By Dan Henning
As a producer, I deal with members of Congress and other celebrity-types on a daily basis.
There’s an immediate understanding between producer (a nobody, i.e. me), and the famous person who is about to be a guest on our program. You have to get through me, to get on the show. So, we skip the pleasantries, and I go right to putting an earpiece in your ear, brushing off your jacket, etc…some people might call that personal for a first meeting. It sure is. Deal with it. Usually, the conversation is brief or non-existent, which is fine.
Unless, you are Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), apparently. I met him for the first time this morning, and as I was getting him set in our green room to take him to the studio, he struck up a friendly conversation with me, which is great…except, I don’t have time for it!
I have to get you into the studio with Bill, sir!
It was great to be able to chat with him, but I have to do my job, and on a radio and TV show, the clock ticks quickly. I was just awestruck that he wanted to take time to talk to ME and see how I was.
Fast forward to the end of the interview – it happened again. This time it was when I was ushering him out of the studio, and ushering the next guest, Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), in. Sen. Harkin started chatting him up as if we were in a coffee shop. I let it go for a minute or so and saw that this was just not going to end, so I yelled, “90 seconds!” and he got the hint, and all was well.
You can’t blame a busy man who just wants to take some time and … chat, I guess!