January 14, 2011 3:26 PM
I don't get nervous on television much anymore. But today was an exception.
CNBC, the national cable network offered us a chance to join Columbus, Ohio Mayor Michael Coleman in a brief interview about how our cities were weathering the recession on the popular mid-day "Power Lunch" program. CNBC, they told us, airs in 80 million households in North America and 200 million around the world. CNBC also tells us that 62% of top management executives watch this particular program. I tried not to think about that as they wired me in to the studio in New York, but despite a slight case of the butterflies, I didn't think I could pass up on this chance for Madison.
This was great for our city because while I was speaking they flashed our vital statistics including our relatively low unemployment rate and relatively high median income and the names of our major employers like American Family and Oscar Mayer. The best part was the tape they ran of classic Madison scenes of the Capitol, the lakes and State Street.
The topic was municipal bond rates. I made the point that while Madison is being cautious on our operating budget, we believe that now is the time to be aggressive on capital expenditures. We're getting some of the lowest interest rates ever (eight-tenths of one percent at our last borrowing), some of the best construction bids we've ever had and people need the work right now.
And here's the kicker. Right after the show I got an email from a friend in West Bend. He said Madison looked good but that he hadn't heard a word I said as he was on a treadmill at the gym during the broadcast. I replied that I'm at my best with the sound down.
You can watch and even listen to the interview here http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=1743584608&play=1.