Join Me for “It’s Only Humiliation! Lessons of a Celebrity Interviewer”

September 28, 2015

This is going to be one memorable evening and I want to see you there. Part entertaining talk, part master class with tips on how to have you communicating like the pros. It’s taking place Friday, October 2nd at the Berrie Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Ramapo College in Mahwah, NJ. 8PM.

I’ve spent two decades interviewing everyone in every walk of life: leaders in politics, religion, everyday folks in extraordinary circumstances. But most notable are my interviews with entertainers. And from them, believe me, I have learned a lot. In fact, I’ve discovered things about life through my celebrity interviews that are actually useful in the day to day lives of us “regular” folks.

Oh, and the very first celebrity lesson of the night…is the answer to why “it’s only humiliation.”

I’m also sharing some personal stories about the rocky road that led me to tv news.

Here’s the info and I’ll see you Friday night! http://www.ramapo.edu/berriecenter/event/john-bathke/


2014 The Year of “ON THE SCENE”

December 30, 2014

First of all, I just received year-end statistics for this blog and it’s attracted readers from 48 countries this year. That is astounding and I’m grateful for your interest.

There are many “ON THE SCENE” interviews from 2014 that I will long remember. Oscar winner, Rita Moreno, was candid and compelling when we sat down in New York this past January. In fact, the quote of the year award goes to her. When I asked Moreno what she felt the first time she met a young Marlon Brando, she said, “I felt heat, physical heat. The walls were sweating.” They went on to have an eight year affair.

The Moreno interview was a finalist for a National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award given by the Los Angeles Press Club. (Another interview of mine taped last year with musician Southside Johnny was one of the winners of that award).

And a joy for us this past summer was an interview with married comedians Rich Vos and Bonnie McFarlane. They host the popular podcast “My Wife Hates Me” in addition to touring their individual stand up comedy acts. They ripped on each other as they are known to do, but were also revealing about their comedy and what drew them to each other as a couple. I heard from many viewers who loved that interview.

And there are countless more interviews that made this year special for “ON THE SCENE” viewers and for myself. I say thank you to all of the artists who took time to speak with us and to the viewers for watching.


“ON THE SCENE” A Finalist for National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award

November 11, 2014

“ON THE SCENE” got some great news: not one, but two of our interviews are finalists for the National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award presented by the Los Angeles Press Club.

The interview that I conducted last year with rocker Southside Johnny on the Count Basie Theatre stage in Red Bank, New Jersey was singled out along with my interview earlier this year in New York with Oscar winner, Rita Moreno.

It’s always an honor to be recognized by my peers and my industry. But LA is in many ways the epicenter of entertainment journalism.  And for “ON THE SCENE” to be nominated by the journalists of LA is a tremendous honor, indeed.




ON THE SCENE: This Weekend’s Show

August 16, 2014

Regular News 12 New Jersey viewers have seen the promotional spot running often this week, seen the show times appear on the station ticker and our followers have read the tweets.   But if you follow me through the blog, here’s one final reminder!

“ON THE SCENE” is on this weekend, August 16th and 17th at 11 AM, 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM both days.  That’s Cablevision and Time Warner Channel 12, Comcast Channel 62 (1218 in HD on many systems).

Enjoy the show and let me know what you think.


‘Cocumentary’: Interviewing Rich Vos and Bonnie McFarlane

August 10, 2014

I’ve spent a lot of time with husband and wife comedians Rich Vos and Bonnie McFarlane lately. Three hours for an interview at their Hillsborough, New Jersey home…and since then countless more hours in editing suites screening the footage and now in extensive sessions with my video editor.

We finished the piece today and it will air August 16th and 17th on News 12 New Jersey at 11 AM, 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM both days.

Without a doubt, in my nine (incredible) years of hosting “ON THE SCENE” and interviewing artists in every possible genre, this is the funniest interview we have ever aired. These two stick it to each other…a constant roast Bonnie says…but there is a chemistry and charm between them that is endearing.

Their new film (they call it a cocumentary…a comedy/documentary) called “Women Aren’t Funny” will be released on iTunes on August 26th.  The title is meant to be sarcastic according to Bonnie. She directed the movie after getting fed up with people who debate whether female comedians are as funny as their male counterparts.

Follow me on Twitter @johnbathkelive for continuous news about “ON THE SCENE,” who we’re interviewing and the dates these entertainment specials air.


ON THE SCENE Encore: Jim Breuer, David Benoit

January 4, 2014

This weekend is your chance to see the most surprising interview with comedian Jim Breuer. He and I sat down at the South Orange Performing Arts Center in New Jersey late last year for this interview. I asked him about his wife’s life altering battle with breast cancer, and about his caregiver relationship with is 90 year old father. What Breuer has to say will be enlightening not only to his fans, but to anyone dealing with these issues in their own family.

And composer David Benoit and I discuss his year of performing and composing music for “Peanuts.” Charlie Brown is who he saw when he looked in the mirror as a kid and he grew up to not only play that iconic music from the tv specials, but to become a “Peanuts” composer himself.

And, see who made our “Favorites of 2013” flashback.

Tune in News 12 New Jersey this Saturday and Sunday, 11 AM, 1:30 PM, and 3:30 PM. This is an encore of a program that initially aired last month and it’s the final time this episode will run. So don’t miss out!  Check back here on the blog for news or links when certain segments are posted online.


ON THE SCENE This Weekend: Jim Breuer, David Benoit and Our Best Of ’13

December 21, 2013

If you only know Jim Breuer as “Goat Boy” from his Saturday Night Live years, or the stoner characters he’s played…you will be shocked by the interview you’ll see “ON THE SCENE” this weekend. He speaks with me openly about his wife’s brave battle against breast cancer, caring for his 90 year old father who is in deteriorating health and the crisis it caused in his parents’ marriage. 

And I sit down at the piano with composer David Benoit on a snowy Friday afternoon at the South Orange Performing Arts Center. When our previously scheduled artist was stuck for hours at the Nashville airport and couldn’t make the interview, David  jumped in that very afternoon and welcomed “ON THE SCENE” to his rehearsal. It’s an interesting interview and you’ll learn why this composer credited as being one of the originators of the “smooth jazz” genre…loathes the term. 

And I look forward to this every year: our Best Of list, a compilation of our favorites interviews of the year just ending. See who made the list!  Watch News 12 New Jersey Saturday and Sunday, December 21st and 22nd, at 11 AM, 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM each day to catch “ON THE SCENE.”

From all of us, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and thanks for supporting our show.