For almost eight years I've had a self-imposed rule about having active politicians on the podcast. I just didn't think you could have an interesting conversation with someone who was spouting talking points and regurgitating party messaging. I broke this rule earlier today when I had the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, Steven Del Duca, on Toronto Mike'd.
I've had a few questions about this episode, so I thought I'd share the details in a good ol' fashioned blog entry. Enjoy this peek behind the scenes.
It All Started on March 13
That's the date seared in my mind because it's the last day I picked up the kids at school and daycare. That's the day everything changed and we started physically distancing. That's also the day a member of Steven Del Duca's team reached out to see if I'd have Steven on Toronto Mike'd.
This individual was listening to my conversation with Toronto Star writer David Rider (recorded earlier that day) and thought it would be interesting to hear my "interviewing style and Steven’s conversational approach". I mulled it over, considered my rule, then decided it would be worth breaking that rule for a new challenge. I was game, but I didn't want to do it via Zoom, so it took 5 months to come to fruition.
A Staffer Brought a Chair for Steven
I was all set up when a staffer arrived 15 minutes ahead of Steven with a couple of chairs and a bottled water. I was told it was part of the new process during the pandemic, and that my interview with Steven was his first in-person interview since March 13. I didn't take it personally.
Steven Was Accompanied by His Chief of Staff
Steven drove himself, but was accompanied by his Chief of Staff, Najva Amin. Najva was very nice and she came in handy 8 minutes into the live video stream when it started to rain and I asked her to hold an umbrella over my gear while I scrambled to find another one. Thank you Najva!
Never Once Was I Told What I Could Ask
From the moment of contact on March 13 until the moment I'm typing these words, there was no attempt by Steven nor his staffers to influence the content of this episode. I asked for an hour and I felt free to ask and say anything I desired. Of course I was going to talk about the swimming pool and GO Stations, and it's safe to assume the gentleman who arranged this knew I would. Afterall, he's a listener. There were no ground rules.
I Didn't Do This Because Steven is Liberal
Let me be very, very clear about this. I decided to break my active politician rule because Steven is the leader of a major political party, and not because he's the leader of the Liberal Party. I would have done the same had the proposed guest been Doug Ford, Andrea Horwath or Mike Schreiner.
On that note, I'd still be happy to have Doug Ford, Andrea Horwath and Mike Schreiner on Toronto Mike'd. Contact me if you'd like to make that happen.
Did I Mention the Rain?
This was only the second episode of Toronto Mike'd with the new backyard configuration. With this new layout, the large deck umbrella is beside the guest, meaning I'm at the mercy of the elements. Minutes before Steven arrived, it was a very sunny day with clear skies above. Mere minutes after I started to record, that changed. A dark cloud appeared seemingly out of nowhere and when I felt the first drops I realized I was in trouble. The $800 board and $2500 laptop were at risk, not to mention the pricey microphone and webcams.
Luckily, the rain was light and relatively short lived, and the show went on without another hitch. And besides, it isn't about waiting for the storm to pass... It's about learning to dance in the rain.
Today I danced.