Talking the Talk on the BBC

By Eric K. Williams

An old broadcast buddy of mine invited me along to be his guest on the BBC Radio 5 Live network program called, UP ALL NIGHT. It was an interesting, and quite funny, ‘back and forth’ exchange between Mark Riley, his London BBC host, Dotun Adebayo, and yours truly. A much needed bit of relief following what had been a heavy week for me, with the death of my colleague and friend, Robert Knight.

Dotun Adebayo is one funny and engaging man, I found out. He kept Mark and I on our toes with his pokes, and jabbing-in-the-ribs line of questioning. He started out by asking Mark about the gentleman who had dropped over $135K in four short visits to a notorious Manhattan strip club. Zyad Kivarkis Younan, a New Jersey-based cardiologist, had failed to pay his one hundred thirty thousand dollar plus tab. He claimed he was drugged, but what raised eyebrows is the fact that the guy had visited SCORES, the establishment in question, four times in a ten day span. Drugged??!!

The NYPD’s Twitter campaign that backfired was a point of interest. The exercise in social media outreach, the police attempt to get ‘feel good’ photos of tourists posing with cops alongside horses turned. A few such poses did make their way to their twitter site, but it was followed by a plethora of photos displaying acts of police brutality. Such photos outnumbered the positive encounters the cops, and William Bratton, the sitting police commissioner, was clearly looking for here. Too much! Not many cop / smiling tourist photos with pony’s on tap to share….

Speaking of horses, well, Dotun wanted to talk about the current controversy in New York over the horse drawn-drawn carriages in Central Park. Bill de Blasio, New York’s Mayor, wants to abolish the century old industry that has proved to be a major tourist draw. While 64 per cent of city residents oppose banning the carriages, according to a January Quinnipiac college poll conducted this year, Mayor de Blazio may not get much traction of public support on this one. Stay tuned.

The hour-long sit down was a lively, funny, and entertaining chat. We touched on a number of other subjects about the world of New York that makes this one worth a listen. Mark Riley is a man I have not seen in years. We were colleagues at one of the major commercial stations in the Big Apple. He was the Big Boss, Program Director, at WLIB-AM 1190, the sister station of the one time dominant WBLS-FM 107.5. The two stations were formally part of the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation chain, during my eight year stint there in the 1990’s. It was great to see him again, and an honor for me to be asked to sit-in with him to talk about New York. I do hope to get invited back for another sit down with Mark, and Dotun, or his next London-based host, at the BBC.

So, sit back and get ready for a few laughs. Humor and an ironic look at the world around us, is some much needed medicine in these uncertain times.