In which I agree with Kirk Dillard
Tuesday, Jan 21, 2014
* More from the Tribune’s coverage of yesterday’s WTTW GOP candidate forum…
Dillard’s response was his usual “tell your audience what they want to hear” goofiness, but I actually agree with him. I wanted to be on that show so badly when I was young. You knew you’d made it if you were on the show. I was a total devotee.
So after I started my company and the call finally came in the 1990s, I eagerly jumped at the chance. That was in the old days, when the sainted John Callaway was still hosting and the show had a big enough budget to fly me to Meigs Field and pick up my car fare to the studio.
When I moved to Chicago, Phil Ponce kept me coming back on the show as a semi-regular. I never got over the thrill of walking into that studio, even when I grew a bit tired of being used whenever they needed somebody to whack George Ryan. Whatever. I felt like I was near the center of the Chicago political universe.
* And I learned a lot of “tricks” along the way, mainly by forcing myself to watch my appearances over and over again. It wasn’t a pleasant experience at first, but I figured out some stuff that helped improve my future performances.
The first thing to keep in mind is that everything moves fast so you have to jump in whenever you possibly can or the show will be over before you know it. I was on the program during Dan Rutherford’s first ever appearance, and we went out to dinner in Korea Town afterwards where he marveled at how 20 minutes (or whatever it was) just flew by.
And, between us, here’s a little secret I told Rutherford back then: The director will almost always cut to a shot of you if you react to somebody else’s comment. So a shake of the head, a smirk, a little chuckle, a frown, a smile, or whatever seems appropriate can slyly undermine an opponent’s argument, and they won’t even know what hit them unless they watch the show later.
* I used to need all that stuff. And I mean need it. At one point, the station put up a photo of myself and my buddy Carlos Hernandez Gomez in the main lobby and the two of us were beyond ecstatic. I eventually found myself becoming upset if I didn’t get the call to discuss a hot topic. I had totally bought in to the hype.
Eventually, I realized I shouldn’t let that effect me so much, and then I finally realized that I could leave Chicago and not worry about such things any more.
But, I gotta tell ya, sometimes I really miss walking into that studio.