I first became aware of Art Vuolo in 2003. I was planning the WNBC-AM and WYNY-FM Reunion. Someone said that I should invite Art, and he would record the event. Darn cool idea, I thought. I went to his web site, Vuolo Video, and e-mailed him.
We emailed back and forth for awhile and, to me, email is great for discussing little things, but when details and logistics are involved, I have to talk on the phone, so that’s what we did.
I won’t bore you with all the details or go over the wonder that is Art’s life, but will say that Art is not just a man with a camera, but a video artist. The time, effort, enthusiasm and hard work he puts into each one of his projects is outstanding. Am I gushing too much?
If you go to Art’s site, you can read all about how he started his video business. What his site doesn’t tell you that he fell in love with radio at an early age, 1958 when I was just an embryo waiting to hatch. It was in 1960 that the radio bug bit him. Radio has a vicious bite. It’s a little sucker, grabbing on with big teeth and won’t let go. Just ask anyone who’s ever been on the air and she or he will tell you the same thing.
In June 2004, Art and I finally met and became fast friends. He was as funny and personable in person as he was on the phone. He was unobtrusive at the party, but managed to interview enough people to make the video interesting. He even asked me to make the opening statement! Even though I had some written notes, much like Oscar winners, I still managed to ramble on and make sense.
When Art finished editing the video, I was happy to see that he made it cohesive and fun, even including some old WNBC footage he had in his archives. I was even more surprised to see how good I came off doing the opening to the party.
What Art did for me was only the tip of the iceberg. He has recorded and documented so many radio events and people, that the late “Radio and Records,” a weekly trade paper, dubbed him “Radio’s Best Friend.”
This morning, I talked to Art for almost an hour,
Matt Seinberg (MS) What was your favorite project over the years?
Art Vuolo (AV) My latest video is my favourite, the Z100 Anthology that covers 10 years from 1983 to 1993, along with a special 15-year reunion in 1998. I put over 60 hours of editing into this video. It runs four hours and twenty minutes on two DVD’s. If any of your readers want to order it, all they have to do is go to my site, mention Grubstreet and they’ll get a special gift.
MS What was your hardest project?
AV My documentary about 9/11 and how New York radio handled the tragedy was the most difficult. It was and is still very emotional.
MS Who was the most interesting air personality you ever met?
AV That’s an easy question with two answers: Dan Ingram and ‘Cousin Brucie’ Bruce Morrow. In fact, Bruce and I are still friends.
MS If you weren’t running your video business, what do you think you would be doing instead as a regular job?
AV My two interests outside of radio are animation and trains. In fact, when I first saw “Sleeping Beauty” in 1959, I went home and drew the movie in a notebook. I still have that somewhere among all the clutter in my house. When I was a kid, I had model trains, and still like to travel by train.
MS So you could have been an animated engineer.
MS When and if you retire, what happens to your broadcast collection?
AV I’ve been in contact with the new Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. They want to dedicate a room to my collection, both audio and video.
MS When will you appoint me, officially, as “Radio’s Best Friend”?
AV When I die and not before.
Art has no plans to retire, and certainly no plans to die. At 65, he’s still going strong, traveling all over the country for business and pleasure.
I asked Art for a parting comment, and this is what he gave me. “I’m fresh and never frozen.”
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
Click above to tell a friend about this article.