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Tommy Tucker

It's a good day getting started! Tune in to "WWL First News" for fun and informative talk about the national and local issues of our day.

Weekdays 6am-10am

Twitter: @ttuckerWWL
Email: tommy@wwl.com

Tommy: My interview with the real Captain Phillips

I have the honor and privilege of being able to talk to a lot of different people with all sorts of stories and backgrounds, and I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Captain Richard Phillips. Yep, that Cpt. Phillips, the captain of the Maersk Alabama when it was hijacked by Somali pirates.

We may have seen the movie, but it's entirely different to actually experience it, to live it. So…what was it like?

"Conditions were a little worse than what you see in the movie. It wasn't very nice in there. It was really hot in there, and I hate the heat. Time slowed down in the lifeboat."

Crammed into a smallish lifeboat with a bunch of pirates? Yeah, I would imagine it can be difficult for a movie to portray just how bad that could be.

What were the pirates like, and how did they treat him?

"The leader was very tough. Brooked no attitude with his crew… there were times when there were hittings and beatings in the boat. My sister Patty hit harder than them, though."

What a tough man. How did he handle it?

"There were a few times I laughed. I had given them cokes and cigarettes when they first came on to try and calm them down. When we were in the lifeboat, they didn't have lighters. So I started laughing at them since they couldn't smoke."

He watched them struggle to try and light a cigarette when he knew where the emergency kit with matches was, just feet from them. That had to help keep him sane.

The situation had to be grim, though. What's going through your head at a time like that?

"I wasn't going to give up hope, but I didn't see a good ending coming. I just knew I couldn't give up."

Check out the rest of my interview with Captain Phillips here:

FULL AUDIO: Tommy talks to Captain Richard Phillips

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People : PattyRichard Phillips


Tommy: A Free-For-Ball in the Superdome

During Sunday afternoon’s Saints loss to the Bengals, an incident heard ’round the world occurred.  After a Cincinnati player scored a touchdown, he ran to the stands to give the football to a woman in a Bengals jersey.  However, a Saints fan – Tony Williams –sitting nearby snatched the ball away from the Bengals fan and kept it as his own.

I am hereby dubbing this incident Free-for-Ball.  

TV cameras picked up Free-for-Ball, and it was soon spreading like a wildfire across the Internet and social media.

Most people are taking the side of the Bengals fan, Christa Barrett, criticizing Williams for refusing to give the ball up. 

We got in touch with Jeff Williams, Tony Williams’s son, to try and get their side of what happened. “It’s been a tough couple days for us,” he said. I bet.  People have strong opinions about Free-for-Ball!

“My dad is one of the most classy guys that I know.  My son is 8. He’s been going to the game since he was two years old probably.  Every single time after every single time that he’s there, he wants to go down to where Gramps sits because he sits in a prime location.  He’s gotten some things here and there, but never anything like a game ball.”

So the grandson was at the game, and I could see a grandfather wanting to be able to give his grandkid a game ball right after the game is over.  I don’t think that’s unreasonable, in and of itself. 

“In his mind, he caught a ball for his grandson.  We know he’s a gentleman.  He’s a retired Army veteran.”

So there’s Tony Williams’s side of the story.  He’s been a season-ticket holder for decades, and his grandson was at the game and had never gotten a game ball.  He had an opportunity, and he took it.

But was it right?

Check out the rest of my interview with Jeff Williams:

FULL AUDIO: Tommy talks to Jeff Williams about Free-For-Ball

After speaking with Tony Williams’s son on Tuesday, I spoke with Christa Barrett, the Bengals fan involved in Free-for-Ball (this name catch on, I swear!), on Wednesday to see if we could get some closure.

Some people have brought up the fact that she wasn’t by her seats, and she admits she that.

“If the Bengals score a touchdown, we’re totally running down the rail and maybe we’ll get a ball and get on TV.”

Get on TV? Boy, did she get her wish!

Many who saw the incident were concerned that Williams had elbowed her, and that it was pretty physical.  According to Barrett...nope.

“The pictures and the video make it look so, so much worse than what happened. It was a quick little scuffle for the ball. I didn’t even notice any contact.”

Despite the incident, she’s not holding any hard feelings.

“I felt really bad for all the backlash he’s gotten.”

As for what she wants to happen to the ball?

“I would like for him to give it to his grandson.”

