By John Montone, 1010 WINS
NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — The next time you get the urge to bash the “mainstream media,” take a smooth ride on the Palisades Interstate Parkway.
I’d like to think 1010 WINS and this street reporter played a role in the sudden U-turn made by New Jersey Transportation Commissioner James Simpson.
Here’s the background. For almost two decades, New Jersey’s Department of Transportation and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission have been quarreling over whose responsibility it is to maintain the stretch of the road that runs from the George Washington Bridge to the New York State line. And so it was never paved. For 18 years, every split and fissure and crater and chasm that opened up, stayed open. The Minnesota winter that settled on our metropolitan area this year ripped the road down to what Commissioner Simpson now admits is a “third world” condition.
A few weeks ago, “The Road Warrior” in The Bergen Record wrote of the deteriorating state of the parkway, and last weekend, CBS 2 News, our affiliated television station for whom I also work, took Simpson on a cruise of the parkway, after which he changed his mind, and official state policy and promised New Jersey would foot the bill and fill in the potholes.
1010 WINS got involved last week. At Editor Jim Maloney’s command I drove the station’s SUV, AKA the 1010 WINS Mobile Unit, north from Fort Lee to Alpine — all the while employing “the old microphone on the dashboard pothole vibration meter.”
When I got on the air for my live reports I played the sound of the mic bouncing up and down, banging and slamming. I also interviewed some drivers including a gentleman who said his ride was similar to his childhood experience on a wooden roller coaster….”…bounce, bounce bounce.” And at the end of my reports I said I was driving on, “The Palisades UNPAVED Parkway.”
This critical mass of mass media attention got the job done.
Now, while I’m willing to share credit on this pothole fix, several years ago 1010 WINS was solely responsible for getting a massive ditch on West 56th Street filled in. That morning I used another “pothole-ometer,” known as, “the old open container of hot coffee in my hand trick.” I drove over the chasm as if unaware of it then howled on the air as the steaming joe splashed onto my hand. No pain, no gain.
Within an hour, a city road crew was out patching the pothole allowing me to go back on the air and claim the credit for 1010 WINS.
So how about a moratorium on media bashing… at least until the next Justin Bieber story?