Posts Tagged ‘Interviews’


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.


Front Row LIVE! My Christopher O’Riley Interview

February 8, 2013
John Bathke & Christopher O'Riley

John Bathke & Christopher O’Riley

An enthusiastic audience of loyal music fans turned out last night for the debut of “Front Row LIVE!” at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC).  I interviewed the classical pianist Christopher O’Riley, best known for his arrangements of songs by Radiohead, Tears For Fears, Elliott Smith, Pink Floyd and Nirvana. He also hosts the NPR show, “From The Top.”

SOPAC invited me to conduct the interview following his concert there. Die hard Radiohead and traditional classical music fans gave me the thumbs up after the show so if my questions were interesting to both groups, I’m more than happy.

More shows will be announced at and I hope to see you there.



ON THE SCENE: Evolving Like An Artist

August 15, 2012

The other day I tweeted how I hoped people watching would take special note of my interview with the actor Joe Pantoliano in this weekend’s ON THE SCENE encore. (News 12 New Jersey, 8:30am, 11:30am, 4:30pm August 18th, 19th).

This is an uncommonly personal, revealing and at times hilarious  interview about his battles with mental illness and growing up in a (highly) dysfunctional mob family. Our walk through his neighborhood in Hoboken, New Jersey opened everyone watching to Joe’s world in a most unique way.

I also learned a lot from doing this interview. And I’ve made a decision that ON THE SCENE will again evolve as it has numerous times over its seven incredible years. We will be going even deeper into the experiences and pivotal moments of the artists we interview. Because I see how so many people watching will benefit.

Actually, the change began a year and a half ago with my interview with Darlene Love, then at a pivotal moment in her life. She found out just a couple of days before the interview that she would be inducted into  the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. In that interview, producer Ivy Charmatz and I came up with a list of questions…and a structure…that would take Darlene back over several other pivotal moments in her life  (falling on hard times and working as a maid, getting ripped off by producer Phil Spector)  that led her to where she was on the day we met.  Watch it on the credits page of my website.

So in the coming episodes look for more of this pov and let me know what artists you’d like to see me interview.


ON THE SCENE Encore: Comedian Jim Norton, Springsteen Exhibit

May 11, 2012

Just want to let you know there’ll be an encore of the ON THE SCENE episode featuring comedian Jim Norton and my visit to the Springsteen exhibit at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Tune in May 19th, 20th at 8:30 AM, 11:30 AM or 4:30 PM on News 12 New Jersey.


The Emmys Are Almost Here!

March 25, 2012

The New York Emmy Awards ceremony will be Sunday, April 1st. Wish us luck, “ON THE SCENE” is Emmy nominated for “Through Bojana’s Eyes,” an emotional profile of painter Bojana Coklyat who has battled back from vision loss and chronic diabetes.

It’s my honor to have received two previous Emmys for coverage of arts and entertainment (2005, 2009) but it always surprises me when people ask, “where do you keep them?” So, the FIRST TIME from the living room to the blog, here’s a picture of the Emmys. (Btw, that’s a Gracie Award that they’re bookending. And recognize who’s in the pictures with me?) No, I don’t keep the awards on some gilded shelf or behind glass. That’s not how I roll, which you know by now!

John's Emmy Awards At Home


Interviewing Peter Max

December 4, 2011

A great experience earlier today, I interviewed Peter Max. I’ve seen his paintings, logos he’s designed and all of the pop culture surrounding him all of my life. So to meet him for the first time and be able to ask him about his incredible career was a highlight of my own career.

I’ll be writing more about the interview here on the blog next week. And I  know I met a lot of you at the Wentworth Gallery in Hackensack, New Jersey today who said how much you’re looking forward to watching. I don’t know when this segment will air yet, but it’ll be announced here on the blog.

Become a follower of the blog and you won’t miss a thing! Everything’s announced here.


One More For 2011…The Final ON THE SCENE Of The Year

November 20, 2011

I am determined, doggedly , to end 2011 on a high note with an original December ON THE SCENE to remember.

We are booking artists as we speak and within a week or so I should be able to let you  know the interview line-up. There’s an Academy Award winner on the to-get list who I would love to interview so stay tuned.

And, this past week I found out that the most popular ON THE SCENE episode of 2011 which features interviews with Darlene Love and photographer Timothy White, will receive a special encore spin and I’ll know the date later this week.

That was such a great episode because Darlene Love was fresh from learning that she would be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. For me, it was the ideal interview: an extraordinary talent at an emotional,  pivotal moment in life reflecting on all the pivotal moments that got her to where she is today. (You can watch it by clicking the credits page of And Timothy White, well, he is the most prolific photographer of movie posters and billboards and celebrity portraits. And with that comes a wealth of stories about shooting Hollywood’s A-list. We shot this piece at his massive studio in Midtown. Together, Love and White were a fascinating combination.

So check back soon there’s a lot to coming up to tell you about.




Rita Rudner, Alvin Ailey and the Earthquake of 2011

August 24, 2011

Almost 2pm, putting the finishing touches on this weekend’s ON THE SCENE in an edit suite…with pen and note card I’m intensely writing a line of narration that I am about to record…I look up, my editor Shannon is looking at me oddly, I notice the tv monitor shaking and suddenly a page over the loud speaker, “Did anyone feel the building shake?”

Yes, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake hit. And I didn’t feel a thing. Inexplicable how Shannon, two feet from me, felt the whole episode, got dizzy, knew something was wrong. Was I so fixated on writing that I blocked it out? How is this possible? Really, somebody tell me!

Later, I went on the air and told this story to viewers. I said that I felt disappointed, left out of the drama. But also that I’ve always been terrified of earthquakes. Maybe now I don’t need to be since I’ve been through one and never noticed it.

So editing my interviews with Rita Rudner and Judith Jamison of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will also be remembered as the day the earth shook, and I missed it.

Oh, and if you’re local, ON THE SCENE airs August 27th and 28th at 8:30 AM, 11 AM, and 2 PM each day.


Ready To Get ‘Em Talking At The Count Basie

August 19, 2011

I can’t wait to meet the people coming to my master class on interviewing at the Count Basie Theatre tomorrow. It’s going to be informative, for the class and me. It’s a great experience when I learn as much as I teach. Because it’s such an interactive event, I always learn something.

If you haven’t signed up yet and are interested be fast about it, the cut off is this afternoon, check out homepage for a link.



Editing A Dance Legend, Even When A Beautiful Night Beckons

August 15, 2011

I’m about to reach for a stack of neatly printed, tightly stapled pages. The document is sitting here in front of me on the ottoman. Waiting, calling for, demanding my attention. I hear the ticking of a clock when I look at it. It reminds me that my life is deadlines. It reminds me that there is necessary work to be done and that I must do it.

It’s not what I want to be reminded of on this summer Sunday evening.  I’m being lulled into a trance by the gentle rain cascading on the leaves of the oak and cherry trees outside my wide open living room windows. It’s dusk, the stillness of night is setting in, this moment is fleeting, I want to take it in.

My eyes come back to this stack of pages. This is why it’s compelling me:  it’s the transcription of my interview with Judith Jamison. She is the legendary dancer and the former artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.  And on Tuesday an edit session is scheduled for this piece for the next ON THE SCENE episode. That means I need to decide which parts of the interview will be used for tv, the structure of it, the “feel” of it. It’s in my hands. Jamison is candid, charismatic and deserving of the attention this requires.

So I make the choice we all knew I would: to cut short being immersed in the beautiful scene that I love outside my window,  to pour my thoughts into the show that I love more.