ROWLAND: FROM ‘DELICIOUS DISH’ TO SERIOUS DISS

Former Governor John Rowland tried to find his groove filling in as a radio host on WTIC-AM yesterday, slamming his hand-picked, three-term “partner in government” Jodi Rell and in the process, brought unwanted scrutiny on himself.

When Rowland opened his first show subbing for the cantankerous, darling-of-the-angry-retiree Jim Vicevich last week, it called to mind the Molly Shannon-Ana Gasteyer Saturday Night Live sketch with the two as hosts of a fictional National Public Radio show. Rowland’s show was co-hosted by his pastor (“…good times”… “yeah, good times…”).

But yesterday, he lit things up by smacking around Gov. Rell for what he called “corporate welfare.” On this month’s Bond (borrowing) Commission agenda is $3 million for a company called Oakleaf Waste Management. The money would be used to relocate the company from East Hartford to Windsor, create 40 new jobs and make sure it didn’t pull up stakes, move to Georgia and take with it all its nearly 400 jobs.

Despite what one might think of the Oakleaf deal, Rowland stepped into a pitfall of talk radio by saying as governor, he never used incentives to move a company from one Connecticut town to another. The Shad immediately recalled the 2003 “Diagio Distillers Deal” in which Rowland offered Diageo North America, a liquor distiller, millions to move from Stamford to Norwalk. CTNewsJunkie also recalls the deal.

As someone who spent more than 12 years in radio including shows on WTIC-AM, The Shad knows full well that talk radio is not as easy as it looks—most politicians, political staffers and other full-of-themselves types—could never do it. But the use of absolutes (“never,” “always,” etc.) can get one into trouble.