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WTIC Airs Rowland’s Show Despite Calls To The Contrary

by Staff Report | Apr 1, 2014 2:17pm
(37) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Legal, Media Matters

Christine Stuart photo

Former Gov. John G. Rowland in the WTIC studio

(Updated 4:11 p.m.) WTIC 1080 AM allowed former Gov. John G. Rowland to go back on the air Tuesday afternoon, shortly after Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said that “any reasonable outlet” would remove him.

Opening day of the 2014 baseball season spared the radio station from having to respond to questions about their drive time radio host on Monday, but by Tuesday there was no hiding from the news media inquiries regarding Rowland’s status.

In a brief email, Jenneen Lee, program director at the station, said that “We have spoken with Mr. Rowland and his representatives and are monitoring the situation closely. Mr. Rowland is expected back on the air this afternoon.”

Sitting behind glass in the WTIC radio station in Farmington, Rowland sat and chatted with Lee as he waited to go live on the 50,000 watt station. Outside in the lobby were three television cameras and one reporter waiting to see if he would offer any insight into his current predicament.

WTNH’s Mark Davis texted him and asked if he wanted to comment on the latest allegations in the federal probe. Rowland’s response: “No.”

When he went on the air following his theme song “Only in America,” he acknowledged the federal investigation by saying “I won’t be discussing the recent news and legal developments.”

“I’m sure you all understand. I want to respect the process,” he said.

He moved directly to his guest line up for the day. The show went on to talk about the Affordable Care Act deadline.

Lee declined to comment further and it’s unclear exactly how Rowland’s contract with the radio station is worded.

Former 5th Congressional District candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley and her husband, Brian Foley, pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to illegally paying Rowland $35,000 in campaign consulting fees. The $35,000 was paid to Rowland through Apple Rehab Center, rather than through the campaign.

Court documents show that Wilson-Foley was concerned about Rowland’s previous corruption conviction and worried it may look bad if the former governor was on the campaign’s public payroll.

Asked about the issue at an unrelated press conference, Malloy said “we all knew this was coming.” Without using Rowland’s name, Malloy said WTIC should take the former governor off the air.

“The reality is that we now know enough — two people have pled guilty to this charge and have identified the party they were engaged with . . . unless there’s going to be a denial and in light of two actual pleas, both identifying who the third party was, I think any reasonable outlet would remove him at this point,” he said.

Malloy called the case “deeply disappointing for the state of Connecticut.” He said it hurt public trust in the political process.

“He had the interesting position of trying to impact and influence political discourse on an afternoon radio show. That somebody would violate that trust as well, is disturbing,” he said.

Nine years ago today, Rowland entered the Federal Correctional Institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania to serve a 10 month sentence on corruption charges.

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(37) Comments

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | April 1, 2014  2:38pm

DrHunterSThompson

Cool. He should stay on. He hasn’t been charged or convicted.  He remains clueless, however, as he proves everyday on the air - but that’s not a crime.

HST

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 1, 2014  3:06pm

Malloy said it hurts public trust in the political process.

Look in the mirror Dannel, look in the mirror.

John Rowland is for sale which is bad, but doesnt come close to selling out the people of this state when you disregard processes meant to protect the public and disregard the constitution. Yes small “c” because he could care less about that and trust in the political process.

posted by: Noteworthy | April 1, 2014  3:45pm

Malloy’s take on violating the public trust is interesting. Where pray god, was this new found love of the public trust when he crafted legislation in secret, solicited funds for a federal election knowing they’re going to be manipulated for his own campaign, or created phony “emergency” legislation in order to bypass public hearings and expert testimony on KENO, gun control and lying about balanced budgets, no gimmicks and GAAP? Just asking.

posted by: cnj-david | April 1, 2014  4:22pm

I didn’t like John Rowland, and I felt no sympathy for him when he went to prison.  But when Dannel Malloy says “I think any reasonable outlet would remove him at this point”, I have to object.  First off, when Malloy says “reasonable”, he means anyone who agrees with him.  It has the same meaning to him as “common-sense”;  anyone who agrees with him, anyone who disagrees is “unreasonable”, or displaying a “lack of common-sense”.  Secondly, why does Dannel Malloy think that he should try to have John Rowland fired?

