Meet the Media – David Perry, host of Ten Percent on Comcast Hometown Network

Meet the Media – David Perry, host of Ten Percent on Comcast Hometown Network
What’s your top priority at work for today?
My top priority at work is to enjoy my work and to be of service. My favorite ‘business quote’ is this by Kahlil Gibran, author of The Prophet. “Work is love made visible and if you cannot work with joy, better to sit at the door of the temple and beg alms of those who work with pleasure.” My grandfather said it best: “The most important thing is to enjoy your work.” My job is communicating on behalf of clients – clients in which I believe. Unless I truly love my work and believe in my clients, I am useless. I only work with people and organizations I like. The money – it follows when you set your goals on what is right and what is enjoyable.
Tell us about your dream assignment.
My dream assignment is traveling and writing about it on behalf of a client. Right now, we’re working with the Richmond [California] Convention & Visitors Bureau (“Richmond: Poised for the Present!”) promoting what is truly one of the Bay Area’s most vibrant – and misunderstood – communities. Once or twice a month, my team visits hidden gems of Richmond to videotape and broadcast the special qualities of Richmond. For instance, Point Richmond is, without a doubt, one of the most charming neighborhoods I’ve ever visited. It’s like a little bit of Mayberry right here on San Francisco Bay. Also, I’m lucky that I get free trips aboard ships in exchange for lecturing about maritime history. That, truly, is the best of all worlds: being aboard a ship and talking about ships!
Describe one of the wackiest proposals/ideas you’ve been sent.
In the realm of wacky proposals, I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been sent one, but I’ve had a couple of which I’m especially proud. My favorite all-time, wacky proposal that worked: bringing over Darth Vader and his Imperial Storm Troopers from Skywalker Ranch to San Francisco aboard a Golden Gate Ferry to mark the start of the “Art of Star Wars” exhibit at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in December 1994. Lord Vader held a boatload of morning commuters “hostage” until we got to the SF Ferry Building where then Mayor Frank Jordan promptly surrendered the City. It was a total risk and could have flopped. Luckily, it was a slow news day and EVERY TV station showed up. Darth disembarked and took a motorized cable car to Yerba Buena Center where he was greeted by several thousand screaming fans. The Force was with us that day. Most fun I’ve ever had on the job. Giggled the whole day. My only regret is that that was “pre Facebook.” Holy Yoda – we’d have broken the Internet.
What is your PR/marketing pet peeve?
My biggest PR / marketing pet peeve is that people don’t understand PR / marketing. Of course, how can I complain about that: it’s my job to explain But seriously, there’s no way that PR / marketing can make a bad product or experience good. Our job is about communications – not PR or marketing. Personally, I think those terms have become obsolete. My job – our job – is one thing, and one thing only: building relationships.
What’s a top industry trend you’re currently following or are interested in?
I think a trend nowadays is back to the future: the personal touch. In a world where 50 gazillion people can see your video, what sets your apart? I think, more and more, what clients want is good, old-fashioned, non-hype advice.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a native Virginian whose family on both sides came from Europe in the early 1600s. Because of that, I’ve always been fascinated by history – all history. At one point, I thought seriously about becoming a priest, and attended a Catholic military school when I was young. It sounds dreadful, but the education I received was amazing. Of course, realizing at an early age I was gay made my teenage years conflicted ones. Theatre and music school in New York state settled my conflictions and helped me come out of the closet: it was theatrical. I paid for college by playing piano and singing at a nightclub. Although I loved performing, I soon realized that I liked writing and being backstage more than being onstage. Of course, being in communications and hosting a TV show is evidence that my college degree wasn’t totally wasted. In 1998, I realized a childhood dream and worked my way around the world by ship, writing the passenger newspaper aboard the Crystal Symphony and visiting more than 60 countries. Just like Liza Minnelli in Ring those Bells, when I got back, I met my husband, Alfredo Casuso. We celebrate 17 years together on December 1. He’s my hero.
Questions or comments for David? Leave a comment below.

6 thoughts on “Meet the Media – David Perry, host of Ten Percent on Comcast Hometown Network

  1. David, your piece has left me somewhat speechless. Thank you for your reminding us all so poignantly what’s truly important. I think we all strive to live the way you describe – to love our work, to focus on being of service, and to remember that if we follow our passion, love what we do, and treat others with respect, the rest will all fall into place. Thank you for sharing your story! – Jennifer

  2. Thanks for taking the time to share this with us David. I love your answer to the top trend question, and the personal touch you mention is perfectly encapsulated in each episode of Ten Percent. We’ll see if we can send some wacky assignments your way soon 🙂

  3. David, thanks so much for your thoughtful responses. I feel as if I know you on a more personal level now. Having had the chance to watch you in action during a recent taping, you are a terrifically talented interviewer and pull out memorable stories from each of your guests. Keep up the good work!

  4. This is a wonderful interview with David Perry. I now understand where is great work in communication comes from. It is formed from a remarkable life. Keep up the good work.

  5. David, thanks for reminding us on the importance of enjoying your work! I’ve also worked on projects in Richmond and completely agree with your views of the city – it truly is a very misunderstood community, but definitely one that has a lot to offer.

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