Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mailbag produces insight

It took learning it first-hand, but it seems to me that reports of radio’s death were premature.

Thank goodness.

Really, I was under the impression that I-pods were be taking over the world. (As for me, I use my 12-year-old’s I-pod. I would never buy one, because I’m too cheap. Anybody who knows me knows that.) But didn’t I hear on CNN and Fox News and WALB and even on the elementary school TV station that I-pods and mp3s and satellite radio and even Rush Limbaugh being on television meant that radio was dead and buried?

My, how I hope those same pundits are calling for Willie Adams’ re-election this fall.

Listeners to “our little radio show” -– as host Matt “Batman” Patrick calls it -- are popping up from every direction. Just today, much to my delight and certainly to my surprise, I learned that our family physician listens to the show. Now, that’s validating. I mean, how valuable is the doc’s time? And he spends some of every single weekday listening to Matt and I? Holy smoke.In addition to the number of and quality of our listeners, another surprise to me – the radio newbie – is that it’s OK that we’re not getting tons of calls on Wake Up Albany. After all, Albany is Squawksville, where citizen input is nearly always anonymous (which delights Albany city officials, by the way).

Still, we are getting amazing feedback –- and some of it even is on the record by real, live people who aren’t afraid to associate their first and last names with their perspectives. Imagine that. Some of the feedback challenges us – well, me – because I’m the one on the show who stirs stuff up. I’ve got to tell you, though: I CRAVE feedback like that of Evan Chelini, who takes issue with some of my stance against ultimate fighting.

I respect countering perspectives, and – more often than not – I become more enlightened when I hear it. Thanks, Evan, for listening, for being respectful, for inviting dialogue, and for not insisting that we settle things in the ring.

I’ll be talking to you in the morning – and seeing you on Sept. 5, which you join us in the studio for a discussion.

Meanwhile, here’s some of what’s in my Wake Up Albany e-mailbag.

“I listen to your show every morning on my way to work at a downtown senior center. Would love to hear someone talk about the problems that our local (seniors) are experiencing at this time. Funds for transportation (both meals on wheels, and congregate) were cut severely for the ’08 fiscal year. Our local politicians seem to just bury their heads in the sand about this problem. Our district alone has lost between $200,000 and $300,000 in funding and we are in desperate need for some help. I’m hoping that maybe if you could address this problem on your show, people would be more aware of what is going on." -- Angelika Smith (

“First of all, I can only guess what convinced you to refer as any combat between two people as 'cockfighting'. Those kinds of statements tend to display a certain level of either blatant ignorance or an ill-researched topic, for someone in the employment of a news delivery agency, I can only hope it is the latter. However, do not take this message as a personal attack from any angle. This is just something to make you aware of the number of differences between what you see in bars and what the influx in Albany that is actually happening. For years, the International Sport Combat Federation has been hosting events in the Georgia/Florida area. They have maintained a steadfast policy on rules and regulations that always keep in mind the safety of the fighters given the circumstances of the sport itself. The rules ( and the disqualifications policy should in their own right distinguish between the events that have been ‘stewing in your heart and mind.’ In closing, I do agree with you that the average Albany (nightspot) lacks the capability to hold anything close to a sanctioned mixed martial arts event. However, a little understanding should be given to the sport that I, myself, and many others have come to know and love. I welcome a reply and discussion."Evan Chelini (

"I am so glad that someone has finally taken this station in hand to do something with it. There has been so much potential and so little done. I really like your program in the mornings, but I have one HUGE beef. The signal is so weak that I can even pick it up until I almost get to the Cooper Tires factory. I love talk radio and I never listen to music. If you had a stronger signal, I’d listen to you at home (I live in worth County and can’t pick you up there.) I’d also buy advertising for my little business. (I scan slides and photos and put them on DVDs, create/public books for people, and make PowerPoint presentations for businesses. But your signal is WAY too weal. We REALLY need a strong talk radio station for ALL of Dougherty County and the surrounding counties. Hope you all can get that signal stronger! Oh, and are you going to fix your Website so that we can listen to you online. That would be helpful as well. Thanks for what you do."
– Jeanine Gibbs (

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Did I marry jail bait?

