually “directives”) to me and mine, often about the great issues of the day.  She backed the more enlightened politicians (when such existed) and she put her money where her heart was.

Like, for instance, during the broadcast celebrating the 50th anniversary of the natal day of WVOX.  It was a very big day for us.  And as I went in the studio, settled in behind the mike, and strapped on my earphones, I inquired of the engineer who the “sponsors” were.  There were, of course, the local banks and car dealers, a few restaurants. And one more: Page Morton Black.

When I later asked why she was so nice to our little 500 watt flamethrower of a radio station, Page said, “Many years ago the Herald Tribune gave me a flattering review.  That was long before I met William Black.  And you married the boss’s daughter.  Didn’t you marry Jock Whitney’s daughter?”

I replied:  “Not exactly, Mrs. Black.  I married a wonderful girl named Ann Thayer, whose father, Walter Nelson Thayer, was president of the Trib …”

And she said:  “Well, it was a great review anyway!”

Truth to tell, I’m not sure that speaks well of the station. But it does confirm those qualities of loyalty, generosity and friendship – as well as an unfailing memory – which others have long attributed to Page.

Her iconic red dress has also been mentioned.  The first time I saw it was many years ago when a big limo pulled up to the station and a lady in red, the Lady in Red, got out and handed an envelope to our receptionist.  “Here … Mr. O’Shaughnessy will know what to do with this.”  It was a political contribution for a young, aspiring Italian fellow – actually a failed baseball player with too many vowels in his name – Mario Cuomo.

I hope I don’t do damage to her reputation by telling this story in front of all you Manhattan Republicans.  I’m a “Rockefeller-Catsimatidis Republican” myself.  And it’s nice to see John and Margo here, none the worse for wear.  As well as Len Berman.  And the legendary Sy Presten … great New Yorkers, as Page was. And these proceedings are enhanced by the presence of Patty and Joe Forgione from our home heath.

And so we are here today to remember a Lady who touched so many during her long life of 97 years.  I will now mercifully yield with just one more small story about Page. 

Several of her friends here assembled and all the obits carrying the sad news of her passing mentioned the “Chock full o’ Nuts” song. And every year on her birthday, we would play that damn jingle.  And one year, after we had played it three times … she called up and asked if we had played it yet.  The engineer on duty said “Yes, Ma’am, Mrs. Black … three times.”  She said, “Well, I missed it this year … do you think you could indulge an old dame and play it just one more time?”

You can be sure we did.

So I’m afraid people will remember Page and that damn jingle for years to come.

And you’ll remember her great philanthropy and relentless generosity.

Have it as you will … I’ll remember her as a neighbor.

Please don’t hold it against her then … that she had a soft spot for failed baseball players … or Irish broadcasters.

She was a hell of a dame. 

And her lovely music as a generous, engaged and thoughtful neighbor lingers.

In every key.  In every chord.  In every tempo.

And, like I said, in the neighborhood … where we will miss her.

But never forget her.

Play something nice for Bill, Page.

And have a sweet song ready for us … 

# # #

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.  He operates two of the last independent stations in the New York area: WVOX and WVIP.

He is the author of “AirWAVES” (1999) … “It All Comes Back to Me Now” (2001) … “More Riffs, Rants and Raves” (2004) … “VOX POPULI: The O’Shaughnessy Files” was released in January, 2011.  He is currently working on his fifth book for Fordham University Press, an anthology which will include this tribute to Page Morton Black.



William O’Shaughnessy


Cindy Gallagher

Whitney Media