WHY I’LL NEVER FORGET COLIN POWELL
I’ve been fortunate that in my twenty-five years in radio I’ve gotten to meet many famous people. Rarely do they reveal anything that gives one an insight to the person behind the headlines. With the exception of Colin Powell.
His new autobiography, My American Journey, had just been released in November of 1995 and he was on a book tour across the states when he was a guest on The Michael Jackson Show on KABC Radio. This was two years after he resigned as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and five years before he would become the Secretary of State under George W. Bush.
Whenever a big name celebrity or politician was coming to the station there was a buzz in the building. This was no different. The staff was as eager to catch a glimpse of Mr. Powell as was I. We were all a bit surprised that unlike others of his stature, there was no drama, no secret service with their bomb sniffing dogs, just a great interview.
After Michael thanked him for coming on the program and as he was about to leave the studio there were about thirty people swarming outside the studio door, hoping for a picture or to get an autograph. We forewarned him while we were still in the studio, so he was prepared by the many fans at the station who were eager to meet him. I offered him another way out but he declined, telling me he’d be honored to meet them.
Being the ever efficient producer I got them all lined people up in single file and we started taking pictures. Those that had books got an autograph.
When it was finally was my turn for a picture I gave my camera to my co-producer Lyle Gregory. I was standing next to Mr. Powell when Lyle snapped our picture. I started walking away when the four-star General lightly grabbed my arm, pulled me back and said, “I was not looking at the camera. We need to take another picture.”
While that may not sound like a big deal to you, it was for me. In my twenty-five years in radio, I’ve met many stars and politicians and have the pictures to prove it. But never, has anyone been that thoughtful about making sure a picture is taken right. This little act, gave me a much bigger insight as to who Colin Powell, the man is.