It was 1994, and the radio station I programmed was carrying Liddy’s immensely popular talk show. Liddy had started out in 1993 as a talk show host on a Washington, DC station, and within a year his fast-paced and controversial show was nationally syndicated.
I deeply disagreed with his politics, but the guy knew how to grab and hold a radio audience.
My soon-to-be wife Toni and I were attending the huge annual NAB/RTNDA convention in San Antonio. For those not familiar with the acronyms, NAB is National Association of Broadcasters, and RTNDA is Radio-TV News Directors Association, which is now known as RTDNA, Radio-TV Digital News Association. Toni represented her employer, WISC-TV, and I represented mine, the Midwest Family Broadcast Group.
We had both chosen to attend the break-out session G. Gordon Liddy was presenting, the topic of which was something like “How To Get And Hold A Talk Radio Audience.” It was held early in the afternoon of the second day of the convention, in one of the many break-out session meeting rooms at the San Antonio Convention Center.
Toni and I wanted to get to the session a little early, to be sure of getting a good seat to hear “The G-Man,” as he called himself. As it turned out, we were the first to arrive at the room, and there, ten feet away from us, seated alone at the table in the front of the room, was the man himself.
The first thing we both noticed was Liddy’s eyes. Toni called them “dead eyes.” He had a piercing gaze that immediately intimidated you. They were the eyes of a man who’s seen a lot – and probably a lot of things you wouldn’t want to know about.
He was quite affable. “Hi, welcome, c’mon in” he said to us, holding us with that deadly gaze. “You’re the first to arrive,” he added. He extended a hand and we both approached, shook hands, and he invited us to sit in the front now, not more than six feet from him. I told him my station carried his show and his face lit up. “Great! Thank you! Hope you’re happy with me!”
He’s the kind of man you want to say “yes, sir” to. So I did. I mean, this guy has seen and done everything. He was an undercover White House operative and one of the chief dirty tricksters of the Nixon era.
I don’t remember much of his presentation, only because the years have dulled my recollection.
But I’ll never forget those eyes.
Those dead eyes.