Peter Abrahams on a priority for him right now in his new role as Publisher of the Washington Business Journal~
“I’m on a listening tour, really, talking to a lot of the business leaders in the city. Trying to get to meet with our clients, our stakeholders, really understanding what’s important to them. I have some ideas . . . “
Andy Ockershausen: Well this is Our Town. This is Andy Ockershausen with an old friend. He’ll never be old, and he’s a wonderful friend. His name is Peter Abrahams, he’s just taken over the job at head of the Washington Business Journal, but I knew him when he was selling magazines here in the studios of WMAL. Peter, welcome to Our Town.
Peter Abrahams: Thanks Andy. Good to be here. And by the way, you said I’m an old friend, let’s just be clear. I’m not that old.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, I’ve been around a long time. Peter I’ve had some people that are older than me, believe it or not, in this business.
Peter Abrahams: I do believe that. You’re not that old.
Andy Ockershausen: I’m not going to be either, Peter, but I’m so happy to have you and have you back at Our Town, but we met long before I found out that you were an important guy, through a mutual friend that grew up with you in Boston. Is that correct?
Peter Abrahams On How He and Andy Met
Peter Abrahams: You know, as I was thinking about seeing you today, we have known each other for so long-
I’m trying to remember how we actually met the very first time because I didn’t, but it’s been 25 years. I mean you were one of the very first people I met when I landed here. My first time here was in ’89 and I can’t even remember, but through the years, it never goes about a month or two months without seeing you running around somewhere. I mean running, you don’t walk, you tend to move pretty fast so, and I have short little legs, so it was always hard to catch up with you.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, but you make an impression everywhere you go, Peter. I always was so impressed, Scott Langerman went to-
Peter Abrahams: Oh, was it Scott? Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: School with him and then Longwood somewhere up with the rich people in the Boston area. I knew that.
Peter Abrahams: Yeah, Chestnut Hill, Baker Elementary.
Andy Ockershausen: Isn’t that something? It’s incredible and then you run back into him in the Capitol, but Peter, having you and seeing you operate because I went to a lot of things, as you did, and that was so important, you made an appearance in Our Town, and people knew Peter Abrahams. And you have represented an important part of Our Town with your publication.
Peter Left Our Town, But Not Actually
Peter Abrahams: Yeah, you know it’s funny, people always ask me that and they ask me, I didn’t actually leave. I was still here, but I was never here. I was spending about three days a month here over the last couple years. I was-
Andy Ockershausen: Kept your home here?
Peter Abrahams: Kept my home here. But I really wasn’t here and so a lot of people have welcomed me back. I didn’t leave, but it’s interesting because when you talk about the impression, for me, this area has always made an impression upon me. So, I feel fortunate coming back because I’ve been welcomed back, which was surprising, and you know, I am going to take that people think I physically left. It’s great, because they’re buying me coffees and they want to see me.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh wow.
From Boston to Washington, DC – Abrahams Instantly Felt at Home
Peter Abrahams: But, you know, when I moved here, I was in Boston, it was shortly after school. I ran my own business, which failed, I was bankrupt. Got in my friend’s car and we drove down here. We didn’t have a place to live, a job, or anything.
Andy Ockershausen: And you were not married.
Peter Abrahams: I was not married at the time, and so for me, the city embraced me right away. I mean instantly I felt at home here, which being a proud Bostonian growing up there with that white knuckled intensity, to come to a place where people seemed to actually be willing to engage, and help me, and talk to me, and remember me, so interestingly enough, I feel a very big debt to the community, not the other way around.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, Peter, it’s the uniqueness of Washington because most people in Washington are from somewhere else.
Peter Abrahams: Yup.
Andy Ockershausen: And that gives you a feeling that you’re not alone but everybody else is alone, too.
Peter Abrahams: And I think-
Andy Ockershausen: It’s kind of mixed up, but that’s the truth.
The Not So Transient Nature of Washington DC Began with Ted Leonsis and AOL
Peter Abrahams: It is, it’s a little backward because people, even when I came here it was considered a transient area. It’s not. If you look at the numbers, it isn’t that much more transient than any big city, but I think because of the government, I mean as you remember, 20, 25 years ago, when the Administration changed, there was a wholesale change of people-
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely.