As for his comment “that somebody would violate that trust as well, is disturbing”; Rowland was convicted, went to prison, and has been released.  Malloy violated my trust when he passed unconstitutional gun control laws under the guise of emergency legislation without the required public hearings; he violated my trust when he allowed the trampling of Connecticut’s freedom of information laws, and he violates my trust as he continually plays games with our state budget refusing to use the GAAP that he stated he was going to when he ran for Governor.

posted by: Salmo | April 1, 2014  4:38pm

This is disgraceful and has been since day one!

posted by: NoNonsense2014 | April 1, 2014  5:12pm

Rowland: “I want to respect the process.” BEST April Fool’s joke ever!

posted by: ABC | April 1, 2014  5:29pm

“He had the interesting position of trying to impact and influence political discourse on an afternoon radio show. That somebody would violate that trust as well, is disturbing,” he said.

With its pure liberal agenda, NPR violates that trust out in the open every minute via its dependence on government subsidy.

posted by: Historian | April 1, 2014  5:29pm

I cannot help but consider the “convenient” timing of the finale of this long FBI and Justice investigation - right before the next Governor convention and campaign.
  Anyone with some knowledge of how the “system” works knows that the Feds are very conscious of the ruling parties desires regarding investigations and trials just before an important election, state or federal - and how negative publicity about a party can just slide a favored candidate under the wire. Evidence? Almost two years to get a plea on this chicken case? Foley, Wilson and Rowland left great big hunking bread crumbs in a straight line…..

posted by: StanMuzyk | April 1, 2014  6:36pm

Under the “law of averages” the Rowland scandal scenario could also surface in the Malloy camp—“which has not yet been found guilty of sin.”

posted by: Christopher55 | April 1, 2014  8:20pm

Lets hope the voters of Connecticut are “reasonable” when Dan is up for re-election and remove him.

posted by: Lawrence | April 1, 2014  10:14pm

It’s great to see the right-wing microscopic minority here go through mental gymnastics to pivot away from Rowland and refocus their hatred on the governor. It’s an easy trick for simpletons.

posted by: gutbomb86 | April 2, 2014  12:34am

gutbomb86

Could not agree with you more, Lawrence. How ridiculous it is to read these comments from right-wingers flailing away in an effort to attack Malloy because Rowland has been implicated.

Here’s what I see happening ... an incumbent governor who just managed to capture the news cycle for more than a week by pushing through an historic (and hugely popular) bump in the minimum wage right before announcing his candidacy. He’ll be running on a balanced budget after recovering from a $3.6 billion deficit 3 1/2 years ago, with significant money set aside to start operating under GAAP principles in the near future. I would expect that a GAAP announcement will come soon as well, because that aspect of the budget has taken a while to come to fruition simply because of how far out of whack we were 3 years ago. He’ll get some flak from gun advocates, but again - that was overwhelmingly popular legislation as well, whether gun advocates want to believe it or not.

AND, he’s setting aside money for our state employee pension obligations for the first time in a generation or two.

If the best thing the Republicans can do is to complain about the state’s amount of borrowing (at historically low interest rates, BTW), then they will need a new message because “we’re borrowing too much!” is simply not to resonate on the campaign trail.

Meanwhile, the governor’s re-election campaign seems to be getting plenty of help from the other side of the aisle as federal investigators have continued to uncover evidence of wrongdoing by high-profile Republicans - including one who has a 50,000 watt daily broadcast platform to remind people that he’s been implicated. Thus far it appears that we will continue to see and hear the former governor spiraling downward as Malloy’s ratings start moving upward again with the start of actual campaigning.

I can already hear Malloy on the stump: “It hasn’t been easy but someone had to be the adult in the room.”

Malloy has always played to win. It seems like his critics are offended by that or something.

posted by: dano860 | April 2, 2014  7:38am

Gut and Larry, I’m with you on this one. Better to stay with the devil you know than the clowns that don’t seem to know anything.
Since we are at the bottom and we appear to relish it and understand how to work it we might as well get comfortable and stay here.
Dannel has done fine job of appeasing the inner city base, once again, and has the top payers happy, until the get the millionaires tax is passed.
It would appear too that he just may get that call from D.C.  That would change things big time.
As far as Johnny, I will never understand the lure of drugs but I guess politics runs a close second. It’s a sad day when anyone grovels for attention and a few bucks. The dummies in this were the Foley’s, duh! Why would they think an ex-con would be an asset?

