Michael Schoen

88schoen Michael SchoenMichael Schoen’s career as a broadcast journalist includes covering some of the most exciting and even dangerous stories of our time.

Schoen’s reports from the Gulf war for CBS news began January 15, 1991, the day the Pentagon pool of journalists were first flown from Andrews Air Force base outside Washington, and continued until after allied troops liberated Kuwait.

He’s had two network stints (CBS news and RKO radio networks) has done major market television (Los Angeles) and WCBS is his third all news station (Philadelphia, Los Angeles).

Schoen has covered government, the courts and politics, having anchored election coverage and worked political debates and conventions.

He was born and raised and educated in New York City.

So what’s his favorite thing in the business? “All news radio is normally something like a utility. We’re there to let you know the world is safe, you can turn to us anytime to get an update on the news, catch up with sports and weather and get a hint on what awaits you on the trains and highways.”

“But when a major story is unfolding, no one can touch all news radio. We have the mechanisms in place to cover news as it’s being made like no other medium.”

“We have reporters everywhere–and we can work the phones to get people on live in an instant.”

“There’s nothing more compelling than what’s known in radio as a talk around. We saw it often during coverage of the Florida vote battle,” Schoen says. A reporter in Tallahassee on a court move, a quick reaction at the Vice President’s residence then a jump to Austin for the Governor’s reaction. “We have the agility to get it together quickly and make it make sense.”

“I spent the whole day on the anchor desk in Los Angeles (KFWB) after waking up at 4:28 in the morning to the January, 28, 1994 Northridge Earthquake. In that case there was plenty of direct reporting as I was able to feel and discuss each of hundreds of aftershocks.”

Schoen’s most memorable moment in the business? “There have been many, but I was fortunate to be able to ride into Kuwait with the advance line of Saudi troops on what to the Kuwaitis was liberation day at the end of the Gulf war in 1991.”

“Their tiny country was in shambles – the oil wells were burning, their official buildings had been blown to bits, there was no electricity, no telephone service, no running water. Everyone was talking about someone they knew who was missing.”

“Yet there was so much joy in the streets, I could only think of the newsreel footage of Paris in 1945.”

“I sat down and did dozens of live shots on CBS stations across America, talking about what what I had seen.”

As he completed that task, President Bush announced the United States and its allies would cease further offensive military operations. Schoen set out to get reactions from U-S troops on their soon to be trip home.

“After that, my superiors in New York told me to start planning my own trip home.”

Creeper! Rando! Sketchball!

Did you hear the chat with New York Times “On Language” writer Ben Zimmer?