Oh, yeah. One more thing. This "half plus seven" rule that Matt told us about on the show is really bothering. Sometimes when I do the math, I say breathe a sigh of relief. Other times, I wonder if I ought to turn myself in to the cops. "Half plus seven"? you ask. I did, too. It's Man's Rule No. 441: Do not date a woman (or girl) who is younger than half your age plus seven years old. In other words, if you're 18, you can get away with dating a 16-year-old (Half of 18 is 9, plus 7,equals 16). And if you're 34, you can't date anyone younger than 24 (Half of 34 is 17, plus 7, equals 24). Gotcha worried? There's a calculator on the Web at

Cannon, Whatley and a lost class ring

Boy, did downtown merchant/lawyer Phil Cannon steal the show Wednesday.

Phil walked into the studio, put on the headset, and spent the next 90 minutes Tuesday chatting away nonstop -- offering insight, information, and -- yep -- humor. I just sent him an e-mail to make it perfectly clear that he's welcome to come and co-host the show.

Among the week's other highlight was our chat with Superintendent of Schools Sally Whatley. She's not in her comfort zone in a radio studio, not knowing for sure what's going to be thrown her way, but she toughed it out. And she told the school system's story -- which is why we invited her.

Meanwhile, I'm still trying to solve the Albany High Class of 1972 mystery. I received an e-mail from someone trying to return to its owner a girl's class ring with the initials YML. We talked about it on the show, and got a call right away from a 1972 grad who is going to hook us up with an old Indians' yearbook. Stay tuned.

Archived interviews and the upcoming schedule are on the Web at

Monday, August 6, 2007

Wakin' Up Albany

Wake Up Albany! continues to be the talk of the town. Folks want to know who "that Matt guy" is. The man sure knows how to make an interview flow.

Since my first blog, here's who we've had the show: Sam Shugart, Lake Park Recreation Club volunteer; Sophia Glover, Albany State University's public information director, and Dr. Leroy Bynum, ASU's fine arts chair; David Maschke, a Dougherty County Board of Education member; Dr. Carole Rutland, executive director of RiverWay South; Mike Gebhart, the Albany Herald publisher; Jim Finkelstein, the First Amendment-defending freedom-to-smoke-pot advocating Albany attorney; Janice Allen Jackson, former Albany city manager; Jim Wilcox, general manager of WALB-TV; and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle -- again!

Here's what's on tap on Wake Up Albany! Interviews start just after 7:30 a.m., unless otherwise noted:

  • Tuesday, Aug. 7 -- Lynn Borders, executive director of Community in Schools of Albany-Dougherty/Partnership for Education, will discuss the "Dine Out for Kids" and the recent merger of two educational programs.

  • Wednesday, Aug. 8 -- At 8 a.m., Diane Fletcher, the Southwest Georgia Cancer Coalition CEO, will discuss our area's cancer rates the coalition's initiatives to battle the deadly disease.

  • Thursday, Aug. 9 -- Ken Hodges, the Dougherty County Judicial Circuit district attorney, will discuss the perceptions and realities associated with question: Is Albany safe?

  • Friday, Aug. 10 -- Steve Preston, director of the Darton College Writing Center and former host of "The Front Page" radio show, will return to the microphone after a long hiatus.

  • Monday, Aug. 13 -- Ketih Walker, the Albany Chorale artistic director, will discuss the new season, how to audition, and how people can supoprt the organization.

  • Wednesday, Aug. 15 -- Jennifer Stokes, the GA SAFE Albany resource director, will discuss foster parenting.

  • Thursday, Aug. 16: Dr. Sally Whatley, Dougherty County School System superintendent, will discuss the local board's feats and challenges.

  • Friday, Aug. 17: Jenny Collins, of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, will discuss the chamber's Young Leaders initiative.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Farewell, Mike Flynn

In 2006, I approached Cumulus officials about doing a talk radio show focusing on local issues. They weren't interested. Then Jay Wachs came to town on his white horse to run Cumulus' Albany stations. Mike Flynn ran the talk-show idea by Jay -- and within a couple of months, Wake Up Albany With Matt Patrick was conceived. This week, a month-and-a-half into the project, Mike bade farewell to the show. A new job in Valdosta has him spread too thin to come hang out with us every day, but Mike promises to stay in touch by calling in from time to time. Some of our conversations since Mike's departure aren't as fluid, or as balanced, or as poignant. But Mike says we'll be OK without him -- and I think he's right. Thanks, Mike, for caring enough about Albany to conceive of Wake Up Albany! and to help make it a reality. Now, that's leadership.