FULL AUDIO: Tommy talks to Christa Barret about the great 2014 Free for Ball
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Topics : Sports
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Locations : Cincinnati
People : Christa BarrettJeff WilliamsTony Williams


Tommy: Talkin' shop with Saints great Morten Andersen

So the two greatest kickers in Saints history got together today… Morten Andersen and myself of course!  I mean, I talk about the Saints; so that counts, right?  And I was a kicker at Shaw, which is basically the 33rd NFL team.  Right?

I think with the little bit of training Morten gave me, I can suit up again.  Shayne Graham may have the job locked down this season, but I bet I can give him a run for his money.

Check out my interview with the Great Dane.  We talked about some of the highlights of his career, his Hall of Fame chances (LET HIM IN VOTERS), life in general, and some of the work he’s doing for veterans.

FULL AUDIO: Tommy talks to former Saints kicker Morten Andersen

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Topics : Religion_Belief
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People : Morten AndersenShayne Graham


Tommy: Raising respectful kids is about setting good examples

Parenting’s one of the toughest jobs out there.  Kelly Ripa says she doesn’t care that her daughter said “I hate you” after being punished because she’s a parent, not a friend.  How do you stay friendly enough to keep the lines of communication open but stern enough to maintain a sense of discipline?  It’s a fine line, sometimes.

To try and sort this out, I spoke with a friend of ours, Dr. Karen Ruskin, a licensed marriage and family therapist and author of The 9 Key Techniques for Raising Respectful Children Who Make Responsible Choices, about how you find that balance.  

“The key to this is about being respectful to them, validating their reality while understanding that as a parent, validating and being respectful doesn’t always mean you’re obeying them.” 

So I should validate their reality that I’m the boss and it’s my way or the highway? JUST KIDDING.

Dr. Ruskin continued: “if your children feel respected and valued, if they feel their voice is heard, they then hear your voice. They feel that there is a sense of overall respect in the family dynamic, so they themselves become a respectful human being.” 

If I want my kid to be respectful to me and others, I should set a good example myself?  Makes sense to me.

As for using the phrase “I hate you,” Dr. Karen laid it out.

“If children learn from a young age that they can say things that are about what they’re feeling and not mindful of how that affects another person, they’re more likely to say something like that. If a child learns from a young age that what you speak matters, that is less likely to come out of their mouth.”

Again, it goes to setting a good example.  Monkey see, monkey do.  Act right in front of your kids, and they’re more likely to act right themselves.

Check out the entire interview with Dr. Ruskin below.

FULL AUDIO: Tommy talks to Dr. Ruskin about good parenting
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Topics : Education
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People : Karen RuskinKelly Ripa


Tommy: How'z about an edible football for Christmas?

Now that Halloween is over, we can move straight to Christmas, because as the Madison Avenue executives like to say, “Screw Thanksgiving.”

Do you love football?  Do you love food?  Well, boy, do I have the product for you!  


Tired of eating? Well, toss this pigskin around in the backyard!  Don’t want to quit playing football to run inside and eat?  Now you don’t have to! Just take a bite out of your ball and keep on playing!
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Tommy: Do political yard signs really work?

The signs of Election Day are here… literally!  Lawns all over the area are filled with signs for this person or that issue… but do they do any good?  I don’t think a sign in a yard will do any good, but I wanted to get an expert opinion.  So I spoke with Dr. Joshua Stockley, an Associate Professor of Political Science at ULM.

“Do they change minds? No. Yard signs alone won’t change someone’s opinion. If they’re against somebody, they’re still going to be against somebody.”

Well, what’s the point then?  Are people just wasting time and money making these and setting them up?  There has to be some purpose.

“First and foremost, they can motivate people to vote. They serve as reminders that there is an election.  They serve as a reminder of who the candidates are in an election. So they can have the power of reminding people to vote and motivating people to vote.”

Another topic we talked about was how people decide who to vote for.  People have busy lives, and sometimes it can be hard for people to make sure they’re fully involved before they get in that voting booth.

“We’re looking for a clue. What gives away how I support somebody?  A D? An R? Democrat or Republican?  That makes it really easy. Why? Because, unfortunately, the average voter is a little lazy."  

Don’t be lazy, folks. There are a TON of things on the ballot this coming Tuesday.  So, ya know what? We’re going to make it a little easier.  

