After a year in the making, BronxTalk and Vet Talk are finally meeting!
Every Monday evening for the past 22 years Bronxites tune into BronxTalk to catch onto hot button topics ranging from local issues to politics. The host, Gary Axelbank has been a leader in bringing to light subject matters that specifically affect the Bronx community as a whole. This is especially true as Mr. Axelbank has been one of the few media outlets that hosted political candidate forums to educate Bronx voters about their options.
The star of BronxTalk is busy within the community through his show, work, and personal endeavors. When he is not interviewing guests, Mr. Axelbank is the Director of Communications at Monroe College. Besides his many charitable contributions to the community, every year he is also the master of ceremonies for a Veterans Appreciation Day Breakfast hosted by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. What makes Mr. Axelbank special is that he tries to do different things and he does not look for just questions but seeks the answers too.
Before appearing on BronxTalk I had a chance to sit down with Mr. Axelbank to talk about his experience being a host for 22 years.
Gonzalo Duran: What are your favorite episodes from BronxTalk?
Gary Axelbank: There are many that stand out but the one about the heroin epidemic in the Bronx and how to solve chronic absences in schools come to mind. It is always great to have different media outlets together in the same room like when Welcome2thebronx and Norwood News were on the show too.
Duran: What makes these episodes stand out in your mind after doing so many over the years?
Axelbank: Whenever a guest brings to me a revelation about an issue or society, it makes the episode stand out better in my head.
Duran: After 22 years of doing BronxTalk, how do you keep your interest active in doing the show?
Axelbank: I am very proud of my 22 years on BronxTalk. Diversity, which the Bronx is known for, fascinates me and it’s a never-ending resource for me. In actuality, the star of the show is the Bronx.
Duran: If you don’t mind sharing, what would you say is your trade secret for making your show successful?
Axelbank: I would love to share that! It is important for a host to realize that the conversation is not a two-way one but rather a three-way one where all sides are engaged, meaning the host, guest, and audience. Even though there might be only the guest and myself on the show, the audience needs to be respected and communicated with so that the voices of the people are included.
Another factor is to remember that open communication with the community leads to opening more doors and new opportunities to report on issues that are important.
Staff is very important as well. I am lucky to have a great team and a rising star for a producer (Yeila Lluberes).
On November 7th I will speak to Gary Axelbank on live television at the BronxNet studios. Even though I have sixteen shows under my belt at BronxNet and on other media networks, this is still an exciting opportunity. Along with BronxNet becoming a sponsor of Devil Dog USA, Inc., Vet Talk will be coming back soon thanks to the support of their Public Access production training.
Tune into BronxTalk this Monday at 9 p.m. on Channel 67 for Cablevision, Channel 33 on Verizon Fios or by live stream. I will be revealing my plan on the student Veteran homelessness dilemma, which I believe, can systematically lower the numbers of those in the system. Additionally, I will kindly ask Gary Axelbank to be a master of ceremonies for my #22HugsaDay event.
Also contributing to this article was Kathleen Canzoniero
Photo courtesy of James Washington-Ward