Peter Abrahams: And homes and jobs and the restaurant scene changed to reflect the tastes of whoever was in Office and the Administration. That’s gone away, and I think a lot of it has to do with everything is being incorporated, every industry, from technology to food service, and when you look at what’s happened here, even the sports teams. I mean when I moved here we had one sports team. The Redskins, that dominated everything, and when you look at what’s happened today and you think back to a guy, a visionary, like Ted Leonsis, who we just recognized as CEO of the Year, and you think about the fact that he decided to put AOL here. He could have gone anywhere. This could have, theoretically, would have been the worst place to put it. We didn’t have the technology, there wasn’t marketing, it was out in the middle of nowhere, you know, and then he does that, leaves. Now he’s running arguably the most popular sports team in our market.
Andy Ockershausen: Now that is absolutely a slam dunk, Peter, for Our Town and then he built it.
Peter Abrahams: He built it.
Andy Ockershausen: And I hope and pray he could do the same, it’s going to be much more difficult with the basketball. Don’t ask me why, but it is, much, much more difficult, but Ted Leonsis put his money where his mouth is. Well the people that started it, Jim Kimsey, he died of course, but the people at AOL made the dot com market by being here in Washington. Unbelievable.
AOL Stock Options Important to DC Economic Growth
Peter Abrahams: I think of how many people I know who were there early on, who benefited from, I mean remember back then when you got options, that was not the norm.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh boy, is that a great story.
Peter Abrahams: So if you think about the fact that Ted, not only did he build AOL and the Caps, he was also instrumental in spinning off all these great businesses, many of whom, I believe, he still has relationships with.
Andy Ockershausen: If he doesn’t, he might be partners in a lot of them. We don’t know. Ted, he spent a lot of money.
Peter Abrahams: Yeah, he’s quiet about it too.
Andy Ockershausen: When Jim Kimsey first got, he was in the bar business as you may or might know, was an exchange, and he’s always been a bright guy. He told everybody, and unfortunately he didn’t tell me, but a lot of his friends. “I’m in this start up company, whatever you do you oughta buy some stock.” People didn’t know what he was talking about. They had no idea of this new world that was really ready to erupt. So they didn’t buy it, but those ones again, I have friends who had a … one of my very dearest friend’s wife just worked there as a secretary, and she took option. She didn’t get a lot of money. They gave her a stock or options or something, and she said, “Well if this ship floats, I am going to make a lot of money. If it doesn’t I am going sink.” And the ship floated.
Peter Abrahams: Yeah. And is she retired? Did she retire?
Andy Ockershausen: Oh yeah, with a lot of money, oh ho, she retired with the bank, you know, but she wasn’t unique, Peter.
Peter Abrahams: No, there were lots of those stories.
Andy Ockershausen: And a lot of them then got into some of the other businesses that I know. At Comcast SportsNet, we owned the rights and we were selling the rights, we went to the high tech world to get involved in television. Unheard of at the time.
Peter Abrahams: Yeah, I mean that was so far forward thinking, but you know, back then, everybody was doing what was rote. It was just you had your script, you stuck to it and nobody took risks here, and I think that what we’ve seen over the past 10, 20 years is lots of risk taking, lots of injection of young people, lots of neighborhoods that you would never have stepped foot in, even ten years ago, people are spending two million dollars on condos.
Andy Ockershausen: You’re preaching to the choir. Fortunately for me I was born here almost 90 years ago, and never went anywhere else. Thank God I didn’t because I love Our Town. I love a part of it, but you know what I’ve seen, Peter. You’ve referred to it and I’ve seen it in magazines, I’ve seen it in newspapers, I was owned, my company was owned by the Washington Star, a great newspaper, but no underpinning. They couldn’t survive television.
The Washington Star and Medical Benefits
Peter Abrahams: Were you at 11th and Pennsylvania?
Andy Ockershausen: Yes, absolutely.
Peter Abrahams: That’s such a great building.
Andy Ockershausen: Did you know we had a physician and a dentist that took care of the employees?
Peter Abrahams: Yeah, I did actually. I worked in that building for-
Andy Ockershausen: That’s some building, wasn’t it?
Peter Abrahams: It’s a gorgeous building, right at 11th and Pennsylvania.
Andy Ockershausen: When I wanted to get my tooth filled, I’d make an appointment for a filling, and then there’s certain days a week they had a house doctor. I could go see … free, as an employee of the Washington Star newspaper. They took care of the broadcast division.
Peter Abrahams: Well now it would be-
Andy Ockershausen: How could that ever happen?