Here’s a link to a guide to the constitutional amendments on the ballot from Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana (PAR).  Take some time and read through them.  Then check out the rest of my interview with Dr. Stockley.

FULL AUDIO: Tommy talks to Dr. Stockley about election season

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Topics : Politics
Locations : Louisiana
People : Joshua Stockley


Tommy: Are you a hero?


Would you run into a burning building to save someone you didn’t know?  That’s what a California man did.  It takes a lot of guts to put your own safety aside to try and help others.  

Honestly? I don’t know if I could.  I have my amazing daughter to think of, and I just don’t know if I could risk my life to help a stranger when I have to think of my daughter.  Family first.

Have you ever wondered what makes someone that selfless, that heroic?  We spoke to an expert, Dr. Zeno Franco, an Assistant Professor in the Medical College of Wisconsin, about the psychology of heroes and heroic action.  Check out the podcast.

FULL AUDIO: Tommy talks to Dr. Zeno Franco about heroic action

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Topics : Human Interest
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Locations : CaliforniaWisconsin
People : Zeno Franco


Tommy: Is Ebola a crisis or not?

The Ebola virus is on a lot of people’s minds right now.  It’s a scary, scary disease that’s been ravaging West Africa; and now we have a couple cases in the United States.

So we talked to a couple different experts on this.  Is this a crisis?  How much should we be worried? And are we prepared?

I spoke with Ernest DelBuono, the Senior Vice President and Chair of Crisis Practices at the crisis management firm Levick.  When I asked him if this was a crisis, he immediately answered in the negative.

“This is not a crisis yet…Right now we have one death. We have two people who are ill, both of whom have been identified and are in quarantine.  We’re not in a crisis…What we have is a public health issue.”

Those are great points that we need to keep in mind.  This is a serious disease; but, so far in the US, it’s been relatively minor.  We obviously should stay vigilant, but we don’t need to freak out.

I also spoke with Dr. Frank Welch, the Medical Director of the Center for Community Preparedness for the Department of Health and Hospitals here in Louisiana, about the state’s preparation for if there’s a case of Ebola diagnosed here.

“The State of Louisiana has been preparing for the past eight weeks, and intensively for the past two and a half weeks, for the possibility for an Ebola patient to enter the health care system at any level. Preparing, education, training.”

That made me feel better.

FULL AUDIO: Tommy talks to Ernest DelBuono about Ebola
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Tommy: Do we have ourselves to blame for bad customer service?

Do we only have ourselves to blame for poor customer service?  

Jet Blue kicked a 47 year old mother of three off of a flight after she posted some negative tweets about the airline.  And some of the airlines that get the worst customer service ratings are often doing the best on Wall Street.  

What gives?

We decided to turn to Pamela Kennett-Hensel, Professor and Chair of the Department of Marketing at UNO, to try and get an expert’s take on the matter, and, well, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. 

“There’s a lot of conflicting data as to whether customer satisfaction translates to a company’s bottom line.” she said. Alright, well, that didn’t clear anything up.  So we dived a little deeper, and it looks like it depends on your time frame.

“You may have dissatisfied customers, but in the short-term, it might not affect your bottom line.   But in the longer-term, there’s a lot of research that has shown there’s a strong relationship between customer satisfaction and financial performance.” Ah-ha! So it takes some time before bad customer service could really affect the bottom-line.  If people give the business a couple chances, the company will still see that money for a few cycles.

So if we keep going back and getting bad service, we’re not accomplishing anything because they keep getting the dollars.  So it may cost less, but we’re rewarding the bad customer service. Dr. Kennett-Hensel’s take? “We have probably, as a society, been willing to accept lower levels of service; but we are pleasantly surprised and reward companies that provide us with really excellent service,” she concluded.

To me, it depends on what I’m looking for.  For something like automotive work, I’m willing to pay more if it means good service.  

To listen to my entire conversation with Professor Kennet-Hensel, click the link below.

FULL AUDIO: Tommy talks to Professor Kennet-Hensel about customer service

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Topics : Business_Finance
People : Pamela Kennett-Hensel


VIDEO: Tommy visits with J Peterman of 'Seinfeld' fame

Today I caught a quick minute with actor John O'Hurley, who you probably remember as playing the catalouge-company entrepreneur J. Peterman on "Seinfeld." I'm a huge fan of his, and so is my daughter. Check it out!


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