Veteran, award-winning radio journalist Peter King offers his thoughts about some colleagues who were casualties in a recent series of cutbacks and buyouts by CBS Radio News.
“They weren’t just journalists,” he said. “They were and still are friends and mentors.” he said.
There has been much written on FB and other media about the cutbacks and buyouts at CBS Radio News last week. There is a lot of misinformation out there but I am not going to address that, nor the merits or lack of for the changes. I think all of us wish they hadn’t happened because we’ve lost some really talented people and friends from our newsroom…but instead of dealing with the arguments that have been going back and forth on FB and in other media, I want to share with you some stories about my now former coworkers-and always, lifetime friends. And if you’re posting, nothing please about those arguments, no ripping the company or the business. This is about my friends and some things I want you to know about them. and that’s all.
Charlie Kaye was our Executive Producer. The guy you always wanted in the foxhole when the shit hit the fan because he was calm, cool, collected and always knew how to make a breaking story come together. My career wouldn’t be where it is if it weren’t for Charlie. He mentored and encouraged me from day one as a local stringer from the Orlando CBS affiliate, and no matter how insignificant a story was, he had a way of making you feel that it was important to him. He has a wonderful sense of humor…he’s a wonderful photographer and seemingly knows every good restaurant in the world! He’s one of the guys to whom I truly owe a debt of eternal thanks for my charmed life. A true mensch for so many reasons.
Barry Bagnato was one of our crack DC correspondents.Never has there been a more gentle soul, nor a nicer human being but underneath that nice guy image is a wicked sense of humor. One of my first big CBS stories was the Gianni Versace shooting…I was there on day one, Barry came in on day 2 in Miami Beach and we became instant friends. he took me to dinner and taught me about the birds and the bees of network radio. We later covered shuttle flights together and there has been no greater pleasure in my life than covering a story with Barry. Or chatting with him before his live shot if I was anchoring newscasts.
Howard Arenstein was our DC bureau chief. We first crossed paths when I was brought in at the last minute to cover the UPS strike negotiations one weekend during the summer of ’97…he was taking his kids to King’s Dominion but called me a few times to make sure I was OK. Of course, I had Jerome Navies watching over me too, which didn’t hurt! Howie’s a huge baseball fan, he and Dan Raviv always welcomed my pieces for their Weekend Roundup program…and he was also so helpful when I went back to DC to cover the publication of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board report. We never ran into each other often enough. Come see us in Florida!
Charlie White was one of our writers…and newscast producers. He holds a special place in my heart because he was the first editor who allowed me to do an “open” from the field, during a 1997 shuttle flight in the middle of the night(Hubble servicing mission 2/97). I got to say “CBS News, I’m Peter King at the Kennedy Space Center” for the first time at the top of the hour thanks to Charlie. It was one of the best nights of my life. A wonderful sense of humor and always helped me with a better phrase when I needed it. That’s why they’re called “writers.”
Bill Whitney was as cool as they come, and I always relished the opportunity to make him laugh just before we’d go on air with a live shot. Harley Carnes tells a story like none other and was always generous with time if I needed an extra few seconds. I think I owe him about an hour. Allan Tullio was encouraging and welcoming from day one as a crack Newsfeed producer and too in my earliest pieces in the mid-90s, helping with suggestions to make them better. Same with Tom Ryan, a life long Cardinals fan who enjoyed talking baseball too.
Our Supreme boss, Harvey Nagler retires in a few weeks. He gets his own page when that date approaches.
Mentioning those names will always being a smile to my face.I have been lucky to work with the best of the best, and I am STILL luck to call them “friends.”
This originally appeared as a Facebook post. Reprinted with permission. Thanks, Peter!