Monday, April 27, 2015

As CT ex-Gov. Rowland heads back to the slammer, his replacement as radio host isn't another right-wing talker


Former CT Gov. John Rowland was beset by reporters as he left U.S. District Court last month after being sentence to another 30 months in prison for consultant-fee scamming. What's interesting is how he's being replaced as an afternoon radio talk host.

by Ken

More news from our radio guru Jack, who has been intrigued by the situation at Hartford (CT) station WTIC, where former Gov. John Rowland, who has already done time for corruption, has now become a two-time loser for repeat felonizing -- at the same time that he was doing an afternoon drive-time show for WTIC -- in connection with attempted laundering of off-the-books political consulting fees (which he seems to have been trying like mad to line up, with not a lot of takers, for reasons that may not be entirely mysterious) through nonpolitical companies.

Now there's nothing new about the station of a right-wing radio host running into trouble of one sort or another with their right-wing on-air talent -- if it's not a money scandal, it's a sex scandal. (Hey, didn't right-wingers used to be stern law-'n'-order types?) It's not even new waving bye-bye to Governor Rowland on his way to the pokey.

Here's the March 19 Tom Taylor Now report Jack passed on detailing the former governor's -- and the radio station's -- awkward situation:
Ex-WTIC Hartford (1080) host John Rowland is blasted by a judge for “shameless use of his radio talk show.”
In passing sentence, Judge Janet Bond Arterton said she’s unsure why the former Connecticut governor – convicted a decade ago on earlier corruption charges – did it this time. She speculated it might be “lust for influence” in the state he once governed. The trial brought out not one but two attempts by Rowland to work for political candidates and have his off-the-books fees laundered through an unrelated business. The first time was in 2010, when Rowland asked for more than $500,000 in consulting fees to be run through a non-profit animal shelter managed by the candidate. The candidate declined, but in 2012, Rowland found a taker. She agreed to route Rowland’s fees through a nursing home chain she owns with her husband. That’s the deal that blew up, while Rowland was hosting afternoons on CBS-owned news/talk WTIC. His former co-host Reverend Will Marotti was one of the people who spoke up for Rowland at the sentencing hearing. The Hartford Courant says Rowland got a sentence of 30 months in prison, but plans to appeal. There’s more bad press for WTIC in a Courant editorial, where the paper says Rowland “used his talk show to promote [the 2012 client’s] candidacy and disparage her chief opponent.” It’s been a year of bad P.R. for WTIC radio, the state’s longtime news/talk leader.
Apparently the ex-governor, who note is still planning an appeal, isn't going to be able to do his show from the slammer, or maybe WTIC isn't eager to wait and see. Which brings us to the new development, which is almost more interesting than yet another right-wing hate-talker doing the walk of shame. It has to do with how WTIC is filling the vacated time slot, with something completely different. From Tom Taylor Now today:
How do you replace a disgraced and jailed ex-governor as your afternoon drive talk show?
If you’re CBS Radio’s news/talk WTIC Hartford (1080), you start all over and introduce an all-sports show for the 3-7pm daypart. As Dom Amore says at the Hartford Courant, “The show, obviously, will feature plenty of Red Sox-Yankees banter, with Hartford along the line that unofficially divides the territories of the ancient baseball rivals.” WTIC will represent both sides of the partisan line with Andy Gresh (most recently of CBS sister “Sports Hub 98.5” WBZ-FM Boston) and Joe D’Ambrosio. Joe’s been part of WTIC for 23 years and has worked the basketball and football games of the UConn Huskies, among other chores. He gets to hold up the New York-centric part of the argument – as former WTIC afternoon host John Rowland prepares to serve his second stretch in prison, on corruption charges. A federal judge sentenced Rowland to 30 months behind bars and blasted the “shameless use of his radio talk show” on WTIC (March 19 NOW Newsletter).
Say what? Right-wing talk being replaced by sports talk? This is interesting, no?

One of the points I've made in response to the braying of the Dump Rushers every time their guy, whose day undoubtedly seems to be fading, suffers another lineup setback is that even if the airwaves could be purged of him, that doesn't mean there won't be a grasping Rush wannabe waiting in the wings. But maybe developments like this one in Hartford really suggest that hate talk is becoming not such good business. That is something.

I don't think there's any less right-wing hate out there. But if it becomes less profitable, the Right-Wing Noise Machine may have to scramble a bit to keep its captive zombies, er, "informed."

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