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 2, 2014  7:42am

Gutbomb again what the heck is that in your picture?

posted by: Lawrence | April 2, 2014  7:47am

Perhaps now is the time for the CT news media to do a historical look back at WTIC-AM 1080’s ratings slide. It’s historic. And I believe it all began around the time WTIC-AM 1080 decided to move toward “The Right Talk.”

Its sports broadcasting has always been excellent and reliable, its news reporters have generally been very good.

But having Jim Vicevich lead into Rush Limbaugh, and John Rowland follow Limbaugh (notice Rowland kept up attacks yesterday on the April 1 Obamacare deadline, just like Rush spent much of his show doing—trying to create a continuity of audience and advertisements)adds up to an entire day—9am-6pm—of right-wing half-truths and outright lies.

And WTIC-AM has lost listeners—a LOT of listeners—over the past several years because of that. That’s my theory, I believe it can easily be proven.

I have to say it saddens me immensely because I grew up listening to Bob Steele and Arnold Dean.

But now I wouldn’t listen to WTIC-AM 1080 if you paid me. They are an embarrassment.

posted by: Hebee | April 2, 2014  8:09am

Should things go bad for Rowland, WTIC has Chris Donavan and Eddie Perez ready to go on the air in his time slot.

posted by: StanMuzyk | April 2, 2014  10:23am

@Lawrence:  You sound politically bitter when you classify Connecticut people opposed to Malloy’s leadership—as being “simpleton” —when in fact—the “simpleton vote” has kept him in office—until November—when more educated voters will emerge—to vote him out of office.  Sarcasm will get you nowhere—but make you sound like a loser.

posted by: NoNonsense2014 | April 2, 2014  11:10am

Malloy is a good governor or a bad governor, and deserving of reelection or not, on his own merits. How is that relevant in any way, shape or form to an illegal campaign scheme involving Rowland? It is as ridiculous and irrelevant to bring Malloy into a discussion of Rowland as it would be to bring Rowland into a discussion of Malloy. Why can’t people just focus on the topic at hand?

posted by: StanMuzyk | April 2, 2014  12:22pm

@gutbomb86: You appear to be “careless with the facts.”  No one is attacking Malloy because Rowland was implicated.  Perhaps you are Democratically programmed to twist the facts? It is Malloy who wants to remove Rowland from the radio station—without “respect for the process.”
Front page in today’s New Haven Register reads “Ex-
governor should be removed from station. Malloy says.”

posted by: StanMuzyk | April 2, 2014  12:38pm

@NoNonsence2014: It is Malloy who brought this scenario into focus when he said:“Ex-Governor should be removed by station, Malloy says”: front-page, in today’s
New Haven Register.  An example of another one of Malloy’s daily. taxpayer paid reelection press- release ploys.

posted by: gutbomb86 | April 2, 2014  12:40pm

gutbomb86

@joe - it’s a sandwich! Favorite sandwich I used to order from a restaurant in my building (long time ago) was a “Gutbomb” ... kind of like a philly cheese-steak with a lot of juice and peppers, etc. ... the chef used to say a sandwich was only good if it ends up running down your arms while you’re eating it.
wink

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 2, 2014  12:46pm

Philly cheese steak with peppers. OK that gets you one free pass from me not attacking your comment some day when it infuriates me. Good choice of sandwich!

posted by: soccermom_liz | April 2, 2014  12:46pm

They should never have put him on in the first place. The right should have better spokespeople than the likes of John Rowland, corrupt former governor or Rush Limbaugh, drug addict. The media have an obligation to the public.

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 2, 2014  12:52pm

As it relates to listeners and number and type, wouldnt the amount of money it costs to advertise during the day on WTIC AM be the best barometer against other talk radio options?

I dont know where those numbers lie, but if it’s a good sized audience of people with demographics (meaning educated with money to spend) wouldn’t that tell you what’s really going on?

