Tom Brokaw

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

A voucher mailing by Foreign Affairs is proof that sometimes, old controls don't die or fade away, they're just successfully refashioned for today's audiences. The first one, written by the late Len Berkowe, was its circulation-building workhorse from 1982 to 2003.

When I saw that the 2008 rate for a speech by Larry Summers was $45,000 to $135,000, I got to thinking.

Out of curiosity, I started prowling the various Web sites of speakers' bureaus and came to six conclusions:

  1. It seems everybody in the world is available for speeches. Included are political and show business stars, second and third bananas, and hundreds upon hundreds of people I never heard of.
  2. All of these people—luminaries and nobodies—get fees from $1,000 to $1 million, plus expenses.
  3. I used to make a lot of speeches, and all I ever got was expenses and a plaque with my name engraved on it.
  4. I was a damned fool. I was as much a nobody as anybody else and could've picked up some dough if I'd just asked.
  5. If someone invites you to make a speech, think about asking for an honorarium at the very least, if not a fat fee, plus expenses. For Colin Powell, expenses include a private jet along with his $100,000 fee.
  6. The worst that can happen is that no money in the budget exists for fees or expenses. If you refuse, someone will replace you.

I was zipping around the Internet and bopping in and out of my e-mail when a Yahoo headline hit me in the face: “Tim Russert dies.” I clicked on the news story and couldn’t believe it. I still don’t. Russert’s passing at age 58 is a national catastrophe. Look out politicians. Beware business folks. In this GOTCHA! world, the goo-goos are gonna getcha. Memories of Tim Russert The last time I spent quality time with Russert was watching him on May 20, the night of the final major primaries in Kentucky and Oregon. He was pumped, bubbling with enthusiasm, his eyes shining.

Just look at ABC and CBS Nov. 22, 2005: Vol. 1, Issue No. 50 IN THE NEWS NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams Pulls Ahead; Widens the Gap Over ABC TO 1.4 Million Viewers NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams had a big ratings win last week, topping ABC's "World News Tonight" by a 16% or +1.390 million viewers - representing the program's best advantage over ABC since the week of the Brokaw/Williams anchor transition (Nov. 29, 2004). --Matt Drudge, The Drudge Report, Nov. 17, 2005 I don't watch one evening news program on television. Rather, I use the remote

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