Impact Insights Blog

Media Moment –– Conor Walsh, Townsquare Media

September 18, 2023

The Impact team has had the pleasure of working with Townsquare Media’s Conor Walsh numerous times in the last year. The host and producer of In Touch, the Hudson Valley’s award-winning public affairs and issues program, Conor regularly shares his work on WPDH, WRRV, Lite-FM and The Wolf. Continue reading to get the full scoop on the man covering the business leaders, experts and trailblazers of the Hudson Valley!

Conor, thanks for being our guest this month! Can you tell us a little bit more about your current role?

It’s a pleasure! I just have to say, I love the hard work done by y’all with Impact PR & Communications. It’s been a pleasure to collaborate several times in the last year, and it’s a real honor to be recognized like this, thank you!

So, I am the host and producer of In Touch – Townsquare Media of the Hudson Valley’s Public Affairs and Issues Program, but In Touch for short!  Members of the community join the show regularly to discuss topics like community awareness, arts and education, eco-tourism, local economy, veteran’s affairs, health and other current issues and concerns in the Hudson Valley.

Outside of In Touch, I have several responsibilities at Townsquare. I host a weekend show Keepin’ Company with Conor on the Weekends on 92.7/96.9 WRRV, The Hudson Valley’s Alternative and I write articles daily that pertain to the lifestyle of our listeners. I also assist in the promotions department by helping with prize distribution and contest scheduling.

How long have you been reporting/producing and what led you to this field and your current position?

I have been with Townsquare Media for two years now, but I’ve only been doing In Touch for one. I inherited In Touch from our Assistant Director of Content, Paty Quyn. She is a powerhouse and a great mentor.  She recognized my ease around people and my general curiosity after working in the building for about a year. I love people, I have golden retriever energy! One nickname I had in high school was “The Mayor” and then in college, “The Unofficial School Mascot” because I was involved with everything. Funny enough, I donned the mascot costume several times throughout my time in college! Paty and I did several “test episodes” together in the summer of 2022, and I officially took over in September of 2022.

Within the year that I have been producing the show, we have made In Touch accessible online along with being on the air. People can listen to In Touch anytime on our station websites and apps, along with streaming services like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube, and more. We’ve seen interest in the program grow exponentially, and I still see so much more that this program can be.

We were also alerted earlier this summer that In Touch had won the New York State Broadcaster’s Association Award for “Outstanding Public Affairs Program or Series,” as part of the 2023 Excellence in Broadcasting Awards. It meant a lot to receive the honor – it was validating. I put a lot of work into growing this program and it feels great to be recognized for it. It went from a program that I didn’t even know existed after working here for a whole year to an award-winning, in-demand show. It’s such an honor to share so many stories of movers and shakers in the Hudson Valley.

What topics or stories are you most excited to report on for your audience? 

That’s tough to say. My background is in the arts. I went to The College of Saint Rose and earned my bachelor’s in Music Industry. Outside of the radio station, I am a singer/songwriter/producer/actor. So anytime I can feature anything in the arts, I feel at home. It’s exciting to talk about my roots.

That being said, a good story excites me. When I have an enthusiastic guest who brings tremendous energy and offers a compelling topic, I can’t help but get energized. I’ve spoken to guests who bring in topics that I know nothing about, so I’ll go research as much as I can ahead of time, and then I learn even more once they come in. More times than not, I am left in awe of a subject I knew very little about initially going in, and then becoming very passionate about the topic.

That’s one of the things that I love the most about In Touch, I’m always learning. Education goes far beyond a classroom setting. I personally am learning and growing with all my guests, and it makes me feel great to share these stories with others.  I’m a curious person at heart, and I have no problem asking questions because I’m genuinely interested in learning.

What is one of the most memorable stories you’ve produced so far or what is one of the most memorable experiences you had as a reporter?

God, that is so tough because I have had dozens of incredible guests on at this point. I guess I can highlight a few things, but there are so many wonderful programs. I’ve been able to do so many cool things that I would’ve never done if it weren’t for In Touch! I’ve gone to shows and music festivals, participated in lively community events, have met presidents, CEO’s, award-winning authors, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers and more.

