HOT SEAT- Being Coy: If TJ had done talk radio

Coy Barefoot seemed to have it made as a writer after publishing five books and with offers to write more. So what did he do? Took a job at the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership.

For the author of Thomas Jefferson on Leadership, it was a natural segue.

And as if his plate as communications and alumni relations director there weren't full enough, he's about to launch a drive-time local talk show on WINA March 1.

What's with all the careers, dude?

"It's an incredible opportunity to be part of something exciting," says Barefoot with the maddening enthusiasm of someone who loves what he does.

The new show, Charlottesville, Right Now, was conceived last summer when Barefoot worked the morning show on WINA. "I had so much fun," he says. "It was like WKRP in Cincinnati."

The Charlottesville Radio Group, which carries the right-leaning syndicated shows of Neil Boortz and Sean Hannity, wanted to create more local talk, according to Barefoot.

"Number one, the ratings of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are plummeting, and number two, they see [the new show] as a true community service with local issues and local talk," he says. As the new host and producer of Charlottesville, Right Now, Barefoot will take over Hannity's 4-6pm time slot.

Barefoot's vision of talk radio does not include screaming. "That ends right now," he declares. "We have a whole generation fed up with that. All it's done is polarize."

He decries ad hominem attacks upon people who disagree, and instead proposes a novel concept: "civility and respect."

As jazzed as Barefoot is about his radio show, he's equally pumped about his Sorensen duties.

"It's incredibly Jeffersonian," he explains of the Institute's mission. "Jefferson said that if you don't get involved and you don't care, it won't work... The Sorensen Institute is all about getting people involved."

His first day on the job, he was hanging with Governor Mark Warner, and the connections he's made through the Institute have already helped to snag Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and Attorney General Bob McDonnell for his show once a month.

"I'm the luckiest man in Charlottesville," says Barefoot. "I had the best job in town– and now I have the two best jobs in town."

Age: 39

Why here? I came for grad school in 1989 and minus a few years in Florida and New York, I've been here ever since.

What's worst about living here?

No drive-thru Chinese food

Favorite hangout? The Corner

Most overrated virtue? Correct grammar

People would be surprised to know: I don't fly. I used to fly quite a bit but had one too many scary trips, and then I watched my brother and his wife survive a single-engine crash.

What would you change about yourself? More Zen

Proudest accomplishment? My book, The Corner: A History of Student Life at the University of Virginia. The six years I spent researching and writing that book were a true labor of love, and I met many wonderful people in the process.

People find most annoying about you: I'm the Aries poster-boy: impatient and stubborn (but on the flip-side: enthusiastic and confident).

Whom do you admire? My son, Whitman

Favorite book? The triumvirate at the top of my list are Dubliners by James Joyce, The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor, and Virgil's Aeneid.

Subject that causes you to rant? That mercury, an untested poison, continues to be put into vaccines that are given to infants and pregnant women

Biggest 21st-century thrill? Increasing scientific probability that life is not unique to earth

Biggest 21st-century creep out? That racism, slavery, and militant religious zealotry are still alive and well in the world

What do you drive? A '95 Nissan Pathfinder littered with bits of food, Popsicle sticks, empty juice boxes, old pacifiers, and toys. I love it.

In your car CD player right now: Ziggy Marley's 1999 release Spirit of Music (his best).

Next journey? I'm going on a caving trip in March, looking forward to swimming in an underground lake.

Most trouble you've ever gotten in? Despite the fact that I did well in high school, I almost flunked out my first year at William & Mary (call it boy meets snooze alarm). Needless to say, my parents were not too happy. Thank goodness I was allowed to go back to school and redeem myself.

Regret: After college I was going to mow lawns across America and write a book called Mow West Young Man. I had the van, the money, and a big-name lawn mower company that was interested in sponsoring the trip. But other things came up, and I never went.

Favorite comfort food: Ben & Jerry's "Cherry Garcia" frozen yogurt

Always in your refrigerator: Organic apple cider

Must-see TV: The Andy Griffith Show. Don Knotts still makes me laugh out loud.

