October Surprise Podcast Series

“October Surprise” will feature citizens from PA 16 discussing key issues, moral leadership

(Erie, PA, Sept. 5, 2018) – October Surprise, a podcast created for citizens by citizens in Pennsylvania’s new 16th Congressional District, was formally launched today by a lifelong resident of Northwest Pennsylvania. The podcast will focus on the race between incumbent Mike Kelly and challenger Ron DiNicola and provide insights on important topics such as education, healthcare, infrastructure, immigration, opioids, taxes, wages, the economy, and women’s issues. October Surprise will feature interviews with elected officials, grassroots leaders, and extraordinary citizens from PA 16 to discuss the issues facing residents in Erie, Crawford, Mercer, Lawrence, and Butler Counties.

The host of October Surprise is Erie native Jim Roddy who has 25 years of experience in publishing, broadcasting, and podcasting. “Today’s political discussions are full of spin, sound bites, name-calling, and stereotyping. This podcast will be different,” Roddy said. “We’ll have common-sense conversations with local experts and people who are volunteering their time to make a difference in our community. Our discussions will also highlight the lack of moral leadership and lack of decency in our political discourse and in Washington, D.C. today.”

The podcast’s preview episode is available now through iTunes and via the October Surprise podcast Facebook page, but the first three episodes won’t launch until October 1. Nine additional episodes will be distributed throughout the month. “We’re launching our content only in the weeks leading up to Election Day because that’s when people who aren’t political diehards will truly start paying attention to the mid-term elections,” Roddy said. “We’re trying to reach those on-the-fence voters and will encourage them to make their voices heard when we vote on Nov. 6.”

An October Surprise is defined as an orchestrated political event the month before an election in the hopes of affecting the outcome. Most October Surprises are negative – a secret recording or damaging memo being released to the public, but Roddy said the October Surprise podcast will be positive. “I think our discussions will appeal to Independents, Democrats, and Republicans alike because we’re going to put people ahead of party. We’ll do a lot of talking, of course, but our ultimate goal is action. We’re going to surprise the special interest groups, the political action committees, and the big money when we take back our district on Tuesday, November 6, and once again put people first.”

Among the guests to be featured on October Surprise are:

  • Felix Lohitai, a Sudanese refugee who now assists New Americans in Erie
  • Jerry Mifsud, a longtime Erie teacher, school administrator, and education advocate
  • Cindy Purvis, a healthcare advocate and former local business owner in downtown Erie
  • Kathy Rentz, the founder of Lawrence County Action
  • Chris Rieger, a private practice attorney from Butler who assists low income working families in Western PA
  • Jim Wertz, an instructor at Edinboro University and the Erie County Democratic Chairman

October Surprise is a grassroots movement that is supporting Ron DiNicola’s candidacy but it’s not affiliated with the DiNicola campaign and neither Roddy nor his guests are campaign spokespeople.

The October Surprise podcast is available through iTunes and the October Surprise Podcast page on Facebook.

Roddy is an Erie native, graduating from Bethel Christian School and Gannon University where he was a member of the men’s basketball team from 1988-92. He broadcast Gannon basketball games on the radio for eight seasons, and for the past nine years has published the “Gannon Hoops” basketball blog. For 5 years in the mid-1990s he published two local magazines – SportsLook and the Millcreek Independent Beacon – before joining a technology magazine publisher in Erie for 18 years, serving as company president for 11 years. A 16-year cancer survivor, Roddy authored the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer in 2012.

“I’m not a political veteran or a campaign strategist,” Roddy said. “I’m just a citizen trying to figure out how our community should move forward. I don’t have all the answers but I’m going to dig for them and our listeners get to come along for the ride. Together we’re going to learn what’s happening in our district and what actions our next congressman should take to help us overcome these challenges.”

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