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‘Radio Free’ Montone: Bartender, Another Round Of Apathy

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You never know where John Montone will spend his morning. It may be...
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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 adding to his repertoire and is bringing his unique reporting style to print.

So please take a look and listen to 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.

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – In this city that never sleeps, some people actually do.

My typical early, early morning assignment is to find out what the people think about — the weather, the election, subway and bus fares, toll hikes, traffic, stop and frisk, pedestrian plazas, outdoor smoking bans and everything and anything that might affect the lives of New Yorkers.

Now sometimes it’s easy to find folks to respond even at 4 a.m. On Monday, editor Maloney sent me into the bowels of the subway to get riders’ reactions to a study that says the noise down there can literally be deafening. A news stand man whose business is right on the platform put his fingers in his ears as the N-train roared by and said into my mic, “This is a big problem for us.”

And a young man from Brooklyn wearing monster headphones told me he had Beyonce cranked up to drown out the screeching of metal wheels on metal tracks. But on other mornings asking about other weightier issues, getting informed opinions is almost impossible. And so in their wisdom, my bosses decided to occasionally send out an ambitious young news production assistant named Mike Larkin to gather sound bites in the evening when the streets and restaurants and bars are brimming with humanity.

And it usually works out quite well. The more people you talk to the better your chances of getting that nugget — a comment that is chock full of vital information and spoken in a manner that crystallizes the issue.

So I was taken aback when I listened to the tape Larkin gathered on Monday night in Greenwich Village where he asked young, presumably educated men and women about the impending shut down of the federal government. A young lady named Anastasia told him that the only people who cared were tourists who wouldn’t be able to visit the Statue of Liberty.

Not parents with children in Head Start programs? Not seniors signing up for Social Security? And the incredible ignorance didn’t end with Anastasia. Some young folks had not even heard that Uncle Sam might put up a “closed,” sign.

One wondered whether the budget battle was related to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Another thought the government had already shut down — on the Fourth of July.

And a guy who actually had some skin in the game was only concerned about the political showdown’s effect on Obamacare which he was counting on to get a cracked wisdom tooth repaired.

In my first report after playing some of the clueless cuts, I ended the story by saying, “An informed electorate is the backbone of a democratic society.” Stick it to the uncaring masses, Johnny! But as the morning wore on, I could not help thinking about why most young, presumably educated people cared so little about our political system.

The Daily News headline summed it up pretty well with, “House of Turds,” a reference to the Tea Party obstructionists and the hit Netflix show about a wheeling, dealing crooked congressman. I then thought of Texas Senator Ted Cruz delivering his fatuous filibuster during which he read from Dr. Seuss.

And then there’s our own Chuck Schumer, who seems to have purchased a second home on CNN. I recall being told there is a verb in D.C. — “to Schume” — which means you will knock over an elderly woman walking with a cane in order to get in front of a camera.

I now have a better understanding of why those young people Larkin spoke to just don‘t pay attention to politics. As a young lady he interviewed said, “I was just drinking this Long Island Iced Tea. I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Bartender, another round of apathy.

John Montone 1010 WINS News