Rowland Nails the ‘Elements’ Subbing for Dunaway on WTIC-AM

Having spent more than 10 years in morning radio, The Shad has experienced the very low—a guest dropping an nasty curse with no seven-second delay—and the best—a free-flowing, interesting show, while getting in and out of the “elements” of the morning. Former Gov. John Rowland has had more of the latter than the former so far this week on WTIC-AM. Rowland is substituting this week for the reigning King of Radio in the region, Ray Dunaway, who is on vacation.

Morning radio is certainly different than afternoon drive, the time period Rowland usually occupies. There is a lot of news, traffic, weather, sports and the like. Getting into and out of them smoothly is more of challenge than one might think. Rowland has shown himself to be a natural on the radio when it comes to this.

With the exception of one incident I heard in which news anchor Angela Dias tried to throw it back to Rowland and he wasn’t there for whatever reason, the former governor handled things very well. He’s no Dunaway but then again, who is?

My criticism of Rowland in the past had nothing to do with his ability to host a radio show or the fact that he is a convicted criminal (everyone is entitled to a second chance, something I wrote about at the time). It was largely because his afternoon show is truth-challenged on its best day. He seems to delight in misrepresenting what a particular policy or proposal would actually entail as well as denigrating other politicians who are never asked to appear to defend themselves. The morning show doesn’t lend itself to enough “free” time to talk in-depth about politics or policy. Therefore, Rowland excels.

Then there was the infamous case of Rowland’s interview with then-state Sen. Andrew Roraback who at the time was running for the Republican nomination for Congress in the Fifth District. Roraback was told he would be discussing the issues of the campaign with Rowland only to have the fellow-Republican/host badger him endlessly about his position on the death penalty. Rowland then gave out Roraback’s personal cell phone number on the air. Little did anyone know at the time that Rowland was an advisor to the campaign of Roraback’s rival Lisa Wilson-Foley. I won’t revisit the whole sordid story but suffice to say Rowland is still under investigation by a Federal Grand Jury according to published reports.

In any event, a commuter probably won’t miss a beat in the morning listening to Rowland. He’s conversational, friendly and keeps things moving.