Menu: DJ And Woodstock Chronicler Pete Fornatale Talks Tim Russert, Rubbernecking & “House Hippies”


Today’s media- Morning Media Menu podcast got a visit from a pro, as longtime radio DJ Pete Fornatale joined hosts Jason Boog of GalleyCat and AgencySpy‘s Matt Van Hoven to discuss the day’s media headlines and Fornatale’s recent projects.

“I miss Tim Russert,” Fornatale said while discussing the weekend’s story about a possible truce between General Electric-owned NBC and Fox News that has silenced attacks between Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly. “I really miss Tim Russert because that was the place you could go to for civilized conversation, even between combatants.”

Russert was also on Fornatale’s list of people to interview for his book, “Back to the Garden: The Story of Woodstock.” Russert attended Woodstock in 1969, Fornatale said. “But before I could reach out to him, he was gone.”

Also discussed: The New York Post ending its dispute with ESPN over its coverage of the Erin Andrews scandal and reports that companies are trolling the Internet for any mention of their company, good or bad.

Regarding the latter, Fornatale said, “It reminds me of the record business in the late ’60s, which was just so straight arrow that they didn’t know what to do with this new genre of progressive rock represented by groups like Cream or Jimi Hendrix. So what they did was that each company hired what came to be known as the ‘House Freak’ or the ‘House Hippie,’ the person who could speak to those groups and not make them feel alienated from the corporate culture that they were getting involved with. That is going on right now.”

Speaking of the 1960’s, Fornatale also talked his recent book about Woodstock. “It was so obvious that this was going to be a watershed moment that I started collecting — in the first year after the festival — first person accounts from people backstage, from people on stage and from people in the audience,” he explained. “My original intention was to do it for radio specials, which I have done over the course of the last 40 years.” Using his original interviews as a starting point, Fornatale worked with his son to fill in the gaps and create the completed finished product, just in time to coincide with the festival’s 40th anniversary.

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