By John Montone, 1010 WINS
If you’re one of the millions of listeners who wakes up each morning to 1010 WINS, you’re likely familiar with the voice, and tone, of the station’s intrepid reporter John Montone.
Best known for his no holds barred, man on the street reporting, Montone has been getting in the faces — and ears — of New Yorkers for what seems like an eternity.
Montone is ready to add to his repertoire and bring his unique reporting style to print.
So please take a look and listen to John’s new venture: Radio Free Montone — a weekly blog where Montone takes you behind the scenes of news radio in New York City, and gives his observations on reporting in the greatest city in the world.
John Lennon wrote, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
Lennon’s line is a good way to describe the news business. The other day I had planned to write the first installment of, “Radio Free Montone.” I had even decided on the line I would use to introduce it, a line that may have first been uttered by Jesus but sounded a lot funkier when Van Morrison sang it, “All you ever need is the truth and the truth will set you free.”
But before I could start pecking away at the keyboard, my editor told me to head to the East Village where some Cretan who police say was buzzed on booze and packing a stash of dope jumped the sidewalk while driving his car on 2nd Avenue like it was a straightaway at Indy — mowing down people, steel poles, a tree, a parking meter and a fire hydrant.
His Nissan looked like he set a bomb off in it. This incident was as that BIG VOICE on the radio says, “BREAKING NEWS NOW.” So the blog would have to wait.
I also had plans that were interrupted by “BREAKING NEWS” on that cool and clear morning of Sept. 11, 2001. I had been working non-stop for four and a half hours covering the NYC democratic mayoral primary on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Having filed my reports my plans consisted of finding a bathroom before my bladder sprung a leak and getting breakfast. I answered nature’s call first but never made it to a diner because minutes later I was racing down the FDR to the that massive pit of smoke, fire and death that would come to be known as Ground Zero.
Minutes matter in this business, and I got there just in time to talk to eyewitnesses before the south tower and everyone inside turned to dust.
I thought I would start this blog — really this conversation with a little insight into what I do and the pressures I face doing it. And I’ll try my best to take you to places that I don’t get to talk about on 1010 WINS — observations that may not fit into our news format, but might help you understand how we take an event, whittle it down to its essence and present it as news. Sometimes as “BREAKING NEWS NOW!”
Oh, yes, and why, “Radio Free Montone?”
During my childhood which was also during the Cold War, I heard all about the efforts of, “Radio Free Europe,” and its mission to provide a flow of information to people living behind the Iron Curtain. But I really found out what it meant to be cut off from the free world when I was assigned to cover the 30th-anniversary of The Beatles’ stay at The Plaza.
I didn’t expect to find anyone there at 4 a.m., but a limo driver spotted me and introduced himself as a loyal 1010 WINS listener. And when I told him about the story I was working on, he told me of his teenage years in Eastern Europe when he and his friends would hide in basements and try to pull in radio signals from far-off places so they could listen to The Beatles.
So it is, “Radio Free Montone,” and it sounds pretty cool, too.
And now, I’d like to hear from you. Please leave me a comment below and let me know what you think.
John Montone 1010 WINS News.