RAY DUNAWAY—STILL THE UNDISPUTED KING OF CONNECTICUT (AND ENTIRE REGION) RADIO

Make no mistake about it. This latest weather disaster proves that WTIC-AM radio morning man Ray Dunaway is the undisputed king of radio in the Hartford-Springfield-New Haven market. No one else is even close. AM, FM, Internet, morning show, middays, afternoon drive, overnights, it doesn’t matter; Dunaway is a maestro, a luminary, the head honcho, the big kahuna, well, you get the picture.

Off the bat, let it me say that I am not blowing smoke at Dunaway (and my loyal Shad readers) just because I appear as a guest on his show from time to time or because he references on-air The Hanging Shad blog when I have an exclusive. It’s because I spent a dozen years in radio fulltime and kept my hand in it when I subbed as host when WTC-AM had an honest afternoon show with Colin McEnroe. And there’s no one like Dunaway in this market.

Going back to when Dunaway was paired with Diane Smith (the only way his current show would get better is to reunite with her), he has been eminently fair. He always gives his opinion but he is also willing to have an open mind and have as guests, experts from each side of the important issues of our time. That may seem like a given for a radio host. However, with the predictable, right-wing drivel the station has on the rest of the day, the contrast with Dunaway is stark.

Most importantly, Dunaway delivers the information his audience needs. In this day of “narrow-casting” on radio, Dunaway never forgets that first and foremost, his job is to get needed information to his listeners. That was never more on display than this weekend when the freak blizzard hit. Dunaway was on the air seemingly nonstop, giving weather updates as well as closing and traffic information. He even stayed-on Monday morning past his show time and joined midday host Jim Vicevich for “Sound-Off Connecticut,” Vicevich’s popular show. Sound off Dunaway did indeed.

You could tell the “Ray-man” was dead tired—and a bit goofy (who can blame him?) but on a roll. “Nature is not an ample-bosomed woman trying to keep you nice and safe…She wants to kill you!” Dunaway was ranting but he was hysterical. He then went into a child’s voice and said, “Oh, the trees, they’re so beautiful…Oh, don’t ruin my view.” Dunaway was clearly referring to public resistance to a more aggressive tree-trimming program that may have kept branches from falling on power lines, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of state residents. The words may read as harsh yet he was able to inject humor into it.

That’s why Ray Dunway is the king. Long live the king.