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Wolf Blitzer Shows How You Press Powerful People in Interview With Nancy Pelosi

Tuesday’s interview is a guide for young journalists in how to comport themselves in an interview with a powerful politician.

Evan Donovan



This week, Wolf Blitzer put on a clinic on holding powerful people accountable and pushing them for answers when you’re not getting them.

Blitzer interviewed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) on Tuesday about a counteroffer from the White House for a second coronavirus relief package. President Donald Trump seemingly changed his position again — after tweeeting last week that he had “instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election,” he then tweeted the opposite only hours later, urging the House and Senate to “IMMEDIATELY Approve 25 Billion Dollars for Airline Payroll Support, & 135 Billion Dollars for Paycheck Protection Program for Small Business.”

This week, the president was reportedly backing a revised stimulus package.

Blitzer presssed Speaker Pelosi about Americans who are struggling, asking whether she can “look them in the eye Madam Speaker and explain why you don’t want to accept the president’s latest stimulus offer.”

Pelosi retorted that “when you say to me why don’t you accept theirs, why don’t they accept ours?”

The interview quickly went off the rails from there.

Pelosi got very defensive when Blitzer read her a tweet from Ro Khanna, a California congressman, saying that people can’t wait until February — calling Blitzer an “apologist” for the Republican position.

Despite Pelosi’s continuing pushback, Blitzer maintained total calm, displaying complete professionalism throughout the interview. Blitzer kept hounding the point, asking Pelosi “why not work out a deal with [Trump], and not let the perfect, as they say in Washington, be the enemy of the good?”

Blitzer is an accomplished journalist, a former senior White House correspondent for CNN whose career spans six decades. He is no stranger to tough interviews, and has repeatedly proven unflappable in the face of criticism and attacks from both the right and the left.

Tuesday’s interview is a guide for young journalists in how to comport themselves in an interview with a powerful politician.

It also serves as a counter to the continuing attacks on CNN and the “mainstream media” as being deferential to Democratic politicians.

Blitzer proved that he plays no favorites when speaking to Washington’s elite, and his doggedness shows that he is a consummate professional and a television journalist from whom young, aspiring reporters can look up to.

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BNM Writers

Law & Crime Network is Cashing In on Criminal Behavior

“We’ll cover the wide range, whereas a lot of times our competitors will narrow in on one case. We’re everywhere and covering everything from all different angles and sides.”



Sometimes crime does pay… just not in the way you’d expect. Companies like Law & Crime Network are cashing in on crime.

“I was [Dan Abrams’] first or second employee when we started Law Newz seven years ago,” Rachel Stockman told Barrett News Media over Zoom.

Since 2016 the startup with 3 people exploded into a company of nearly 100 and changed their brand name from Law Newz to Law & Crime Network. Now the President of Law & Crime Network, Stockman, like many great journalists, started as an intern in local news.

Her West Virginia internship turned into a passion as national news hit her small market. “The Sago Mine disaster happened and so it was really my first experience being part of a national news story,” she recalled, “so that really sparked my interest to to become a journalist.”

Moving on to be a reporter in Green Bay, Atlanta, and New York it was her experience in Phoenix which ignited her passion.

“I was covering a lot of immigration-related issues. And they at the time, passed a really controversial immigration law,” Stockman said, “I was a young reporter, and I just remembered how intimidating I thought covering courts was at the time.”

The intimidation turned into questions and questions brought an application to Law School. She graduated from Yale but did not become a lawyer.

“I decided to go back into journalism after that. But it was still great to have that legal foundation,” Stockman explained. “Going to law school really gave me the confidence to continue to report on really critical issues in our justice system.” Confidence she uses to inspire her team at Law & Crime, adding, “The foundation of [the network] is really law and crime and accuracy and commitment to really understanding how our justice system works.”