New Generation of Company Benefits
Peter Abrahams: Now it would be Red Bull and ping pong. Those are the amenities now.
Andy Ockershausen: Ping pong. I remember where that came from, but it drives me crazy to Ping Pong. I see it all the time.
Peter Abrahams: Yeah, I like, so I worked for a technology company on Dulles Toll Road. That was the first real job, second real job I had when I was here, and there was nothing on the Dulles Toll Road and I was living in Arlington, and people are like, “What are you driving all the way out there for?” And I’m like, “Well there’s they call it IPO and maybe I’ll-”
Andy Ockershausen: 20 minutes?
Peter Abrahams: No, 20 minutes was a long commute back then because there was nothing.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s true.
Peter Abrahams: I mean there were no buildings.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s probably a good half hour to an hour.
Peter Abrahams: Right, keep going.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s just-
Peter Abrahams: It’s a nightmare.
Andy Ockershausen: Both ways. Well, I don’t think you can build enough roads to have for the public. That’s the way it’s always going to be, Peter.
Peter Abrahams: Well, and just wait until Amazon and a few other clients, companies descend on our area.
Andy Ockershausen: You’re telling me-
Peter Abrahams: But it’s a good thing.
Andy Ockershausen: And I hope our audience picks up on what you’re saying, because I did not know you had been here all that time, Peter, and we’re going to come back and talk about it, but you’re enlightened, you’ve seen Our Town and what’s happened to it. And this is Our Town, this is Andy Ockershausen.
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Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town.
Andy Ockershausen: Andy Ockershausen and Our Town. I’m talking to Peter Abrahams, who’s enlightened me about his career because I had no idea. I thought I knew Peter very well because one of the things I would do with Peter, see him everywhere, and I said, “I don’t know where this guy’s going, but he’s going places because I felt I was going places, I wouldn’t be there.” And that’s still true, Peter.
Peter Abrahams: I think it was my good fortune. I don’t know that I was going anywhere, at least I gave you that impression, so that makes me happy.
Andy Ockershausen: You’re connecting dots. That’s why you went to parties and meetings, to connect dots, right?
Peter Abrahams: You know-
Andy Ockershausen: That’s what I believe it is.
Peter Abrahams Grandfather Inspired His Curiosity About People
Peter Abrahams: I’ll tell you a couple stories. My grandfather, who was my idol, was very much about everyone is important. You can’t disregard anyone, and especially someone you don’t know, and so I was always very curious about people. But I have this amazing role. I went from working for two unbelievable people at the magazine group, Jane Ottenberg and Richard Creighton, and I had this unbelievable opportunity to publish D.C. Magazine. And all of a sudden, people actually wanted to talk to me.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, wow. That’s a big deal, Peter.
On Role as Publisher of DC Magazine and the Connections Made
Peter Abrahams: For me, you know, it was a big deal. It was the first, if I would call it a break, it was the first break in my career. I’d always worked for amazing people here. I worked for Hanley Wood, which is an unbelievable publisher, Mike Wood, Mike Hanley, Frank Anton, the entire crew was really remarkable. But all of a sudden, people were willing to actually spend time talking to me and their stories were interesting. And so, I just went everywhere and talked to as many people as I could-
Andy Ockershausen: I saw it.
Peter Abrahams: That seemed like the right thing to do. And the more I talked to people, the more I would find connections and they would take care of me, for no reason. There was no, they had no skin in the game, they didn’t carry me. I think about there were two stories that came to mind. Very early on I saw you at the Citi Open, which at the time was not the Citi Open, I think it was the Legg Mason Tennis Classic. And you shouted for me, you were in a suite and you invited me in, and I met, I don’t know, ten or twelve people, several who I am still close to, from that one encounter. But you didn’t have to do that, right? That was unnecessary. And then I saw you outside a party at the Chevy Chase Collection under a giant tent and you were like, “Hey, come with us. We’re just going to walk up the street.” And I felt this, I didn’t deserve the warmth I was getting, but I was going to take it because it felt really good. And the last thing I wanted to do was, you know, I didn’t want anyone to think I was rude, but that had nothing to do with it. It was this colliding of all these different worlds, all the little bits of experience I had had before, felt like it was coming together.
And again, I worked for great people. My. . .Jane Ottenberg and Richard Creighton, at the Magazine Group, are my mentors.
