O. Henderson is here

Earlier this afternoon my Radio Iowa colleague Dar Danielson answered the newsroom phone and then transferred the call to me.

"Newsroom, this is Kay," I said after I picked up the line.

"Is this O?" the caller asked.

That is a complicated story.  My first name is Onette, so I could be O. Henderson.  My middle name is Kay, though, and that’s what most of my family and friends call me. But my parents wanted me to have the initials "O. K." because my mother was 45 years old when I was born and, well, I was "O. K."  I go by "O. Kay" on the air, by the way — a decision my former boss Steve Mays made my first day at Radio Iowa.

"Yes, my first name is Onette," I told the caller.

Turns out the caller was a fundraiser for the Dennis Kucinich campaign. "O. Henderson" and my newsroom telephone number were on the campaign’s fundraising list.

Thirty-two-year-old Skip Welch was calling me from Lincoln, Nebraska.  Mr. Welch is being paid to make fundraising calls.  I told Mr. Welch that I am a journalist and do not make contributions to political candidates.

"I can see where there would be issues with that," Welch replied, according to my handwritten notes.  "But at the same time, we have talked to people in your field who have made a donation."

Mr. Welch then asked if I’d like to learn more about Kucinich.  I asked if I could tape record our conversation from that point forward.  He gave the go-ahead.   I guess my first question should have been to ask that he name names, so we would know which journalists have donated to the Kucinich campaign.

Instead, I began with the preliminaries.  What’s your name?  Why are you calling from Lincoln, Nebraska? 

"We’re part of Hudson Bay of Illinois and we do fundraising for several different causes and political campaigns as well and Dennis actually chose us to help do campaigning for him and what’s kind of cool is he actually calls and talks to us every couple of months, if not weeks depending on what his current issues are and gets feedback from us from the people that we talk to," Welch said.

"And so what is your spiel about Dennis Kucinich?" I asked.

"Well, the big spiel about Dennis is that we’re trying to make people aware of his current platform.  I mean, it’s always widening, but at the same time, just trying to get the main planks in that platform and make people aware of that especially his media appearances, that he’s actually now getting a little more face time than he had been getting, particularly on the Bill Maher Show.  He’s actually utilizing the Internet, like YouTube to actually get his word out more and actually all the other candidates are as well and that’s what’s kind of exciting about YouTube in general and a.) as somebody who was raised on the Internet, that’s kind of an exciting thing for me," Welch said.

So I asked him how old he was, and he volunteered that he was 32.

"The big thing we are trying to make people aware of is that (the whole Internet thing) but him actually guaranteeing public education from pre-kindergarten at age three throughout college and another thing that I always like to tell people about is the 12 point plan that he submitted to the U.N. earlier this year that’s actually set up to help not only bring home our troops but stabilize Iraq and the full text of that actually is on his website — www.kucinich.us — and I always tell people that they should read that document because I think it will be not only an historical document if he becomes president, you can get an early insight into what his views would be for his foreign policy and what diplomatic measures he would take for the country," Welch said.

Welch mentioned Kucinich’s idea for a U.S. Department of Peace and concluded with Kucinich’s effort to impeach Vice President Cheney.

Welch had been making phone calls for about 90 minutes by the time he called "O. Henderson" and concluded by saying: "I am personally going to vote for him."  (Him = Kucinich.)

"This has been most interesting," O. Henderson concluded.  "Thank you."

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. Justin Makovicka says

    Justin again, the person that you talked to today from the campaign, i was just lookin through this, its quite interesting and to bad you won’t be getting any more calls. i’ll be lookin for the blog about me. Have a great day