Favorite cartoon: King of the Hill. Hank is the man!

Describe a perfect day. Blue skies, Blue Ridge, kids, dogs, and my beautiful, brilliant wife by my side

Walter Mitty fantasy:

I rent the Omni ballroom for a black-tie celebration in honor of my son's full recovery from autism. A capacity-crowd turns out to hear Whitman give a riveting speech about how he overcame this hideous illness.

Who'd play you in the movie? Kevin Spacey

Most embarrassing moment? On my 16th birthday I crashed taking the behind-the-wheel portion of my driver's test. Nobody was hurt. It was more of a fender-bender, actually, but I never even got out of the parking lot of the DMV, and of course I failed the test. I was so depressed on the way home, but my mom couldn't stop laughing. She said, "One day this is going to be so funny to you." She was right.

Best advice you ever got? "Stick to your knitting."

Favorite bumper sticker? "What if the hokey pokey is really what it's all about?"

Coy Barefoot




Coy - I agree with your views on the Michael Savage autism flap wholly. I too have a child who is 7 and was diagnosed as autistic at the age of two. I can't believe the ignorance displayed by Mr. Savage in his commentary and am truly saddend that people would have this viewpoint about a disability such as autism.

If only he knew what we know, he would assuredly have a different view, but unfortunately his missunderstanding of this affliction only underscores the challenges we face as parents dealing with this disorder and further demonstrates the future stigmatism our children may face.

My best to you

Scott Gambill

Coy, Your outrage on Michael Savage's comments are wrong. You are hurting our children more by pulling him off the air. I'm a mother of a child diagnosed with autism. It takes tremendous work on the part of my husband and myself to raise this child. We as parents have to take control and educate ourselves with what foods our child is allergic to, vitamins they need, education, love and discipline. One of the most important thing you can give an autistic child is a mommy and daddy giving their full time attention. As you know our autistic children need very special nutrients to help repair any damaged caused by mercury or other nutritional deficiencies. Mr. Savage was saying not all children is diagnosed correctly with autism and I cannot agree more. Many parents let the child control them and the parent needs to control the child. I visited many classrooms for special ed children looking for the right placement for my child. These children were not all autistic. Many of these children had special needs other than autism. And I will say many of these children were on medication subscribed by their physician to help them focus or calm down. These children were like robots. It's sad to see a radio station get angry with a man that loves helping children. Read his books he wrote about for child nutrition. You didn't help your community you hurt it!

Good luck,

Mother of Dr's said he was autistic

I heard your comments today in your conversation with the gentleman from RaisingCane??? re,you are glad we are done with Karl Rove politics etc. I find that interesting in light of your discussions with and seemingly agreement with Tom Perriello. I thought at first he seemed like he might be a breath of fresh air-someone sincerely interested in service to others. But I came to see his campaign as one of the most negative I have ever seen, and quite dishonest. The two mailings I received attacking Goode as wanting to add a 23% additional sales tax on everything were
very misleading and dishonest. I have studied the Fair Tax and his attack of course left out the most important element of the plan ie eliminating all other taxes and a payment to offset the amount of sales tax on necessities. I am sure one of his handlers figured that he had come up with a clever attack and Perriello bought into it.
And I frankly heard nothing of any positive plans, only platitudes about better jobs and going after the "gang in Washington" who caused the mess we are in . In my mind that gang are the very people who supported Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac such as Barney Frank, Chris Dodd etc and who of course were favorably supported in return with campaign money. I have my doubts about Tom going after them. And we are learning that the majority of Tom's money came from outside the district. His claim that he did not take corporate lobbyist money seems quite disingenious in that the Democrat Party of Virginia and the natioanl party do take such funds and then support the candidate with that money. Sounds suspiciously like laundering to me. I realize that these tactics happen on both sides. And with due respect to Dr Sabato, I do not agree that "Politics is Good". Congressman- elect Perriello seems to be just the newest incarnation of the politics as usual candidate. Very disapointing. I anticipate having our district under the thumb of the national Democrats in the House.

David Murphy