I called in recently to a radio program called The Sound of Ideas,
heard on Cleveland Public Radio, WCPN-FM 90.3, weekdays 9:00-10:00. Since then the producer called asking me to appear on today’s show, “Money, Politics and Unions after Issue 2,” and I agreed to be a guest. Other members of the panel–all much heavier hitters than me–were:
- Harriet Applegate of the North Shore AFL-CIO, with us in the studio;
- by phone, Peter Overby, NPR’s “Power, Money and Influence” correspondent, who covers campaign finance;
- by phone, Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
If you’re masochistic, you might enjoy downloading the show’s podcast. If you’re really adventurous, watch the video; if you can take it, so can I.
So how was this experience, you ask? Well, I learned stage fright young: as a music student I would be a complete basket case before each recital. And although by now I’ve spoken, acted, sung, played, or taught thousands of times, I’m still pretty nervous before anything that resembles a performance.
One surprise to me was how quickly the hour went. I had prepared for the session, and had my various papers arranged in front of me at the desk. I wound up hardly referring to any of them, and instead used the top handout mostly to take notes and keep track of my thoughts. In this setting, it seems, it does no good to anticipate what the next question might be or to dwell on the last one: the most important thing is to concentrate on the moment. In little league they called it “keeping your head in the game,” and it’s not something I was or am especially good at; but for an hour at a time, I guess I can.
With stage fright goes that delicious feeling when it’s over, and by 10:00 I was feeling pretty relieved. I’d do it again: the risk of sounding stupid is a worthwhile price to pay for the opportunity to do something you believe in.