by John Dankosky - Funny moments in the WNPR newsroom this week when Colin McEnroe realized that his old time-slot on WTIC is being taken over by former Governor and ex-con John Rowland.
As Colin told the Courant’s Java column, “It’s also a beacon of hope for Eddie Perez…Somewhere there’s an overnight slot waiting for him.”
Now, I’m not going to pass judgement on the quality of the show – it starts today, and who knows what it will sound like after a few weeks of doing this every day. Nor do I want to suggest to the people at WTIC what they should do with their programming. (Last I checked, a lot more people still listen to WTIC every day than WNPR.)
But this decision to put Rowland on the radio seems to have fully taken our state’s “50,000 watt flamethrower” and completely turned it into a vehicle for partisan political speech. At least, when Colin and Diane Smith were let go more than a year ago, the station preserved an afternoon drive time slot for daily Connecticut news. ”Total News” with Bill Pearse and Aaron Kupec was an aggressive attempt to bring a big chunk of daily news content back to the air, in a classic WCBS style. Now, that news is gone, too, replaced by a steady diet of Ray Dunaway’s kind and gentle conservatism, Jim Vicevich’s country music tea party on the air, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and now a disgraced former Republican Governor who’s been (not too subtly) looking everywhere for work and attention since being released from a Pennsylvania prison.
First his hometown of Waterbury gave him that attention by dropping a sweetheart “economic development” job in his lap, now Connecticut’s most venerable broadcaster has indulged him, too.
Look, I wish John Rowland well, and I hope his radio career is the beginning of a second act filled with redemption. But as someone who loves radio, and what it can mean for our community, I’m just very sad about the shape of the “flamethrower.” WTIC has a remarkable history of providing diverse viewpoints, news and analysis. But it now seems content to park itself on the Right, taking on a predicable position in a loud, pointless culture war.
I can’t wait to listen to the show. I hope Rowland proves me wrong.