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‘The Getaway Guy’ films tourism segment in Massena

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MASSENA - A first-time visitor to the Barnhart Island and Eisenhower Lock area in Massena will be spreading the news about his trip in a big way.

Mike O’Brian, also known as “The Getaway Guy,” was in the area on Wednesday to film footage for a segment that will air throughout the state - with the exception of New York City - on Time Warner Cable News.

Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce Director Kathleen Kelly-Ori said she called Mr. O’Brian and asked him if he had ever been to the Massena area. She pointed out some of its feature attractions, such as Eisenhower Lock, the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project and Robert Moses State Park, and invited him to come and do a feature on them.

“I’m a fan of his show on YNN. It’s a state-wide show. He’s traveled the world for YNN,” she said.

During his trip on Wednesday, Mr. O’Brian filmed an interview with St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation Associate Administrator Salvatore Pisano before turning his camera to a ship that was about to enter the locks.

“The Seaway rolled out the red carpet,” as did the New York Power Authority, Ms. Kelly-Ori said.

Mr. O’Brian also interviewed visitors to the locks.

“He grabbed a family just walking through. They happened to be from Pennsylvania,” she said.

Mr. O’Brian said being “The Getaway Guy” is a dream job. He also publishes books based on his travels and just published his second travel book that includes information from his show.

“I’m always traveling. It’s the best job in the world. I get to travel all the time,” he said.

He began his broadcasting career in 1971 at radio station WSAY in Rochester, and has been with Time Warner Cable News for 17 years. “I’ve been ‘The Getaway Guy’ all those years. They asked me back then, ‘Do you want to do a travel show?’ One of my passions is traveling, so I jumped on it and I’ve been developing it ever since,” Mr. O’Brian said.

His focus is on day trips in New York state, visits that travelers could find affordable and within their time frame, he said.

“New York state is, I think, one of the best states in the country to do a travel show,” he said.

He started his day Wednesday filming in the 1,000 Islands region before traveling to Massena, and was headed back to Rochester the same day to begin work on the piece. His visit to Massena may have been short, but it left an impression.

“This is extraordinary. People don’t realize what goes on here, the importance of the locks. You get to see it up close,” Mr. O’Brian said. “I like the proximity of this. I could probably spend a couple of weeks here.”

The segment on Massena, which will be about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes long, is set to air beginning at 6:25 a.m. July 17. It will air every three hours at 25 minutes after the hour, he said.

For more information on Mr. O’Brian’s travels, visit his website at www.thegetawayguy.com.

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