Law & Crime Network brings that understanding to their viewers in four different ways, OTT networks, social media,, and Productions. The key to what Stockman calls their “360 approach” is dominating social media. “Our YouTube page has a huge presence, almost 6 million subscribers, and we’re covering everything from court cases to the big to true crime stories to big legal stories.”

Stockman added they have nearly 1 million subscribers on TikTok and an extremely active Snapchat page.

The network’s viewership began reaching a larger audience via their production company. “We are producing content for partners like Netflix, [and] Hulu,” Stockman added. “One of our great partners is A&E. We really leverage our experience in the legal and crime sphere to be able to then create compelling programing for them as well.”

The biggest viewer expansion Stockman says came from the 2022 Johnny Depp Trial. “We honestly were not expecting that one to blow up as it did. Obviously, we knew there would be interest because they were celebrities,” She recalled. “But we were really shocked by kind of the level of universal interest in the case and how not only were people tracking kind of daily developments, they were really in the courtroom every single day wanting to not miss a moment of that case.”

Commitment to their community is key, with almost 6 million YouTube subscribers they typically have hundreds of people, actively chatting every day. “They’re alerting us to other cases that are going around the country. And it’s really unique compared to other companies and other media organizations. Just how loyal are our fans and our community is,” Stockman said.

Even with a committed community, it remains hard to get every court case,

“It is difficult in some states to get in [to court] and some states don’t allow cameras altogether.”

Stockman continued to say “The federal court system also does not allow cameras in court. So there we are, pretty limited, I would say probably 30 states allow cameras in court.”

This creates a challenge for the Network as some states allow cameras on a case-by-case basis or have banned cameras entirely.

Stockman feels Law & Crime’s coverage of court is worth fighting for. “We believe in transparency. We think the public should be able to see our court system and see our justice system in action.” Some critics believe cameras in court don’t provide transparency instead becoming a distraction and dramatizing the process. If given the option Stockman’s answer is simple, “We always want to air on the side of transparency if there’s a choice.”

Barrett News Media pressed Stockman on if there were cases that took advantage of cameras in the court, turning a trial into a circus or more of a TV show. Her response? “Overall, judges and attorneys can certainly when they know they’re being taped, when they know they’re going to be on camera, on a live stream will certainly play to the cameras. There’s no denying in that.”

Stockman added, “That just goes along with any major case that happens. There’s going to be media coverage and there is going to be folks on either side taking advantage of that or trying to get in the spotlight and push their case in any certain direction.”

Law & Crime Network is not alone in the true crime market, other networks like Court TV and the True Crime Network are willful adversaries but Stockman says Law & Crime does something the others don’t, have a diverse case group.

“We’ll cover the wide range, whereas a lot of times our competitors will narrow in on one case. We’re everywhere and covering everything from all different angles and sides.”

Stockman added “We really have had a huge focus on our social as a strategy. Social first.”

The network is planning on continuing its growth in 2024. and while Stockman couldn’t get into specifics she did tell BNM, “We are going to be launching some more YouTube channels. In the crime space, we’re working to increase our distribution for our linear channel and get on more OTT platforms.” 

Stockman added, “We’re going to continue to be the leader in true crime, making sure we’re the ones that are on top of all the major cases and bring our audience the biggest the latest developments.”

Note: Krystina Alarcon Carroll worked at Law & Crime Network in 2021.

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Angelo Cataldi Still Loud After All These Years

He writes with good humor about the many athletes, celebrities, and politicians he has interviewed on the air or dealt with in other settings with enough detail to quench the reader’s appetite.

Andy Bloom



A photo of Angelo Cataldi
(Photo: Audacy)

For 33 years, Angelo Cataldi set the Philadelphia-regions sports agenda and ruled the morning airwaves. Nine months after hanging up the headphones, Cataldi gives birth to an autobiographical book called “Loud.”

Because Angelo’s roots are in journalism, it isn’t surprising that the book is a good read and highly instructional for anybody interested in building audiences or creating content.

