In any given year, I have the privilege of working on anywhere from 40 to 50 Radio Media Tours. I have booked interviews for medical experts, travel experts, financial experts, pet psychics, storm chasers, actors, artists, writers and producers…but, the most memorable and most thrilling experience for me came in November of 2006. I worked on a project for the Discovery Channel called: “Koppel on Discovery: Iran the Most Dangerous Nation.”
It was the first of several documentaries well-known journalist Ted Koppel worked on for Discovery after leaving ABC News. It was also the only project Koppel agreed to be the spokesperson for – meaning he would give our public relations agency, News Generation, Discovery’s choice to promote the TV special, two hours of his time to do 10 to 12 interviews with the top networks and stations in the country.
What an honor for me. Prior to working for News Generation I spent 20-plus years anchoring and reporting the news – admiring and studying the work of journalists like Koppel, Jennings, and Kuralt. And now, I would be working on behalf of a reporter I held in high esteem for many years (not to mention a Syracuse University alum, like me).
Ted Koppel did not disappoint!
First of all, he made my job extremely easy – his “celebrity” alone booked the interviews. In a matter of hours his schedule was full. There were stations wanting to be put on a waiting list in case of cancellations.
Secondly, Koppel was warm, personable and unpretentious– when we moderate tours and meet our spokespeople for the first time, we never know what to expect. Koppel was very pleasant to work with and a true professional. Believe it or not, he was in the middle of a family emergency when he was doing radio interviews and no one ever knew that he was rushing to the hospital while discussing “Iran, the Most Dangerous Nation.”
I was left with nothing but the best impression of Ted Koppel and his dedication to his family, his profession and the public he served.
Note: A year later, I had the pleasure of working with Koppel’s wife, Grace Ann Dorney Koppel – she was a spokesperson for the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute working on its COPD Educational Campaign.