CHRIS HALL: PETE'S FRIEND AND PARTNER IN MIXED BAG RADIO
Hello again everyone …
Hello again everyone … it’s good to hear those words.
Hello again everyone … My name is Chris Hall. I was Pete’s partner and producer at Mixed Bag Radio. During the last ten years, I have had the honor to be a part of over 200 interviews that aired on XM and FUV. Pete and I are so proud of each of those shows; SO proud. In fact, he would say the same thing to me after each interview. On the car ride back to his home, Pete would turn to me and say “That was the best interview I’ve ever done!” He said it 200 times! And … he was right each and every time he said it.
I was asked to speak tonight by my friend Sue Leventhal from WHY Hunger. Strangely enough … I don’t remember the first time that I met Pete Fornatale. I DO however remember the first time I met Sue. I met Sue when I offered my assistance to Vin Scelsa and then eventually to Pete.
Sue was very protective and said “Who are you? And, what do you want from Vin?” A short time later, Sue again said … “What do you want from Pete?
I said I didn’t want anything, but I had a lot to offer. I had first offered to help Artemus Records for Vin’s show Live at Lunch, I then offered my experience in setting up Pete’s syndicated Mixed Bag Radio.
And … I didn’t want anything from Pete Fornatale … that was true.
However, I did get something. Something I didn’t expect. What I got was a friend, a confidant and a mentor.
Pete and I had much more than a business partnership. We spoke on the phone late at night, usually once or twice a week. The long conversations and topics ranged far beyond anything I could explain tonight. Pete was a kind, caring and compassionate man … but, despite the soothing voice he wasn’t a pushover; as Osama Bin Laden is well aware. Those of you who got that reference should explain it to the others … it’s worth knowing.
As we all know, Pete was the master and creator of themed based radio programming. How many of you knew that he’d occasionally have a little help?
Therefore, my favorite phone calls were not our nighttime conversations, but the daytime calls that involved Pete’s panic. I’d be sitting at a conference table, or in the midst of a business meeting, or perhaps with a client. I’d see that Pete was calling my cell phone … I’d excuse myself and say … “It’s important … I NEED to take this call.”
I would answer the phone … Pete would not say hello … his first words might be …
“I need a song about LINOLEUM or a song that mentions LINOLEUM … doesn’t Poco have one? Never mind, I know they don’t”
Then he’d say, very slowly and LOUDLY:
“I need a song about TRAINS! Actually I need a Bruce Springsteen song that mentions a TRAIN OR TRAINS.” (I can now divulge that I was his “go to” Springsteen source.)
I’d reply … with the proper and measured sense of urgency …
“There are so many ...” (I was secretly glad he didn’t ask Bruce Springsteen songs that mentioned Rivers … then the possibilities would be endless)
“I’d say TRAINS … here are my top three!
Better Days, I’m on Fire, and of course Land of Hope and Dreams.”
Pete would say “THANKS” … and hang up! No goodbye … just hang up!
Pete still speaks to me some times late at night …
And tonight, PETE has a message for all of you … it’s the same message that I have.