If those numbers are good then I would say that they appeal to a knowledgeable audience that has proven they can be successful in life, so I really wouldnt care about who it doesn’t appeal to.

If the demographics and ad revenues are low compared to other talk options then you need to change it.

Rowland does need to go though and put back on Colin McEnroe or similar and I will turn it off. Put on Hannity as he seems to be doing fantastic with his ratings around the country.

posted by: Wiley Coyote | April 2, 2014  2:26pm

GUTBOMB:  You said a mouthful!  I agree totally and appreciate your comments.  Hard to read some comments from these people who hate so .  Malloy is not perfect but he is taking on the debt and budget and doing a great job. 4 more years!

posted by: StanMuzyk | April 2, 2014  2:37pm

The proof is in the eating, and the final taste will com on Election Day.

posted by: NoNonsense2014 | April 2, 2014  3:30pm

@StanMuzyk: No, it wasn’t Malloy who “brought this scenario into focus”. Commenters were bringing Malloy into this discussion before he ever opened his mouth to opine on whether Rowland should keep his job. And it’s not Malloy’s fault that some reporter asked his opinion; he’s just not wise enough to stay out of it. He apparently never heard of “no comment” or “it’s not up to me” or something along that line.

posted by: Greg | April 2, 2014  3:33pm

Despite the NPR hate, turns out their listenership is one of, if not the best informed of current events out of a selection of media outlets. 

http://www.businessinsider.com/study-watching-fox-news-makes-you-less-informed-than-watching-no-news-at-all-2012-5

I swore there was an update to this for 2013/2014…

Regardless, Rowland deserves whatever is coming to him.  If he doesn’t have the sense to just be a mouthpiece on radio and stay out of the political process, then boo-hoo if he’s fired, indicted, or otherwise.  Sad part is he was the only big public counterweight to Malloy in the CT media and not easily replaced.

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 2, 2014  4:42pm

Greg, Business Insider has some cool stuff but it is now recognized as one of the most left leaning sites out there and is actually turning off people who like the non political stories they do.

posted by: dano860 | April 2, 2014  6:23pm

No matter what Johnny has been or will be accused of WTIC would be remiss in letting him go without cause. They would be setting themselves up for a wrongful dismissal and a suit that would cost them.
Dannel is blowing smoke when he postulates like he has.

posted by: StanMuzyk | April 2, 2014  8:10pm

@Nononsense2014; Even if it was a baited response from Malloy is not the issue.  His contention to have Rowland removed from the radio station without process—I feel over-stepped his executive authority. As a lawyer—he should know better.

posted by: Greg | April 3, 2014  9:57am

JBJ- BI cited a university study:

http://publicmind.fdu.edu/2012/confirmed/

Wasn’t a BI-commissioned study.  Google shows this same study elsewhere.

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 3, 2014  12:06pm

Thanskf the link but sorry I cant fathom that watching The Daily Show will make me smarter about the intracacies of foreign affairs and other important issues than watching Fox News or even CNN.

posted by: ConnVoter | April 3, 2014  1:27pm

Has anyone identified what crime Gov. Rowland may have committed?  I have not.

It seems like the obligation to properly contract and report your campaign work falls squarely on Lisa Wilson-Foley’s shoulders, thereby explaining why she sang like a canary in court this week.  If anyone is the dirty pol here, it’s Wilson-Foley, and maybe this will save us from another issue-less vanity-driven campaign by her.

posted by: NoNonsense2014 | April 3, 2014  1:42pm

@Joebigjoe: You’re comparing “The Daily Show” with Fox News and CNN? “The Daily Show” is INTENDED to be funny (note that it airs on The Comedy Channel); if Fox News and CNN are funny, it’s totally unintentional.

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 3, 2014  3:03pm

No what I am saying is that this report supposedly says that if you watch these programs like The Daily Show or even dont watch news at all that you are smarter on the issues than if you watch Fox News. I say baloney.

posted by: NoNonsense2014 | April 3, 2014  7:33pm

@Joebigjoe: Sorry I misunderstood your point. But if you were to watch the Daily Show, you might not say “baloney”.