Andy Ockershausen: Are they headquartered in the city? In New York?
Peter Abrahams’ Mentors :: Jane Ottenberg and Richard Creighton
Peter Abrahams: Yeah, well now they’re here. They go back and forth, but they sold their company several years ago and did quite well, but they were just the kind of people who I knew that I never wanted to lose touch with them, and interestingly enough, the day I found out that I was going to be the publisher, I called Jane right away and said thank you. Because that’s the kind of people that they were. But I can’t even tell you the dozens of stories like that, that people didn’t want anything other than who are you-
Andy Ockershausen: The company.
Connecting Disparate Worlds Through Publishing
Peter Abrahams: Yeah, they just wanted to get to know me, and I think I was very fortunate to be in D.C. at a time of really great transition. From, you know, one of the things that I feel passionately about is when I first started in business, it was government business that was this thing totally aside. There was the media business, and the business community was primarily real estate, and those worlds never interacted. They were very isolated, and so one of the things that I tried to do, and there’s a gentleman, David Sutphen, who actually now is running an amazing company in Lanham called 2U, but he said to me, “I think you’ve got an opportunity.” So I’m giving him credit, “to join these political, business and social worlds together.” And he was right. And it was powerful because they had never interacted. They had never spoken. They had their silos, they stuck to them. If you were in the government, you had a certain schedule, we were talking about schedules earlier-
Andy Ockershausen: The same restaurants, the same bars, the same barbers, the same clothing store, the same dress. It was all true. I lived through it. I know what you’re saying, Peter.
Peter Abrahams: And so all of a sudden people were actually interested, especially with the idea of technology, connecting all these disparate worlds and it was amazing to be a part of that. So, I was lucky. I had been lucky-
Andy Ockershausen: Timing Peter.
Peter Abrahams: That’s luck.
Andy Ockershausen: Maybe, but absolutely, but I didn’t say you created it, but it was there and you took advantage of it.
Peter Abrahams: Yeah, dumb luck, maybe.
Andy Ockershausen: Timing is here and now. I’m so excited about Our Town, and I’m so excited about what Amazon is doing, not what they’re doing, what’s going to happen because of what they’re doing. I think the explosion we’ve seen is just the beginning, a building. It’s going to be incredible, Peter.
Board of Trade Jack McDougle’s Vision for Complex Technology Network to Serve Community
Peter Abrahams: There’s no question. And, I mean, I think if you look to some of the organizations, for example, I don’t know if you’ve chatted with Jack McDougle at the Board of Trade.
Andy Ockershausen: Many times.
Peter Abrahams: But you know, he’s got this-
Andy Ockershausen: McDougle.
Peter Abrahams: He’s got this vision to create this complex technology network that will serve our community. No one’s ever done things like that.
Andy Ockershausen: No, he’s a-
Our Town Podcast – Homage to Past as it Impacts Future
Peter Abrahams: And the nice thing, and having listened to some of your podcasts, it’s interesting to pay an homage to the past as it impacts the future, which I think is what you guys do better than anyone, with what the service that you’re providing.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, this is all Janice’s idea, that we did this on that purpose. We’re trying to interview and be a part of the people that are so great in Our Town. Maybe they were great and maybe they’re not great now, but you never know, because those dots are there, Peter, and they’re always connecting them. I mean the young man we just had, John Lyon, was a great performer. He’s gotten back involved again, and we love that. But this was all Janice’s idea. And talking to you is important because, Peter, when I saw, I thought you were back. I didn’t know you hadn’t gone.
Peter Abrahams: Most people did.
Peter Abrahams On New Role as Publisher of Washington Business Journal
Andy Ockershausen: But the Business Journal is made for you. Now, I’m not knocking the people who were there, but you have personality. You have pizazz-
Peter Abrahams: Well, I was-
Andy Ockershausen: They didn’t have it before.
Peter Abrahams: I don’t know because I will tell you-
Andy Ockershausen: I don’t know.
Following in Footsteps of Two Remarkable Men
Peter Abrahams: I’m following in the footsteps of two remarkable men. So Alex Orfinger and James MacGregor, both of whom-
Andy Ockershausen: MacGregor was a hoot.
Peter Abrahams: Great, great people who are still there. And they’ve all moved on to bigger roles within American-
Andy Ockershausen: They cover more territory, right?
Unique Content Platform and Committed, Talented and Dedicated Staff
Peter Abrahams: Yeah, you know Alex is announcing something in the coming weeks here in D.C., which will be a game changer, and James is managing a region, including here, so I report to him. But what’s really nice is that I now have a platform where the content is something that people really care about. And content delivery now, before and this is not to be negative with D.C. Magazine, but it was a lot of the social scene, it was a lot of the pictures. But people didn’t rely on their content to figure out how to make, build, and sustain their business, whereas now, and we’ve got this content platform-
Andy Ockershausen: Unique.
Peter Abrahams: Both in print, digital and events that really is unique. And the staff – I have never worked for a more committed, more talented, more dedicated. It’s just, from our editor Doug Fruehling, throughout the entire company, it really is, I feel lucky, Andy. I mean-
Andy Ockershausen: Big part of Our Town, Peter. It didn’t used to be. I saw it when it took off. I’ve been watching it all these years and it’s such a big part. When James MacGregor first came to Washington, Janice had started her new business, and she’s still running her new business, thank God, and he reached out to her and made her and me, through her, me and I’d known him, of course, really made me feel part of this Washington Business Journal, because reaching out-
Peter Abrahams: Well, you are.
Andy Ockershausen: And all of a sudden, I’m in, you know.
Peter Abrahams: You say you’re approaching 90 which I don’t believe, I think you’re not telling the truth, but that’s okay. I think you’re trying to get a little sympathy out of me which is fine, because you look like you’re in your 60’s. But here’s what I would tell you. Today, if you walk down any street in D.C., people are going to be rolling down their windows and screaming your name. And that’s a great legacy, but I also think it’s the cohesiveness that still exists here. We’ve all just, we’ve tried to shift, adjust, change, grow, and there aren’t very many cities that can speak to that. Maybe Pittsburgh, where they’ve gone through this huge economic change, but a lot of cities, the core remains the same. What’s really interesting here is the core’s changing, and for the better, and it’s still inclusive of the past, and to me, that’s really important and that’s… I get into work every day and I get excited to be there for that reason, that we’re promoting this really amazing, dynamic city that now incorporates Maryland and Virginia and neighborhoods that were dirt before.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, Peter, because I’ve been here so long and Janice has been prepping me since forever, the fact is, all those places are still Our Town, whether it’s Vienna, Virginia, or Arlington, it’s Our Town. MGM out in the National Harbor, that’s Our Town. It’s Our Town in Anne Arundel. It’s Our Town almost to Richmond. These are our people and they-
Peter Abrahams: No question.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Uncle Sam right here, boy, and everybody takes advantage of it, Peter, and it’s so, so happy that Uncle Sam is a part of the community. That has been transitioned over the years, too, you know.
Peter Abrahams: Uncle Sam and Uncle Andy. That’s all we need. That’s-
Andy Ockershausen: Peter, you have a wonderful, wonderful outlook, and such fresh ideas for Our Town, and we’re going to see it in your publication, and we’re looking forward to your imprint on the Washington Business Journal. And this is Andy Ockershausen, this is Our Town with Peter Abrahams.
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Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town with Andy Ockershausen. Brought to you by Best Bark Communications.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockershausen. This is Our Town and our conversation here, a wonderful conversation with a dear friend, Peter Abrahams, who I know through a dear friend because I knew he grew up in Boston. I knew that his background, but he appeared in Our Town and I’m so happy. I thought Peter left but he explained to me he didn’t. He changed jobs, but Peter, you’re back now, as I consider it, the most important publishing job in the city of Washington, is the Washington Business Journal. That’s what I believe.
Peter Abrahams: Well, thank you.
Andy Ockershausen: And you’re the head man now.
Peter Abrahams: I am.
Andy Ockershausen: That, to me, is exciting.
Peter Abrahams: It’s exciting and I’m still in a little bit of disbelief. So every day I pinch myself.
Andy Ockershausen: Right.
Opportunities to Grow an Already Incredibly Run Business
Peter Abrahams: So it’s amazing, and we’ve done quite a good job over the past many years, so I’m taking over a business that has been run incredibly well, but there’s certainly opportunities to grow and-
Andy Ockershausen: You can still grow it, and I don’t know what direction, but you have a master plan yet or are you waiting to see what you’ve got first?
Abrahams on Listening Tour as New Washington Business Journal Publisher
Peter Abrahams: So I’m in a bit of a listening tour right now. Even though I’m doing a lot of the talking, which I apologize for, I’m on a listening tour, really, talking to a lot of the business leaders in the city. Trying to get to meet with our clients, our stakeholders, really understanding what’s important to them. So I have some ideas, they’re certain things, as you know, my mom was an incredibly important person in my life. I have three brothers and sisters, so I was the youngest of four. She raised me single-handedly. She was the first woman to graduate from Columbia with a degree in Special Education. She worked for Head Start in Harlem as a young, white Jewish woman back in the 50’s, so she was a remarkable woman.
Andy Ockershausen: She sounds like Barbara Streisand.
Paul Abrahams’ Focus on Women in the Workplace Inspired by His Incredible Mom
Peter Abrahams: Yeah. Barbara Abrahams will do the trick. So I think, and there have been, we’ve written a lot about it and we’re focused on women in the workplace. We have an event at-
Andy Ockershausen: Where did you go to school Peter?
Peter Abrahams: I went to high school at Brookline High School in the shadow of Fenway Park. And then the University of New Hampshire.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow. Up where it’s cold, brother, this week, I know that, but that’s a great campus.
Peter Abrahams: A great campus and back then, when I was actually in better shape, I skied a lot. So, this is an unbelievable story, which would never happen today, but several of the mountains offered Tuesday passes for college students, buy one get one free. So, we would schedule our classes, or skip classes, to go skiing on Tuesdays. That was the day, and it was always the coldest mountain, so it was Cannon and Wildcat, where on the lift you’d get a blanket because they knew you were going to freeze your butt off on the way up. But it was a great experience, and then worked in Boston, owned my own business, and then moved down here in ’89.
Andy Ockershausen: Sounds like a wonderful life.
Peter Abrahams: I can’t complain. I feel-
Andy Ockershausen: School, being in school was great.
Peter Abrahams: It was great.
Andy Ockershausen: And did your mom wanted you to be a journalist, you became a journalist, Pete, I don’t mean a writer, but you published one of the most important magazines in Our Town. Now you got the most important business in Our Town and several other states, Peter.
Peter Abrahams: And I think…, thank you for that. A lot of people deserve the credit, I don’t. I mean we’ve got an amazing team. We had two predecessors who did a phenomenal job. The team is, if you ever have a chance to come to our office and meet our team and understand how committed they are-
Andy Ockershausen: I’ve been to several parties on the roof, but you can’t have a party now. It’s too cold, but resurrect those, Peter. They were great.
Peter Abrahams: I think we’re going to do some Happy Hours this Spring because that’s what I like.
Andy Ockershausen: You know why it was
Peter Abrahams: And I have some gin left over from my, when I was running a gin distillery.
Andy Ockershausen: Meeting people, that’s why I liked to go. I didn’t need a cocktail, I could get that anywhere but it was fun to go and see people that I sort of liked in Our Town. We grew up with them.
Washington Business Journal Impact on Community is Top Priority
Peter Abrahams: So, as I think about my job and all of this full circle, I want to be careful not to make any decisions until I really understand what impact, but I will tell you that women’s issues in the workplace are really important and I think that it’s always been something that’s important to me, but I never was in a position to really impact that in a meaningful way. You can do it in little ways, but to be able to do it on a larger scale is great, and my mom passed away from Alzheimer’s and so that is something that’s near and dear to me.
Andy Ockershausen: Now you’re in a position to help with that problem, Alzheimer’s.
Peter Abrahams: Yeah, and I served on the board of the Alzheimer’s Association but now, hopefully I can give back in other ways. And I think the issues, one thing that’s been made clear to me is the issues that affected the business community in D.C., are ever-changing so I’m careful not to put my, I don’t want to draw a line in the sand that I’m going to have to erase and move that line. So, right now I’m just trying to understand what’s important and-
Andy Ockershausen: That’s important. Sitting back and taking a look.
Peter Abrahams: Yeah, and what’s really nice is-
Andy Ockershausen: A personal look, I hope.
Peter Abrahams: Yup, and the owners of the Business Journal, not only do they allow that, they encourage it. I was with the CEO last week, said, “I want you to take time every week to think about the business and the impact that we can make to the community.” And he was genuine. It’s not lip service. He means it, and you can see it throughout the company because we are very respectful of our co-workers, which is unbelievable.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, I personally read the journal for more than the business news. Business news is important, that’s why I read it, but the people news is in there, that’s what I love. A lot of people news in there.
