Radio host John Gambling tells how to conduct an interview
John Gambling, 61, of Nassau County, is a third generation host on WOR, following his grandfather, John Gambling and his father John A. Gambling. Mayor Michael Bloomberg - who followed Gambling to WOR from WABC - is his guest most Friday mornings from 8 to 9 a.m. in Gambling's 6 to 10 a.m. time slot. Gambling and his wife Wendy live on the North Shore of LI and have three sons - twins Andrew and Bradley, 31 and William, 26.
Q: What's the secret to a good interview?
A: Ask the questions everyone else asks - who, what, when, where and why - but then sit back and listen to what the person has to say! Don't worry about your next question. Be in the moment and ask a follow-up. You hear people on radio and television asking question after question just to show how smart they are. They're not listening! The interview is the meat on the bone but what goes on between the interviews is the crispy skin on the turkey.
Q: Tell us something about Mayor Michael Bloomberg we may not know.
A: He's an average golfer. I'm an average golfer, too. NY is going to be shocked when they get their next mayor because the city will fall into the same political morass it was in prior to Giuliani. The Mayor approaches a lot of things as the businessman he is and analyzes the facts. He's so much less beholden to anyone or anything than those before him - he can make decisions in a much cleaner way. Bloomberg isn't perfect, but he's done a marvelous job. I criticized him when that deputy mayor Stephen Goldsmith left for not revealing why he was dismissed. (A month after Goldsmith resigned his post on August 4 it was revealed that Goldsmith had been arrested for domestic violence - a charge he contested - after a fight with his wife in their Washington D.C. home.) My criticism was all over the media that weekend. I happened to see the Mayor at a Sept. 11 memorial dinner about a week later and asked him if he was still speaking to me. He said, "of course!"
Q: What has someone spilled on your show that just made your jaw hang open?
A: I can't say. But I can tell you I had the opportunity three or four times to interview Charlton Heston. He's like a regular person but he's this gigantic silver screen super star! It was like Moses himself walking into the studio!
Q You're a third generation Gambling on the radio. Any chance one of your three boys will ramble in your footsteps?
A: I don't think so. They all trained as engineers - not radio engineers. I'm perfectly fine with that. Nothing goes on forever. The masses are still focused on conventional radios, but the internet will change everything. People are listening to me now in Australia and Switzerland. I'm very impressed with what Glenn Beck has done by having his own Internet station.
Q: What lessons have you learned from interviewing so many people?
A: Sometimes, regular people who find themselves in silly or extraordinary situations are the best. One guy was sailing on a boat to Bermuda that all but sank in a hurricane. You learn you just never give up: That's the solution! You just take all your experiences and always look positively toward the outcome.