U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte visited the downtown Manchester studio of WMNH-FM 95.3 on Friday to tape an interview for The Morning Show with Peter White and The Moose. The interview will air on Monday, March 28, 2016, at 7:30 am.
“The thought of interviewing a U.S. Senator was kind of intimidating,” Peter White said, “but after meeting her, Senator Ayotte made it very easy.”
The man Manchester knows as the Moose, Joel Elber, agreed with Peter. “ I had never met her personally, and was a little nervous.”
“Senator Ayotte was the biggest guest that me and the Moose have ever had,” Peter said, “either on TV or radio.”
Before launching The Morning Show this month, Peter and Joel completed a successful six-year run on Manchester public access television. Their Manchsterdam show was ranked as the most popular locally produced TV program three years running in The Hippo’s annual “Best of Manchester” poll, second only to WMUR-TV’s Chronicle.
“Neither one of us had ever met Senator Ayotte before,” Peter said. “We were thrilled that she decided to come on our program, but both of us were a little apprehensive. I mean, a U.S. Senator?”
Peter had to take a time-out to explain to The Moose that the word “apprehensive” means anxiety over something going wrong, using as an example Joel’s desire to greet Senator Ayotte, who is of French-Canadian heritage, on-air in French, with Comment allez-vous? Reminding Joel that he had pronounced the word “caucus” as “carcass” on Wednesday’s show, Joel’s plan to show off his proficiency with foreign languages had been vetoed.
Returning to the theme that The Morning Show had been honored by Senator Ayotte’s presence, Peter said, “This is a person who matters not just in New Hampshire, but nationally, and internationally. Senator Ayotte flies off to places like Ukraine when tensions are high. We were proud to have her here in Manchester on our show.”
“She was very easy to talk to,” Joel said. “Before we went on the air she told us, ‘You guys can ask me anything you want.’”
The show was taped at noon, and according to Joel, Kelly Ayotte admitted that she was hungry. “Senator Ayotte said, ‘I wish we had some pizza.’”
Peter White laughed. “Joel said to the station staff, ‘Why don’t you go down on Elm Street and pick us up some pizza — and charge it to the Senator!’”
Joel admitted to having committed this potential faux pas, but everything was cool. “We made her laugh, she made us laugh. All three of us had a swell time, even without the pizza.”
“Of all the people me and the Moose have talked to on air, she ranks right up there as one of our all-time best guests,” Peter said. “The Senator connected to us on a personal level.”
Joel wholeheartedly agreed. “She was very down to earth. The whole experience was relaxed, both on the air and off. It was like talking to a friend.”
Peter White and the Moose have interviewed politicians before, including New Hampshire Executive Councilor Chris Pappas, New Hampshire State Senator Lou D’Allesandro and Queen City Mayor Ted Gatsas on their Manchsterdam TV show. During the 2016 New Hampshire Primary, they interviewed many notables for WMNH-FM 95.3, including former U.S. Senators David and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
“She’s a classy Senator,” Joel said. “She’s a great gal. I was really impressed with her.”
“The interview was a milestone in our career,” Peter said. “Senator Ayotte has been interviewed by the best in the journalism field. The opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with a sitting U.S. Senator is an honor, no matter what your political affiliation is.”
“Or theirs,” Joel added, before pointing out that all of the people they had interviewed were, in fact, sitting down while on the air. Noting how comfortable the chairs in the WMNH-FM 95.3 studio were, Joel said that he and Peter had yet to conduct an interview where the guest was standing up. They hoped to do live remote broadcasts in the future, including some on-the-street vox populi interviews, and those people for sure would be standing up. “I can guarantee it!”
Reacting to his partner’s double-take after his use of Latin, the former social studies teacher said, “That means, ‘Voice of the People’, Peter.”
“I know Moose, I know,” Peter said.
After recovering his composure, Peter went on to say, “The Morning Show will always be for and about the people of Manchester. We’re creating a warm, friendly space on the air where our guests feel comfortable. We want them to show the people of Manchester who they really are.”
Were there any revelations during the interview?
“She’s a Big Papi fan,” Joel said. “Senator Ayotte loves the Red Sox and she and her family go to a couple games at Fenway each season.”
Peter said, “On the subject of her running for Vice President if the Republican nominee asked her to be his running mate, Senator Ayotte said she’s not interested.”
“She told us there’s way too much to get done in the Senate,” Joel said.
Were there any questions The Morning Show co-hosts wanted to ask Senator Ayotte, but didn’t?
“There’s always regrets after an interview,” Peter said. “I should have asked this, I should have asked that. But with Senator Ayotte, everything went great. It was a great interview.”
A Yankees fan despite hailing from Chelsea, Mass., Joel said he did have one regret. “I didn’t ask her whether she thought the Red Sox would ever win the World Series again.”