  • I’ve interviewed founder of The Moody Blues and The Wings, Denny Laine, and I got to see him perform. I brought my dad to that show, and we spoke with Denny afterward for almost an hour. He is such a great guy, and so talented.
  • Greystone Program’s Leap for Autism Skydiving event was an event like no other which I was glad to be invited to.
  • It was a surreal experience to interview author Nick Bruel who writes the Bad Kitty series. I read his earliest books when I was a kid, and it felt full-circle to speak with him twenty years later.
  • I interviewed my dad for his referee organization’s event Officials Versus Cancer. It was cool to highlight an event my family has been so dedicated to for years, plus to interview my dad! That’s so cool!
  • Dutchess Tourism has been a great partner – we’ve had them on about once a quarter highlighting the seasonal events in the area. Anytime Melaine Rottkamp, their president and CEO, comes in, that episode practically runs itself. Melaine offered me an opportunity to perform on the Sloop Clearwater for a Dutchess County promotional video. It was so cool to perform music on a boat for so many wonderful people on such a gorgeous day sailing on the Hudson.
  • I’ve become a resource to a number of people. For instance, I was able to refer children’s book author Nikki Halwani to the Mid-Hudson Library System, Hyde Park Education Foundation, and Poughkeepsie Library District since they were all past guests. That, and since her book pertained to hearing aids and ear health, I connected her with Beltone Hearing after we discussed legislation following over-the-counter hearing aids. Not only is In Touch connecting great organizations with our audiences, but also with other potential collaborators.
  • Organizations like the American Cancer Society and Alzheimer’s Association are near and dear to my heart because of how both diseases have impacted my family. And then you also have organizations like James’s Warr;ors and Be a Friend Project who nearly brought me tears with stories of loss, mental health, and suicide prevention. There are so many, and I wish I could highlight them all right now. That’s why you just need to go back and check them all out!
  • By the way, stay tuned for when I have Filomena Fanelli from Impact PR & Communications on in November 😉

Tell us – we promise not to hold it against you – what is your biggest PR pet peeve? 

Scheduling. Haha! Scheduling is the thing that gets to me the most. Sometimes it goes so smoothly, but other times, I can be playing phone tag or email tag with folks trying to arrange an interview. Sometimes it takes so long, I forget what we are even scheduling! In Touch is currently booked out about 4 months. I am blessed to be so busy and that so many people want to be on the show, but it can be a lot to keep track of as just one person running this. That, and I feel bad when I have to turn people away because they wish to get in during a certain timeframe and we don’t have the availability. I would love to expand In Touch to allow for more content, more inclusivity, and more growth. I think I need an assistant!

What is one thing most people might be surprised to learn about you?

I’m much younger than people think I am! I’m about to be 26, and guests are often surprised that someone in their mid-twenties is the one interviewing them. I’ve always been an old soul. My nickname since high school has been “Dad,” and there was a joke running around that I was an undercover drug cop performing a 21 Jump Street. For my 18th birthday, my friends got me a cake that said “Happy 45th Birthday, You Narc!” I take what I do seriously, and I’ve been put in scenarios in my life where I had to mature quicker than others. I think that has led me to always look for more below the surface. There’s always more going on than we realize, and we can find some fascinating things if we dig a little deeper.

I think there is a stereotype when you hear “Public Affairs.” Most people tend to think “old, dry, stuffy, not sexy.” It’s not necessarily seen as a young person thing, but it really is something for everyone, regardless of age. I think that is a stigma we are breaking. Each week, we show how exciting life can be and the awesome ways that we can help each other through genuine, honest, and raw conversation. That excites me, and as our audience and accolades continue to grow, I think its safe to say it excites the public, as well.

What do you love most about living and working in the Hudson Valley?

The Hudson Valley never ceases to surprise me. After college, it was not my intent to move back to the area, but the pandemic changed those plans. Since I’ve been back, and especially through my work with In Touch, I see each and every day how lively and thriving this area is. There is still so much that I am discovering and appreciating. When you live in an area for so long, you become desensitized to a number of the wonders that are around you. They just fade into the background. That’s one way In Touch is great — it is a constant reminder that there is always more to learn and explore.

What are your favorite Hudson Valley gems that all locals and visitors alike ought to check out? 

The Hudson River as a whole is such a gem. It’s gorgeous, and I’m lucky enough to live only three minutes away. My favorite spots along the river are typically the first places I show out of town guests. I particularly love Waryas Park in Poughkeepsie, especially when the elevator to the Walkway Over the Hudson is working. That, and I’ll often to go the Marist Boat Dock or Quiet Cove to just escape and unwind. I’m a huge Parrot Head at heart (RIP Jimmy Buffett), so I feel very at home on the water.

If someone wants to follow you, where can they connect with you and/or your content on social media?

This Linktree below has everything you would want: our social media pages, our station websites, links to streaming services, and more! I am always grateful for more likes and follows. For those who like to listen on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Podcasts, if you like what you’re hearing, please leave a rating and review. The more reviews we get, the more the algorithms will work in our favor to introduce new audiences to In Touch.

People can find me personally at this separate Linktree. If anyone is interested in any of my music and other content, I’d appreciate y’all checking it out. I’m actually releasing a song called “Screaming (Can’t Speak)” in honor of Suicide Prevention Month. If you purchase the song on Bandcamp, that money goes towards Suicide Prevention Month charities.