The story begins with Cataldi, the son of a toolmaker and a housewife, growing up in Providence, Rhode Island. He describes himself as “the quintessential dork,” something he professes without a wink and nod. Throughout the book, Cataldi frequently uses authorial intrusion, where he steps out of his role, narrating his story to tell the reader his current thoughts. It works in “Loud.”

Cataldi goes from hustling his way through the University of Rhode Island in three years to applying for admission to the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, “eliciting a snort” from his professor. All these years later, he still isn’t sure how he got in, but it became the basis for his long and successful career in newspapers and radio.

At Columbia, Cataldi meets Norman Isaacs, who he credits with changing his life. He convinces Isaacs to allow him to create a program on sports. Sports wasn’t considered true journalism at the time. However, there are conditions, some of which became life-long credos for Cataldi. He had to ask the toughest questions and hold people in power accountable. The rule was no hero worshipping; you are not friends with the people you cover. It’s something Cataldi learned and demonstrated throughout his career.

At Columbia, he also learned to tape his interviews. He returned to Providence after graduation and endured a year of consumer reporting before covering the Celtics. His first big assignment is an interview with the newly signed Larry Bird. Cataldi ends up with a scoop that Bird then denies saying. However, Cataldi taped the interview. Cataldi ends the chapter with “Gotcha.”

In “Loud,” Cataldi takes readers through the many stunts, events, highlights, and lowlights of his life and career, including bouts with depression and anxiety—the end of his first marriage, becoming an adjunct professor (and an excellent stunt he performs while teaching) and meeting Gail, his wife of over 20 years now.

Cataldi devotes pages to his teammates on the show, especially his longtime on-air partner, Al Morganti, who is both hero and anti-hero. Cataldi writes an intriguing portrayal of Al, including his run-in with the late actor Ray Liotta.

He writes with good humor about the many athletes, celebrities, and politicians he has interviewed on the air or dealt with in other settings with enough detail to quench the reader’s appetite.

It’s a little surprising to learn the depth of Cataldi’s personal relationships with listeners off the air. He writes, “One thing I definitely got right was acknowledging from the very beginning that they (the listeners) would be the ultimate judge of my work, not the sports teams and not even my bosses.” On this, he was almost always on point.

The book includes details of road trips with listeners, a listener dying during a broadcast, his own near-death experience, a chainsaw-related injury, and, on a happier note, a kidney donation from one listener to another, among other stories.

Then there are his bosses, including me. When Angelo retired last February, I wrote a column comparing him and Howard Stern.

Stern had Pig Virus (the real-life Kevin Metheny, WNBC PD) portrayed brilliantly in the movie “Private Parts” by Paul Giamatti as Pig Vomit – Kenny Rushton. Angelo had the late Tom Bigby. The two clashed to the point that eventually, Cataldi insisted on and was granted a clause in his contract that prevented Bigby from criticizing or sanctioning him.

The book is personal to me. I was the operations manager at WIP for eight of Angelo’s 33 years (2007-2015). Cataldi had no clause preventing me from such interactions. When I learned he was writing a book, I wondered how he would portray me. The answer: barely. I’m mentioned mostly surrounding an unfortunate incident during Cataldi’s 2008 Phillies championship parade remote broadcast.

Back at the station, people not named by Cataldi were jamming an unmerciful number of commercials into his show. Some of the details aren’t totally correct, but the overall point of the story is true. Throughout the book, I found minor points to correct, but they are all picayune, and none change the material points Cataldi makes.

After Stern, Cataldi is the most talented and successful air personality I have worked with. Reading “Loud” taught me much more about Angelo than I knew. I wish I had all this knowledge on the first day of our relationship.

I’ve previously written about our rocky start. The Eagles decided to test me and pushed me to reign in Angelo literally on my first day at WIP. It caused us to go nose to nose. Only after our shouting match did I realize I’d been set up, and I backed down.

