WILLIAM O’SHAUGHNESSY INTERVIEWING WESTCHESTER COUNTY EXECUTIVE GEORGE LATIMER AT HIS ANNUAL ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARTY ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY DURING HIS TRADITIONAL LIVE BROADCAST ON MARCH 17 5 WEEKS AGO –AN ANNUAL EVENT WHERE HE INTERVIEWED WESTCHESTER PERSONALITIES, FRIENDS, THE FAMOUS, EVERY YEAR WITH CORNBEEF AND CABBAGE AND UNFORGETTABLE ADLIB INTERVIEWS. HE WAS GOOD.
WPCNR MILESTONES. By John F. Bailey. May 28, 2022:
You had to listen to him when you heard his voice.
He commanded your attention like the greats, Murrow, Sevareid, Cronkite.
He had a smooth medium pitched delivery without excessive gravitas, that talked not at you but with you, as if he was talking with you in a conversation with a persuasion through reason that was Socratic in sequence. Interviewing Socrates will probably be first on his list on the Heavenly News Network.
He was the Voice of Reason when he delivered smooth, clear-cut reasoned, splendid essays and opinions on his own radio station.
An announcement that a William O’Shaughnessy editorial was coming up next commanded your attention like a bulletin.
You would not miss it.
His opinions were heard on Radio 1460 WVOX RADIO when Westchester County was turning into “The Golden Apple,” the sobriquet “Mr. O.” coined to uplift the county image and his radio station. He observed commented and convinced with his unique voice.
You heard his voice on WVOX Radio for 50 years since he had acquired the station in the late 1950s.
He invented a radio format of programs of local experts, professionals, politicians, lawyers who talked about local issues, problems, who interviewed persons on their shows and took telephone calls from Westchester residents who expressed concerns. That format is still operating today 7 days a week, 24/7 with relevant local talk shows during the broadcast day and music through the night.
While I believe all commercial radio stations in the tri-state area generally use syndicated programs now specializing in national issues, WVOX is a throwback to radio stations that were “your friend” your companion, which gave you local news, and locally known personalities–who cared. Those days are gone.
Mr. O’Shaughnessy promoted his station as not a jukebox, but a Voice of the People (Vox Populi).
I was invited to do a news segment on WVOX’s Good Morning Westchester 8 years ago. It was only 10 minutes, but I was honored because I have always loved radio. I had been doing the slot, and one morning after I was hanging around after the broadcast on the program. Mr. O’Shaughnessy came into the studio. He shook my hand and told me You’re good. You are very good.”
It was a highlight of my life I will always remember.
Mr. O’Shaughnessy liked people and it showed in his interviews with them. He is the best interviewer I have ever listened to.
He was perhaps Westchester County’s best known person who got along with the rich, the powerful, the activist, the business tycoon, and in his criticisms and opinions and interactions he never hurt and always even if he did not know you, he had the instinct for asking the question that you the listener wanted to ask. He mastered the adlib interview and interviews with persons he knew personally and when he did his marathon St. Patrick’s Day broadcasts, they were fascinating how he drew out persons with exactly the subject that excited them, and the listener would get excited too.
He wrote books that chronicle the history of Westchester the last 70 years: Airwaves, It All Comes Back to Me Now, More Riffs, Rants and Raves, Vox Populi, and Mario Cuomo. They are collections of editorials, essays and interviews he originally voiced on the air.
For 50 years, WVOX has reflected what is happening in Westchester and its towns and cities and it still did this week.
Mr. O’Shaughnessy never changed his philosophy and in More Riffs, Rants and Raves he has this wisdom to share as he leaves, but through his writings. And hopefully the immortal WVOX Radio Westchester will always have.
Here is Mr. O’Shaughnessy’s philosophy:
“Even in this high-tech, speeded-up, cyber day and age, radio is still the medium closest to the people.
It thus has a very special and intimate relationship with the poor, the lonely, the hurting, the misunderstood, the disenfranchised in our society.
A radio station achieves its highest calling when it resembles a platform, a forum for the expression of many viewpoints. And when it aspires to be more than a jukebox, radio can make a community stronger, better, even sweeter than it is.”
William O’Shaughnessy did that.
Services at Lloyd Maxcy, 16 Shea Place, New Rochelle, NY. Tuesday, May 31st from 3:00- 7:00PM. Funeral Mass on Wednesday, June 1st, 11:30 AM at St. Anthony of Padua, 49 South Street, Litchfield, CT, Monsignor Tucker, presiding.
Bill and the O’Shaughnessy Family will be grateful for contributions to the Broadcasters Foundation of America, a national charity whose work and Noble Mission meant so much to WO and those hurting and almost forgotten colleagues in the broadcasting profession: The William O’Shaughnessy Memoriatiml Tribute Fund c/o Broadcasters Foundation of America, 125 West 55th Street, New York, NY 10019 c/o Tim McCarthy and Jim Thompson, co-presidents, 212-373-8250. http://broadcastersfoundation.org/donate/