Coronavirus response, politicians' fall, elections and an interview with N.Y.C. Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez
InSight by GovSight
InSight by GovSight. This week, Political Director Joe Magliocco takes over the host's mic. Listen to updates on COVID-19's reach and government's measures to mitigate it, elections and the first installment of "Sh*tty Politics." Plus, we get an exclusive interview with New York City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, who is working on the coronavirus response in the United States' COVID-19 epicenter.
Gersh and Vince take on bike rentals, Ydanis Rodriguez, and Ryan Rzepecki
Brooklyn Paper Radio
Revenge is a dish best served — on Brooklyn Paper Radio! This week’s broadcast was a barn-burning thumping of Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez for changing his mind about appearing on our show after, he claimed, The Brooklyn Paper posted a story making fun of him.Let’s go to the audiotape!To open the show, co-host Gersh Kuntzman first described how Rodriguez (D–Manhattan) declined to comment for Kuntzman’s Daily News column on CitiBike. Kuntzman sought Rodriguez’s comments repeatedly because the councilman is the chairman of the Transportation Committee. When he didn’t get a call back, Kuntzman pounced.“I’m not sure if he’s dodging or if his office is merely incompetent,” Kuntzman wrote in the article. “In any event, term limits will happily fix that.”Sure enough, Rodriguez’s aide called Kuntzman and offered Rodriguez up for an interview on Brooklyn Paper Radio — so Brooklyn Paper then posted my story heralding the hour-long interview.As Rick Perry might say, “Oops.” The Brooklyn Paper story suggested that Kuntzman had “bullied” Rodriguez into appearing on the show, but it also made fun of Kuntzman, co-host Vince DiMiceli, and the show’s producer “Jimmy or Johnny or whatever his name is.”Still, after reading the article, Rodriguez’s aide, Russell Murphy, pulled his boss out of the hotly anticipated interview, claiming we were “hostile” to Rodriguez.“This is how you treat guests on your show?” Murphy wrote to Kuntzman in an e-mail shared with the Brooklyn Paper. “We … kindly agreed to participate in the radio show. We were not bullied into it. Nor is our office incompetent.”We’ll let the readers and listeners decide. Both Kuntzman and DiMiceli e-mailed Murphy in hopes he would reconsider.“Our job with the preview story was to do what all preview stories do: get readers to say, ‘Wow, I gotta listen to that show!’ ” Kuntzman told Murphy, again in an e-mail somehow leaked to Brooklyn Paper. “And the resulting interview makes your boss look better not worse. You know that. Please make the councilman available as promised. Our goal is to let him share his views with the public, which is his goal, too.”Murphy did not respond. So DiMiceli offered his own request.“I pointed out that our readers — like you, the person reading this right now — understand that the story was written with tongue planted firmly in cheek,” DiMiceli said. “And that everyone who comes on the show is treated fairly, and usually has a good time. You understand, don’t you?”Murphy did not respond directly, but posted on Twitter: “You can’t attack your guests (2x) and expect them to want to go on your radio show.”So what did Kuntzman and DiMiceli do? They spent most of this week’s show blasting Rodriguez for failing to appear on the show.“Yes, I’m a newshole,” Kuntzman said, coining a term that captures the definition of the take-no-prisoners journalist that he is. “I wanted Rodriguez to comment for my story, and when he didn’t, I reacted.”On the show, Kuntzman did allow that Rodriguez is a true champion of bicycling and bike safety, but that didn’t stop the scribe from blasting the councilman and his aide for cowardice in hiding behind umbrage rather than letting the people hear from their elected officials.“Rodriguez is great on bikes, but not so good on hiring,” Kuntzman said.In the end, Kuntzman and DiMiceli, the Lennon and McCartney of community journalism, did what they do best: After Rodriguez bailed, they invited Ryan Rzepecki, head of the Brooklyn-based dockless bike share company Social Bicycles, to get all the good press that Rodriguez would have gotten.Rzepecki, a former city Transportation Department official, eloquently argued that the city should consider allowing dockless bike rental companies to complement the failing CitiBike system, whose expansion has stalled, as Kuntzman pointed out in the Daily News.But not before DiMiceli questioned his and other bicycle renting companies use of the term “bike sharing,” when, in fact, all they are doing is renting bicycles.“Now, a library, that’s a book-sharing service,” DiMiceli said. “You only pay, like a nickel, if your bring a book back late.”And in the end, Rzepecki also pointed out that Rodriguez has a decent record on the so-called “bike sharing.”As we said, it was one heck of a show. Ydanis Rodriguez missed out on the fun — and the Brooklyn Paper bounce.“He’s still welcome anytime,” DiMiceli said. “Maybe when Gersh is on vacation?”Brooklyn Paper radio is recorded and podcast live every Thursday at 4:45 pm — for your convenience — from our studio in America’s Downtown and can be found, as always, right here on BrooklynPaper.com, on iTunes, and of course, on Stitcher.