|Summary of the June 20th Meeting
PRESIDENT SHIRLEY called the meeting to order and we proceeded to sing “God Bless America” and provide a wisdom of the day she heard at the recent Rotary District Conference. Red Badgers with traveling mikes were JOHN HICKS and JENNIFER RIVA-KIRK; guests and visiting Rotarians were announced.
PRESIDENT SHIRLEY presented thank you gifts to two outgoing Rotary Foundation member CHRISTINE DISALVO, as well as Rotary Club board members JASON STEIN, JAY ROSS, SCOTT SEAMAN, and TERESA ALVARADO. Each in attendance was warmly thanked for their service and presented with beautifully engraved bottles of wine, courtesy of BERT GEORGE.
Blue badges were presented to the following red badgers: ED KRAUS, JO MATHESON, MARIA NICOLACOUDIS, JODI STARBIRD, and LISA STRICKLAND. All welcomed the “newest Rotarians in the world.”
A special guest was introduced by JERRY HANSON – the new Adult Gift of Life patient, Charlene Treasure, who was in attendance accompanied by her aunt, Veronica Baimbridge. Charlene, from Jamaica, will return to the club in a few weeks, post-surgery.
PAM FOLEY returned to wish adieu to German exchange student, Chiara. She reflected upon her 10 months here and the many lessons she learned about herself and life including, “live in the moment and enjoy”. All concurred.
PRESIDENT SHIRLEY then shined a Rotary Spotlight on the hearty team who valiantly take notes at the weekly meetings and quickly convert them into the summaries enjoyed by Rotarians with short-term memory loss as well as those not in attendance at the luncheon. The group, headed by BOB KIEVE, includes: GERRY SILVA, BRIAN ADAMS, TERESA ALVARADO, JOSEPH MOLESS, VICTORIA EMMONS, JAMES LITTLE, DAN PULCRANO, RAMESH HARIHARAN, and LEIGH WEIMERS. All were commended for helping to preserve the club’s legacy by documenting our history.
|And then came the main event all had been waiting for. CARL GUARDINO, suffering from laryngitis, commented on his excitement to be interviewing, finally, a guest he had been inviting to be a part of KLIV’s “CEO SHOW” for some time, BOB KIEVE. CARL read a very brief bio of BOB: Special Assistant and staff writer to President Eisenhower. U.S. Information Agency. WBBF in Rochester, NY. Past President of SJ Rotary. Past Chair of SJ Symphony. COMPAC board member. Northern Cal and California Broadcasters Association. Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation board. El Arte Radiofonico. 1943 graduate of Harvard College.
Carl announced the title of this week’s installment of the CEO Show as “The First 90 Years” and invited Bob to the stage. The remainder of the summary will be in Q&A format and paraphrased in the first person tense, mirroring the program format.
Q: Bob, how did you end up working in radio?
A: I was a freshman in college and there was a new radio station. I started working there and fell in love with radio. I was so enthusiastic, I worked 8 hours a day and became the program director.
Q: How did you begin working in the White House?
A: My boss in Spain ran the U.S. propaganda office. I was raised understanding the German language and knew radio so I thought I would be deployed to London to help with translations. Emmett Hughes, my boss, instead sent me to Spain to run features and translate articles. While there, I asked Emmett to introduce me to someone in radio. So he introduced me to Manolo Aznar (who would later be the father of Jose Maria Aznar, a president of Spain) who was pulling together a great team to develop radio in Spain. Emmett later was a major figure in the Time Life organization. In 1952, the Eisenhower campaign was floundering and Hughes helped to write speeches. He then joined the White House speechwriting staff and I was invited to be his assistant.
Q: What was the most important characteristic of Eisenhower?
A: There are three things. 1) His tremendous intelligence. He was so bright and quick to understand the importance of words. 2) He had a unique attitude toward arguing, never trying to determine someone’s motivation for disagreement. 3) I feel like a certain recent presidential candidate because I can’t remember the third one.
