I've mentioned my pal Wally Podrazik here a few times. We met in college at Northwestern when we both worked on the radio station, WNUR. Now, among a great many of his accomplishments, he is the curator for the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. He also teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is the co-author of Watching TV, a season-by-season look at the history of television, now in its third edition. (He co-wrote the book with Harry Castleman, who I also knew at Northwestern.) Wally is also a major expert on those Beatles folks, and has written several books and lectured about them. And he has been in charge of media at something like six Democratic National Conventions. Or something like that. But yes, it's true, Wally is living out a school kids dream, that of being able to tell his parents that he has to watch television because it's an assignment for school. Only he has to do it for a living.
This past December, he was a guest on C-SPAN, where he talked about his book and the history of TV for an interesting half hour. You even get a twofer here -- at the 14:30 mark, he talks at length about Newton Minow (father of the oft-mentioned here Nell) and his famous "Vast Wasteland" speech, which Wally explains was really mostly intended to be about public service.
The one thing that surprised me was personal: when he does his professional work and curating and lecturing, he does so by the more high-end Walter J. Podrazik." But here he's identified as just good ol' Wally. I asked him about that, and he said that C-SPAN told him that they'd worked with him for so long at the Democratic conventions that they felt it didn't seem right to call him anything but "Wally."
Wally is a very good guy, and it's an interesting, informative half hour. The early few minutes are a bit technical as he gets into the very beginnings of television, but it soon moves on. He's always been well-mannered and detailed in how he presents himself, but boy howdy, does he know his stuff.
Anyway, after my various mentions of the good fellow, here's the video of Wally, in glorious living color. And if you're interested in his book, Watching TV, you can find it this link at Amazon.
Unfortunately, C-SPAN doesn't provide a code for embedding their videos. But you can watch the talk about TV past and where it's going here.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor