Dimitri Vassilaros, your loveable Libertarian, keeps things live and dangerously local each Saturday 6-9 pm on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA. Recently, the suit down the hall broke Dimitri’s cardinal Tweeter rule – do not, under any circumstance, try to interact with the host – for the latest installment of “10 Questions.”
#1 Q: You have a hugely popular show on Saturday nights. What should your listeners know about you that they don’t?
A: I really am not as dumb as I sound. No one, actually, could be as dumb as that. They also might be surprised to know that I never committed a major felony, I never was slapped in the face by an outraged woman and I’d give all this up to be the new head coach of the Swedish Bikini Team. And, I get a big kick out of talking to listeners who simply cannot stand anything about me.
#2 Q: What do you remember most about your first day at KDKA?
A: My sense of awe about being in the cathedral of radio, the world’s first radio station. I pictured where Rege Cordic might have been sitting when he made radio magical for an impressionable little snot-nosed kid.
#3 Q: You claim to be our “loveable Libertarian.” What does this mean?
A: “Loveable” is self-evident whenever someone meets me. Or not. I am someone who some listeners love to hate, but they know I mean no harm. I never call my listeners names and I won’t allow them to call others names. “Libertarian” means I am a member of the Libertarian party, the third-largest political party in the United States. We believe in personal freedom and personal responsibility. There is no such thing as a victimless crime. If there is no victim, there is no crime. And man was not created to be someone’s servant, subject or slave. Ya gotta love me for that, eh? Or not.
#4 Q: When you say you are “live and dangerously local,” how should I protect myself while listening to your show?
A: Physically; with a batting helmet, chest protector and cup. Intellectually, don’t let your guard down when debating me, because if there is a flaw in your argument (and clearly there must be if we don’t agree on an issue), I will find it.
#5 Q: Tell us the story behind your now-famous and viral interview with Sarah Palin.
A: My editor at my day job, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, suggested I call this governor in Alaska and see if she would grant me an interview. This was right after a national magazine published a glowing piece about her, and well before she was nominated to be a vice presidential candidate. She said yes. We spent a delightful hour or so on the phone. (I swear she was winking at me as we spoke, but I cannot confirm that.) She claimed in no uncertain terms that she is a Steelers fan. I will hold her to that. I must say, she did not sound like a dim bulb. She was bright, articulate, well-informed and yes, darn cute.
#6 Q: Dimitri Tweeter (Saturdays 8:30-9 pm): What’s up with that?
A: I ask callers what they are doing, but they cannot interact with the host. The average call lasts about three seconds, and I stay out of the way. I am intrigued by silence as a way to communicate (blame Paul Harvey). I had done a rougher version of Dimitri Tweeter when I hosted the morning show at another 50,000-watt station. Callers were invited to call in and say or do what they wanted, but they could not interact with the host. The listeners loved it. It gives them a chance to shine. Some are very creative. And, most importantly, it allows me to goof off for a half hour and still get paid. It’s your basic win-win situation.
#7 Q: Dr. Cyril Wecht was the first in-studio Tweeter guest-host. If you could have anyone you want, alive or dead, host Celebrity Dimitri Tweeter, who would it be?
A: Jesus. However, he would not need to ask “what are you doing” because he would already know.
#8 Q: I’d like to call your show, but I can never seem to muster any “A” material. Would you accept “B” or maybe “C-plus”?
A: I do not grade on a curve. I have standards, dammit! (Um, but if it’s a slow night, I’ll take what I can get – and be grateful for it.)
#9 Q: Demetrius Ivory, the weather guy on Channel 4, told me the other day that people ask him all the time about his Saturday night talk show on KDKA Radio. Can you believe that?!
A: I can believe that if I believe the person making that claim is on crack. I wish everyone would stop calling me Demetrius (or Dimi, Dimeech or jerk face) and call me by my real name Dimitri – with three I’s, not eyes.
#10 Q: Who would you rather party with: Ben Roethlisberger, Santonio Holmes, Luke Ravenstahl or Sienna Miller?
A: Sienna Miller because she looks better in a dress than do the other three.
Bonus Question: I’ve met your wife Leslie and it’s obvious you got the better deal. Why not bring her on your show sometime like you did when you worked in Wheeling?
A: The last time I did that, we ended up getting married. I’m not sure I can withstand another traumatic event.