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Sat, April 20, 2013

The making of riveting radio

It was an extraordinary Friday.
Saturday morning, the morning after 'we got him' and I feel compelled to share a little behind-the-scenes information on the making of some rather riveting radio on the PhilCast Friday afternoon.

What you hear on the radio some times lasts only moments, but took hours of preparation and planning. And some times the cards just have to fall in place with a little luck as well.

Friday I awoke as many of you did to news (my first clue coming from Twitter once again) that one of the Boston Marathon bombers was dead and another on the run. 7:15-ish...here we go on a story that wouldn't end for me for another 12 hours. I was literally texting and calling from the restaurant table where we were trying to enjoy a fish fry Friday night after the show.

Shortly after sitting down at our table I received a text that sent me into a panic. The second suspect was in a boat in someone's backyard. Remember my interview with Barbara Lyon, who was locked down in her home just blocks from ground zero? She had said they had boats. Could the suspect have been in HER backyard?

Needless to say the garlic bread appetizer had to wait while I checked. It was NOT her backyard.

The interview with her live on the show Friday was some of the best compelling radio a listener could ask for. Barbara was describing the war-like scene of heavy military-type vehicles going past her house as we spoke. She talked about how the SWAT team had been to their house twice already.

This is a photo she took out of her window Friday afternoon. That interview lasted for only about 10 minutes but took quite a bit of effort to happen at all.

My wife Sandy (Mrs. Biggest Name) had received an email at work from a cousin of hers who lives in Franklin. She had forwarded an email from another cousin who lives in the Boston area named Lisa to Sandy just so that Sandy would know Lisa was in a safe area.

That email also mentioned that friends of Lisa's were close to 'ground zero' though and were scared.

When I saw the email I immediately thought about the possibility of talking to this person on my show. I reached out to the cousin in Franklin, who said she would check to see what see could find out. Then the Boston cousin Lisa contacted her friend Barbara and informed her that I wanted to talk to her on my radio show.

Barbara called me on my cell phone about an hour from the start of Friday's PhilCast. She was locked down in her house. The SWAT team had already been inside. She was nervous and talking to me, a stranger in Wisconsin asking her to talk on the radio. She was reluctant. But as I talked her through it she warmed to the idea and was just agreeing to do the interview when our conversation was cut short.

"I've got to go now," she said, "My husband is motioning...the SWAT guys are coming back into my basement."

I told her to be safe and that I would talk to her on the show in about an hour.

Hours of trying to make it all happen and it came together at the last minute to make possible the exclusive interview you heard as the news was breaking Friday afternoon. If you missed the interview the podcast version can be heard by clicking here.

My fish fry was eaten in peace knowing first that the suspect was not in her backyard, then knowing that he had been taken alive with no more loss of life. The news delivered to me via Twitter on my phone between bites of cod.

When we got home what did I do? Turn on the TV of course to watch the cheering people of Boston as police left Barbara's Watertown neighborhood. Fifteen hours later, a long Friday on a huge story had finally ended.










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