How did you get started as a journalist?
I always wanted to be in radio, even as a kid. My main goal was to be a play-by-play guy; I used to listen to Phillies games and did a play-by-play on my tape recorder. Then in college, I wrote for our newspaper.
This job at KYW is perfect because I like people to come to me to get the news they need, as well as the anonymity that radio allows you.
How many pitches do you get a day/week?
Now that I’m doing a wide ranging podcast for KYW – KYW In Depth — I get 30-40 pitches a week, and there are times I’m overwhelmed.
Ten to fifteen of those are within the ballpark of what we cover, and of that, we’ll do stories on five to seven of them.
What are you looking for in a pitch?
Topics that are interesting -– you get a lot of pitches that are commercials dressed up as a PR pitch. I get a lot of emails from people who have never dealt with me or don’t know what I cover, maybe they got my name on a mailing list.
Is following up with you OK?
I do open most emails. But sometimes, I’ll get the same one four to six times in a two-week period. If I wasn’t interested the first four times, the fifth time won’t ring the bell.
It’s OK to follow up – but not six or seven times.
What advice would you give PR professionals looking to pitch you?
Know who you’re dealing with and the general types of topics in which the reporter or producer is interested. Take 5-10 minutes to do some research, visit the website, see the podcasts we’ve done, and even listen to a couple.
I can’t stress enough to know your audience.
What are your favorite types of stories to write?
The best stories are where I learn something. Recently I’ve covered: Cicadas; President Biden’s infrastructure plan; the 1918 flu pandemic. Anything where I can come away as an interviewer having learned something — and our listeners can, too.
Can you share a fun and interesting fact about yourself?
I’m a very good gardener and I especially like planting vegetable gardens. I love the process and look forward to the two weeks at end of July/beginning in August when something new is ripe.
The best way to reach me is via email: Mleon7@comcast.net