When I was a radio reporter covering local levels of government, I never thought I would become part of a story. Oh, but it happened.

Plain Dealer Article Day After

In April of 1988, the Chardon Township Trustees banned the use of tape recorders in their meetings. It seems one of the trustees was continuously misquoted in the minutes. She ended up bringing a tape recorder to the meetings in order to make sure the minutes reflected her words correctly. In retaliation, the other two trustees passed several resolutions outlawing recording devices in the public meetings.

This is where I enter.

The station general manager, Clarence Bucaro, thought it would be a good idea if I covered the next trustee meeting to see what would happen. He heard there were going to be several local citizens showing up with recording devices. He wanted me to show up with my tape recorder.

Well, I did use a tape recorder for my job, I WAS a radio reporter and all.

After giving me advice on what I was supposed to do and to say he finished with, ‘just don’t get arrested. We won’t bail you out.”

I attended the meeting and promptly plopped myself down in the front row. Something I often did at these meetings since I liked to gauge facial reactions to different situations. I slid the cassette recorder under my chair and waited.

The trustees entered the chamber, a large banquet room where I had attended several Farinacci family weddings over the years, but I digress.

New Herald Article the day after

Once the chair gaveled the meeting open, I reached down and started my recorder, just as my GM had instructed. As soon as the meeting began, the chair announced that all recording devices should be turned off or the offenders would be asked to leave.

I asked, “Why? What am I doing to disrupt the meeting? I’m a radio reporter. This is how I take notes.”

After being threatened with detainment by the Chardon Police, I exited the meeting…as instructed. So did several other residents who did not want to spend the rest of the night behind bars.

But my involvement doesn’t end there. Oh no. Not one but TWO newspapers quoted me in articles the next day.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter used what I said during the meeting for a story the next day and a followup story a day later.

The Willoughby News Herald reporter was only able to reach me much later that evening…ahem…at my home away from home; Nemeth’s lounge.

She called the radio station looking for me. Since all the other DJs knew exactly where I’d be, she called the pay phone at the bar.

Yet another followup story

So there I was, shortly after being kicked out of a public meeting, drinking a BV and coke, chatting with a News Herald reporter on a pay phone at a noisy bar, so she could get a quote.

My parents must have been so proud when they saw those articles over the next couple of days.