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Rusty Saber enjoys its 15 minutes of fame

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It was right there on my television screen. The old guy being interviewed on TV looked familiar. The round face and gray beard could only belong to one person: Me. Yes. The one who apparently couldn't talk if his hands were tied behind him they were in constant motion was me.

What a shock. What in the world was I doing on TV?

Actually the sight of me on the tube was no surprise. I knew in advance about it. Heck, I was there when it was taped.

Although a notice appeared in last week's SBJ announcing when the show could be seen, some readers who foolishly fail to read each and every word in each issue of SBJ may not have the slightest idea what I'm talking about. If so, I'll straighten you out. I was a guest on "Springfield Scene," hosted by Bob Edwards on KBLE, on cable Channel 36.

KBLE is a neat channel. "Springfield Scene," my appearance notwithstanding, is an insightful program with interesting guests. An eclectic array of programs appears during the day, including area basketball games, locally produced shows and a wide variety of pre-produced programs. Considering the quality of other "Springfield Scene" guests, my appearance certainly added a new dimension to the eclectic nature of the channel.

The thought must be spinning around in the minds of Rusty Saber readers: What in the name of Jerry Springer ever possessed Bob Edwards to ask him on the show?

I know that's a good question, because I asked it, too.

I'm here to tell you that he wanted me to talk about my book, "McAdoo About Nothing," in context of the 15th anniversary (in January) of the Rusty Saber. I thought maybe he might ask me to try and explain how in the world it could have lasted for 15 years. Not to worry. He asked me to talk about how the column came about and how the book was put together.

This wasn't my first fling on TV. For longer than I can remember I've been involved on the air for the KOZK TeleAuction; and I once hosted a weekly program for KOZK. Once upon a time, I hosted a weekly Drury College TV program in the same TCI studio where Bob Edwards' show is taped. But I had never been the guest on a talk show.

I visualized a lot of "dahs," "ers" and "ya knows" coming out of my mouth in answer to brilliantly phrased questions. I surprised myself, as I was able to speak in other than monosyllables.

This TV show gave me the opportunity to do something I have wanted to do since "McAdoo About Nothing" came out, go on TV and talk about it. Nationally syndicated columnists who author collections of their works write columns about their book tours. They tell tales of doing an interview in San Francisco, flying to a gig in Chicago, and on to New York to do the David Letterman show. I've always said I'd be satisfied with a book tour of Ozark, Nixa and back to Springfield.

Thanks to the "Springfield Scene," I can now write about my book tour. Technically, one appearance does not a tour make, but I'm not going to split hairs. It was a tour, by golly.

Since I have some first-hand TV interviewing experience, I think I can tell when it's well done. Although Bob Edwards is a Springfield News-Leader reporter, he understands the essential ingredients of the TV talk show interview: Put the guest at ease; ask questions which will allow the guest to talk about whatever it is that caused the guest to be on the show, and focus audience attention on the guest, not the host.

Even before the show began I was made to feel at ease. Bob's questions were organized in a way to enable me to talk about how the column began 15 years ago, the dynamics of the weekly column from inception of a topic idea to the finished product, anecdotes, and plenty of talk about the book.

The program I did has already run its course, but "Springfield Scene," on Channel 36, churns out a series of interesting programs aired every day no TV as Vast Wasteland here. Check your TV listings.

Another lifetime goal fulfilled, a column about my book tour.

(Joe McAdoo is former chairman of the communication department at Drury College and a Springfield public relations consultant.)

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