Greg Bassett: ‘One On One’ getting a new (and shocked) host

Phil Tilghman gave me his TV show the other day, and it wasn’t even Christmas.

After 14 years of weekly interviewing on PAC 14, the four-term County Council member and well-known community leader has decided to hang up his microphone.

And, for some reason, Tilghman says he’s sure I’m the person to succeed him.

Yes, I was plenty shocked.

That Tilghman has a TV show to give away says something about his accomplishments. The retired owner of Tilghman Oil Co. in Salisbury, Tilghman has chaired or been a member of nearly every nonprofit board in the community. He’s a former Chamber of Commerce president, and in recent years has worked hard to keep the local Salvation Army growing.

After leaving the County Council in 2000, he started the “One On One” interview program on PAC 14, the county’s public, educational and government-access television service. It’s carried  Wicomico-wide via Comcast and is the place to go to see Salisbury’s City Council and Wicomico’s County Council in action.

PAC 14 is also the venue for a pretty comprehensive menu of local programming. There’s a array of programming in the talk-show format, yes, but PAC 14 also goes out into the community to showcase events and keep us informed. Being the true public access venue, the channel even has programs to teach people to create TV programming that can be broadcast.

I love PAC 14. As someone whose job is to engage and reflect the community, to publish news stories about the community’s problems, as well as celebrate the community’s successes, PAC 14’s mission has always matched the goals of a good, community newspaper.

Tonight’s “One On One” — which airs at 7:30 — will serve as Tilghman’s final episode. He and I will be on the show together as he officially hands over the reins.

Part of Tilghman’s thinking is that the content he has always aired parallels with the content I print. If you regularly watch the show, you can see that Tilghman neither leads and crusades or advocates a cause for action. “One On One” is folksy, local, reflective and inspirational. The guests — not the interviewer — are the stars. A good paper should be the same, with the people in the stories and the photos starring in each edition, not the editor.

I’ve seen nearly every episode Tilghman has hosted. His connection community news involvement is so deep that his guests always reflect what people are talking about. My hope is to achieve the same thing.

Tilghman’s style is to always “take the high road” with those he’s interviewing. He manages to employ a nonthreatening, genteel dispositions so that the “got you” questions are exceedingly polite. Watching Phil, and seeing how he manages guests, I’ll work to emulate him and keep the edgy parts of my newspaper-interviewing training in check.

As it always has, “One On One” will continue to premiere a new episode each Thursday night, and then will be rebroadcast several times each week. All content on PAC 14 is available on demand on its website, www.PAC14.org.

Greg Bassett is editor and general manager of Salisbury Independent. Reach him at gbassett@newszap.com

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