Cataldi writes about me, “He was not Bigby. From that point on, our relationship improved dramatically. For most of his eight years with us, Andy became our loudest and proudest advocate in management.” That’s actually high praise from Cataldi. If I had handled the Eagles first test better, Angelo and I would have accomplished much more.

“Loud” demonstrates that Cataldi misread some of my actions and motives. It’s tough to earn his trust, but ultimately, I didn’t communicate with him well enough.

“Loud” contains much about Cataldi and the Eagles, including owner Jeff Lurie, former President/GM Joe Banner, and his nemesis – Andy Reid. For the book, Cataldi asked former WIP GM Butch Forester if Lurie ever tried to have him fired. Forester answered the question the same way I would: I am unaware that anybody in the Eagles organization ever asked for his firing, but they did not like him.

Contrary to popular belief, Angelo was not wholly unreasonable. I never again told him what opinion to have or topics he could or couldn’t have on the air; never suggested which callers or how long they should be on.

That’s not to suggest I agreed with everything he did, but he had the highest ratings on WIP each month over eight years, with rare exceptions. Commonsense dictated to worry about the other shows and leave the morning show alone.

Over the years, I reasoned with Cataldi to keep his opinions based on performance, not personal. I think Angelo inherently understood this, but we navigated the line together. At some point, he realized it had become too intensely personal between Banner and him beyond the point of being in the listeners’ best interest.

Whether Cataldi agrees or not, my assessment is he toned down the personal attacks after my first couple of years. That made it easier not to go crazy when he occasionally crossed that line.

For those who never attended a Wing Bowl, you missed something spectacular. The days and weeks surrounding Wing Bowl were some of the most intense periods for everybody at WIP. Cataldi writes about the history of the dazzling event.

Cataldi denounces some of his past work, particularly Wing Bowl (much like Stern has done of his past work). However, he understood the value of doing a final Wing Bowl instead of retroactively announcing there would be no future Wing Bowls after the Eagles won their first Super Bowl in 2018.

He writes, “For most of 2018, I argued in vain to hold one final Wing Bowl and to bill it as our last hurrah. What do you say, guys? Let’s do this for the fans. Let’s give our listeners closure. Other than me, the vote was unanimous: No. Wing Bowl was dead.”

Wrong! One programmer would have vociferously argued that doing exactly what you imagined was vital. The idea for the prize for the finale was brilliant! (We had a lot more to accomplish, Ang).

The part that made working with Angelo easy was that he understood it was all about the audience and almost always got it right. He wasn’t there to make friends. He admires listeners and a handful of people – mainly Tom Brookshier.

Early on, when Brookshier had the temperamental Bobby Knight on, Cataldi learned another lesson: “Don’t change the tone of the show to serve your own needs.” When I thought this had happened, was the only time I would speak to Cataldi about content. He would push back but, upon reflection, often back down without saying anything further to me.

What made Cataldi difficult was that his logic didn’t always make sense. Nothing makes that more straightforward than his feelings about Buddy Ryan and Charlie Manuel.

He writes Buddy Ryan was “Heavy, loud, brash, and uninterested in how other people (beyond the customers) saw him.” Remove “heavy” and substitute “listeners” for “customers,” and that sentence would be a fair description of Angelo Cataldi.

Forgetting whether Ryan was a good or bad coach, Buddy understood and played to the fans. It seems after all these years, Angelo looks back at him more forgivingly. Ryan could have served as Cataldi’s inspiration.

His case against Manuel comes down to two things: 1) Charlie’s stammering southern accent (Cataldi calls him a “country bumpkin.” 2) The team’s failure to win more than one World Series. It’s a great sports conversation; should the 2007-2011 Phillies have more than one championship? Angelo can make a good case.

The shame is that Cataldi never spoke with Manuel. My thoughts were like Cataldi’s – until I had a couple of opportunities to talk with Manuel. I’m not friends with Charlie Manuel. I haven’t spoken to him in years and don’t have his contact info, but he’s smart – like a fox.

