The voice of CBS’s “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” Shadoe Stevens, was the host of the American Top 40 broadcast in 120 countries. The world’s youngest disc jockey began his career on radio in 1958 at just 11 years old on a local radio station in his hometown of Jamestown, N.D. Shadoe created and currently hosts “MentalRadio” on SiriusXM Channel 165 and is the co-founder and creator of the rock station “Cabo Wabo Radio” for former Van Halen lead singer, Sammy Hagar. On television, Shadoe starred in “Dave’s World,” “Max Monroe: Loose Cannon,” and was a regular on “Hollywood Squares.”
ROBIN BRONK: If you had five minutes in the Oval Office with President Obama, what would you discuss with him? What issue would you like him to know about?
SHADOE STEVENS: Cynicism. The media bombards us with alarming tales well-calculated to keep us in suspense, and conservatives paint pictures of doom designed to put them in control. And yet, despite the avalanche of negative information, I refuse to sink into cynicism. I know there are millions of high-minded, thoughtful people who have not given up, and innumerable educated, visionary people doing everything they can to make it a better world.
SS: Mr. President, I also have two daughters and I’m concerned about their futures. Will Medicare be around for them? And how do I audition for the Sergeant at Arms job? Not only do I have the voice for it, but I can really glare.
RB: What piece of advice would you give President Obama?
SS: Keep your sense of humor. Remember, a sense of humor is the only sense that makes any sense and the only sense that makes the other senses worthwhile.
RB: If you were going to send the president to one of your favorite places in the United States for one day, where would that be? Why?
SS: Jamestown, N.D. Not only would he see the cattle and the wheat, and the folks that can’t be beat, but he’d walk through the Frontier Village and see The World’s Largest Buffalo. What’s better than that? The World’s Largest Buffalo, 60 tons of mesh, stucco, and concrete you can stand under and wave your arms. It’s a one-of-a-kind photo opportunity. If that doesn’t give you hope, nothing will. It makes tomorrow seem like yesterday, and yesterday seem like a thing of the past.
RB: What piece of music would you recommend that President Obama add to his collection?
SS: “Until the Real Thing Comes Along” by Fats Waller. It has lyrics I wish I’d written: “I’d lie for you, I’d sigh for you, tear the stars down from the skies for you, if that isn’t love it’ll have to do, until the real thing comes along.” There’s also a Billie Holiday version that’s more earnest, but Fats Waller has more life and humor.
RB: What book would you offer to lend President Obama?
SS: “Wings to Freedom” by Yogiraj Siddhanath. This book, written by a Himalayan Master, explores healing and peace; the mysteries of life, immortality and self-realization. It takes you through jungles, temples, and the supra-conscious states of yoga. He says, “For thousands of years people have tried to prove the existence of God, and they have failed. For thousands of years people have tried to disprove the existence of God, and they too, have failed. Why? Because it is impossible to comprehend an infinite creator with a finite mind. God is not a subject for proof, disproof or intellectual speculation. God is a direct experience and a one to one personal experience too.”
RB: Would you ever consider a political career?
SS: If I were as smart as Rachel Maddow and thought for one moment that I could make a difference, I wouldn’t hesitate. I’m not sure that I’m qualified, but I can be a dramatic speaker and can do it with wit, great sincerity, and absolute conviction. I could be a ventriloquist dummy for the voice of reason. Smart people with great writing skills could make me a Muppet for Democracy.
Robin Bronk is CEO of The Creative Coalition — the leading national, nonprofit, nonpartisan public advocacy organization of the entertainment industry. Bronk is a frequent speaker on the role of the entertainment industry in public advocacy campaigns and represents The Creative Coalition and its legislative agenda before members of Congress and the White House. She produced the feature film “Poliwood,” airing on Showtime, and edited the recently published book Art & Soul. Bronk pens this weekly column with assistance from Risa Kotek.