Q: Reflecting on the role of a speechwriter, how has that changed?
A: (Showing on the screen an example of a typed speech with lots of hand-written edits on it) Eisenhower made every speech his own, providing extensive edits and multiple reviews.
Q: After the White House, where did you go?
A: After Spain, I worked at a small radio station in upstate New York. I left there in 1948 because I saw this new technology (TV) coming around and I thought radio was dead. So, as is common, after Eisenhower’s first term there were many changes at the White House. I made contact with the Geneva, NY radio owner and he had purchased a new station in Rochester. He asked me to run it.
Q: So how did you come to San Jose?
A: By the greatest of luck! After 10 years, the Rochester station was sold. So I, along with some others, started to look around for a station to buy but couldn’t find any locally. So we started looking in other markets. We heard about one in some place south of San Francisco, San-something. So on July 1, 1967, we bought KLIV. What luck.
Q: What might surprise people about you?
A: I thought I was a good Spanish dancer, but no more. However, I am very good at castanets.
Q: Tell us about your involvement with the Association of former presidential speechwriters.
A: It’s an informal group. At one that I attended, I met some Bush writers. They asked me several questions about writing for Eisenhower, which was flattering. I asked them about writing speeches for President Bush and they said he was also deeply involved and a good editor with a logical mind, unlike what people might expect.
QUESTIONS and COMMENTS from the Rotarians in the audience:
DON KING told story about WBBR and how he and his wife grew up in Rochester and used to listen to Bob on the radio. DON recalled that his then-girlfriend’s curfew was midnight. So, he used as his queue that it was time to get going, and stop making out, Bob’s sign-off song by Johnny Mathis. He asked BOB was song that was. The answer: “Chances Are”.
LARRY STONE asked about campaign politics and how they have changed since Eisenhower’s time. BOB recalled the Eisenhower/Stevenson campaign and doesn’t remember any dirty campaigning.
CARL GUARDINO asked if BOB has a succession plan for the station. BOB’S response, “Why should I be thinking about that?!”
CARL asked BOB about his management philosophy. BOB described his two stations-KLIV and KRTY- and how they have different concepts but both are run with a connection to the community—one with involvement in community events (KRTY) and one with issues and leaders (KLIV).
CARL asked BOB about his commentaries. BOB has being them since Rochester and they are based on things he likes and doesn’t like. One such topic is his annoyance with the San Jose Sharks’ providing a platform for a variety of singers to interpret the “Star Spangled Banner” in their own way, which he believes ruins it. He also believes strongly in the importance of the word “commerce” and that it represents something very important to our country and can be greatly aided by…wait for it… good signage!
Then came the “lightning round” of 10 questions with one word or one sentence answers.
1) Favorite hobby or activity? Reading the SJMN in the evening.
2) As a child, what was your dream? To be a pitcher for the NY Giants!
3) Who is the most impressive person you have met and why? I already covered that, President Eisenhower. He was a fabulous human being.
4) What is your 2012 professional goal? That we can continue to improve the economy and firmly move beyond the recession.
5) What is the scariest thing you have done? I can’t enjoy rides at amusement parks. I once got on a kids ride (as an adult) and was scared stiff!
6) President HW Bush famously said that he hated broccoli. What food do you hate? I hate NO FOOD! I love everything, and I’m very proud of that.
7) What is your favorite quote? There is a poem that says this day, today, is a day you will one day look back on and treasure and reflect upon.
8) What charity or community group are you most involved with? I have been involved with many—Symphony, Opera, Rep, Chamber, SVLG Foundation—all are wonderfully important.
9) What was your first paid job in radio? WAAT in Jersey City during the summer. I was paid $15/week. My job was to find a Miss New Jersey!
10) What do you respect most about your spouse/partner? That she’s been with me for long; it’s truly admirable.
Summary by TERESA ALVARADO
Photos by Carl Cilker
See the Slide Show of all the photos by Clicking Here.