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This would have been the summer of 1981. I was working as a nightly sportscaster at KMOX (now KMOV) TV in St. Louis. My sportscasting partner was a very gracious gentleman named Tim Van Galder.

TVG had been a record-setting quarterback at Iowa State (The ‘Clones) and later spent time with the NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals, primarily as Jim Hart’s backup. But it must be noted that in one of his NFL starts, he led the Cards to a win over the Colts and Johnny Unitas. Yes. That Johnny Unitas.

Timmy also had a cup of coffee with the Jets. Joe Namath put TVG up at his place for a couple of weeks and they became friends. Hey, Tim is a friendly guy.

And also a generous one. Tim got into tv after his football days. He was an easy watch and listen. He called me “MON-roe!” Well, because my middle name is Monroe..but….

Anyway, one day TVG yells across the newsroom. “Hey, MON-roe!  You wanna interview Joe Namath?”

Yeah, I could, you know, probably work that into my schedule.

ARE YOU KIDDING?

Here was the deal. Namath was in St. Louis starring in a stage production of Damn Yankees. He had gotten good reviews.  So Tim sets up the interview for 8:30 on a Tuesday morning at Joe’s hotel suite in downtown St. Louis. The hotel was only a few blocks from our tv station.

My photographer was a delightful gentleman named Bob Bauer. Bob and I always worked uncommonly, well together. Bob was a football guy, too, so he was as fired up about this interview as I was.

So, I knock on the door of Joe’s suite.  We are greeted by someone I can only describe as a Bond Girl having a good day. Impeccably and professionally dressed. Joe’s assistant.  “Joe will be right down. Can I get you gentlemen some coffee?

Bob and I set up our gear and then took a seat on a couch. After about ten minutes I hear a clunking sound as Joe painfully descends a staircase. He’s wearing a white bathrobe and it is obvious his knees are killing him. He gives us that (genuine) Broadway Joe smile and shakes our hands.

“Can I get you boys a beer?

“Little early for me, Joe.” It was 8:50 a.m.

The interview?  Beyond great. Joe was fantastic.  Open. Friendly. Honest. Funny as hell. He seemed to be having a great time, and so were we.

Thanks to TVG for throwing that “get” to 26-year-old MON-roe. He didn’t have to do that.  But he did.

My lasting takeaway from this episode?

I turned down a chance to have a beer with Joe Namath. What the hell was I THINKING?

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.