From interviewing Amazon’s Jeff Bezos when he first started talking about selling books on the Internet to interviewing a peanut farmer who would go on to be president to being engulfed in the horror of 9/11, Fred Fishkin’s career as a reporter could have been written in Hollywood. Since the 1970s, he has been the ears of the listener allowing them to hear the story; sometimes unfolding in real-time via a payphone or over a period of days via his award-winning investigative reporting.
The above interview, filmed via video conference due to the COVID-19 shutdown, provides a glimpse of how developed and continues to develop his craft. Along the way, he tells his own Good Morning Vietnam-like story and how that shaped his career and life. His career and life continue to intersect and a technology hobby, intended to spark an interest in computers for his kids, led to a new radio segment on New York City’s WCBS.
Fishkin brought this segment, Bootcamp, with him to Bloomberg Radio. With Bootcamp as the soil, Fred planted his own independent venture, Techstination, which is syndicated on radio and the Internet. That venture begat the SmartDrivingCar podcast, which he co-hosts with Princeton’s Dr. Alain Kornhauser.
Highlights from the above interview include:
- Techstination explained
- It all started in Korea – Parallels with Good Morning Vietnam?
- 16 hours a day in radio led to work with NPR and then WCBS
- An Edward R. Murrow award for investigative reporting from the National Radio and Television News Directors Association
- A desire to help his kids learn, helped him learn technology and changed his path
- Bootcamp is born and Fishkin recounts hearing from Jeff Bezos about selling books on the Internet
- Bootcamp moves to Bloomberg Radio
- Techstination is born
- Which leads to the SmartDrivinCar podcast with Dr. Alain Kornhauser
- He provides his insight on interviews and coverage of folks like Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Ed Koch, Mario Cuomo, Stephen King & Robin Williams
- Remaining objective and reporting the horror of 9/11
- The upbeat beat of Techstination and the next big thing and its parallels to broadband
[The comment at the end of the segment about me paying Fred for his nice compliment was an attempt at humor. Fred’s comment was very much appreciated, particularly coming from someone with such a journalism pedigree. Thanks, Fred!]