“Loud” is intriguing, as is its author, Angelo Cataldi. The hardest part about writing this column was deciding – to quote a Bob Seger song – “what to leave in and what to leave out.” I enjoyed the book. Cataldi writes well and is an excellent storyteller. There are many surprises that I have left out but are worth reading.

Further, Cataldi was a master at building an audience-focused product that consistently finished in the top two men 25-54 and top five adults 25-54 for several decades in the competitive Philadelphia market. For anybody looking to create content that builds large audiences, “Loud” is an excellent primer.

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ESPN Doesn’t Eat Their Own Dog Food

As a consumer, can’t I be offered something better?  And for the advertiser, is showing me the same spot or even multiple executions 10-15 times over a few hours the best use of advertising dollars?



A photo of the ESPN+ logo

If you check Wikipedia, which has become the font of all knowledge, you’ll see that the term “Eat Your Own Dog Food” may have come from the Lorne Greene Alpo spots of the ‘70s, or perhaps Microsoft. I picked it up from Fred Jacobs of Jacobs Media and he used it to refer to listening to your station, especially the streams, which were often pretty bad. Not audio quality, but the presentation. 

When I was at Cumulus, I used to listen to a few of the company outlets online, and at one point, I would hear the same PSAs running five and six times in a row in a stop set. The issue was duly reported to corporate engineering and to their credit, the problem was fixed. It’s always a good maxim for programmers to listen to their stations and make sure that what’s going out, whether on-air or online, sounds as good as it can.

That brings me to the video streaming experience. I’m a hockey fan and have a subscription to ESPN+, which gives me access to most of the out-of-market NHL games that aren’t on a national platform. It’s great to have access to the games, as well as some of the more esoteric sports options that you can watch. Where else would you get to see Northwoods League baseball? How about lower-level college football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and volleyball, men’s and women’s, among other sports? 

After last week’s column, you know that I’m a student at Western Kentucky University and most of their football games were on ESPN+. Who could miss the epic battle between WKU and Sam Houston State? And then, there’s cricket. I’m still trying to figure out the rules, but it’s entertaining to watch. One of these days I’ll try the Hindi version…maybe that will help!

Here’s the rub: ESPN, apparently, doesn’t eat their own dog food, or if they do, they don’t care.  When I started in the business many years ago, it used to be that you wanted to get a three-frequency for an ad campaign. During one recent cricket match, I scored at least a twelve frequency for a particular Hyundai vehicle. The spot was in every break! 

Recently, I watched the Washington Capitals/Arizona Coyotes game and as a Caps fan, it was a complete disaster with Arizona scoring five goals in the first period! Beyond the awful result, my frequency for Target ads was at least ten times and probably more (I wasn’t counting). And I’m now glad to know that we may be in the NHL’s golden age having seen this message over and over as well as being intimately aware of what the Geico gecko has been up to recently. 

Some spots would start, but didn’t time out correctly for the break, so they were dropped partway through to put the game back on. Having watched the Capitals version of the game for many years while living in the DC area, ESPN+ would start a spot at the end of the period, when it had perhaps 5-10 seconds before the intermission show would begin. Of course, the spot was cut.

I’m not writing this to shame ESPN+ as they’re not the only culprit although other ad-supported streaming services are good enough to put a countdown timer on-screen, so I know how long I have before unmuting the spots. And live sports from disparate sources posses different challenges than prerecorded programming. 

Still, as a consumer, can’t I be offered something better? And for the advertiser, is showing me the same spot or even multiple executions 10-15 times over a few hours the best use of advertising dollars? 

If this is the promise of programmatic, maybe we need more Herb Tarleks after all.

You probably don’t have an operation the size of ESPN, but you can eat your own dog food.  Most PDs are fanatics about doing that, but if you’re not, get with the plan now. Your audience is unlikely to be as fanatic as this Caps fan and the PPM will not forgive your mistakes.

Let’s meet again next week

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