More Profile Pieces and Content Driven Events – Endless Opportunities
Peter Abrahams: And I think you’ll see more of that, more profile pieces. We’re doing some different things. Our events will continue to evolve. We’re going to be doing more content-driven events next year, which will be great. We’ll still have … and they’re very important and people love them, the awards that we give out for women to be business and fastest grown companies and the philanthropy that we do, and all the different best places to work. Those are all key for us and we love those, but there’s also a lot of content driven events. We’re going to do a government series for the first time ever, talking about, you know there’s lots of people talking about the Federal Government, but what it means and how you can work with outside influences. So the opportunities feel endless and coming into-
Andy Ockershausen: Seems to me like they’re unlimited.
Peter Abrahams: They are.
Andy Ockershausen: You could go from group to group here. The military and industrial complexes are a big important part of Our Town.
Peter Abrahams: No question.
Andy Ockershausen: Huge part of Our Town, and there’s got to be a winner. That’s an audience, too, for you. It’s not only readers, but people, opinion makers.
Peter Abrahams: And they are and we’re trying to reach out to them more. And Doug Fruehling who is our editor who does a really wonderful job, I think. Rob Terry, who writes our Fed Biz piece. I mean, we’ve got so many talented writers and editors, and our marketing and sales team is exceptional.
Andy Ockershausen: I know the sales team is very good. I see them everywhere.
Peter Abrahams: They move fast, a lot faster than, they move at your pace, not my pace.
Andy Ockershausen: No, that’s for you Peter. You’ll give them a new life and that’s going to be very important to your success, is those people that work for you that connect the dots. Because they’re out there, the dots are there, baby.
Peter Abrahams: Yeah, and they work with me.
Andy Ockershausen: And that’s going to be so much fun for you. And Peter I can’t tell you how it is to have you back at Our Town because you never left, but your imprint is here, even if the magazine wasn’t a huge success. You were. You met a lot of people-
Peter Abrahams: I did.
Andy Ockershausen: And that’s what counts. And they’re all here for you right now. I think you’ve got reacquainted, I’m sure.
On the Graciousness of Others and Making Others Day a Little Brighter
Peter Abrahams: I had no idea how quickly people would reach back out to me and how gracious they were.
Andy Ockershausen: You didn’t think anybody missed you, did you?
Peter Abrahams: No.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, you can see them right around this building.
Peter Abrahams: My kids and my dog didn’t, so why would anyone else who really doesn’t know me?
Andy Ockershausen: When the staff here of the WMAL and the Cumulus offices heard you were here, people came to say hello and welcome you back.
Peter Abrahams: It was nice.
Andy Ockershausen: Makes you feel good, doesn’t it, Peter?
Peter Abrahams: It does, because your goal, maybe not everyone’s goal but I think certainly your goal, is to make people’s day a little brighter, a little better, to make that interaction. If you can make it just a little bit more positive, you’ve done something that most people don’t think about. And you’ve done that in spades your entire career. Plus, you like sports, and you like Boston sports, so instantly we had to get along.
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely, but we did for a lot of reasons, and Scott Langerman was part of it.
Peter Abrahams: He was.
Andy Ockershausen: Your personality was so good, Peter, and we appreciate it and we’re so happy to have had you on Our Town and we will stay, we will watch you and we’ll be reading your publication and rooting for you, and it’s a cliché but, we’re here if we can help you, Peter. We’ll do it.
Peter Abrahams: Well I appreciate that.
Andy Ockershausen: We’ll stand up for you.
Peter Abrahams: It’s great seeing both of you and I’m indebted for you having me on. God knows why you chose me, but I’m thankful for it, so-
Andy Ockershausen: You’re the publisher of the most important publication in the business community of Our Town.
Peter Abrahams: Well, I appreciate it.
Andy Ockershausen: And you’re Peter Abrahams and this has been Andy Ockershausen with Our Town.
Announcer: You’ve been listening to Our Town, Season 4, presented by GEICO, our hometown favorite, with your host Andy Ockershausen. New Our Town episodes are released each Tuesday and Thursday. Drop us a line with your comments or suggestions. See us on Facebook or visit our website at OurTownDC.com. Our special thanks to Ken Hunter, our technical director, and WMAL Radio in Washington DC for hosting our podcast. Thanks to GEICO, 15 minutes can save you 15% or more on car insurance.