John Rowland, Alan Freed and CBS

Once at Brass Mills Center he was mistaken for me. He gave her the autograph anyway.

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Oh, John Rowland. You never cease to amaze me.

Governor John Rowland was a moderate Republican from Connecticut. He went to prison for his thievery in office.

I met him a few times. He was charming. Worked crowds well. Likable.

Once at Brass Mills Center he was mistaken for me. He gave her the autograph anyway.

I’m not in Connecticut to really hear about this, but from what I’ve read (especially the excellent piece by Ed Mahony and Jon Lender in the Courant) he was selling his opinion and access to his radio show.

There’s nothing wrong with espousing your opinion. There’s nothing wrong with selling access and support. What’s wrong is doing it secretly.

We allow commercials. We allow infomercials. They must be disclosed as such.

Here’s why Alan Freed’s in the title. Back in the 50’s Freed was hugely influential as one of the first rock and roll disk jockeys.

Freed’s career ended when it was shown that he had accepted payola (payments from record companies to play specific records), a practice that was highly controversial at the time. There was also a conflict of interest, that he had taken songwriting co-credits (most notably on Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene”), which entitled him to receive part of a song’s royalties, which he could help increase by heavily promoting the record on his own program. However, Harvey Fuqua of The Moonglows insisted Freed co-wrote “Sincerely”.

Freed lost his own show on the radio station WABC; then he was fired from the station altogether on November 21, 1959. He also was fired from his television show (which for a time continued with a different host). In 1960, payola was made illegal. In 1962, Freed pleaded guilty to two charges of commercial bribery, for which he received a fine and a suspended sentence.- Wikipedia

Freed was the whipping boy in the payola scandal. He was destroyed. New laws and rules were implemented.

From the FCC:

Federal law and FCC rules require that employees of broadcast stations, program producers, program suppliers and others who, in exchange for airing material, have accepted or agreed to receive payments, services or other valuable consideration must disclose this fact. Disclosure of compensation provides broadcasters the information they need to let their audiences know if material was paid for, and by whom.

Rowland is responsible, but so is CBS. Guarding the public airways is part of the licensee’s responsibility. It was they who entrusted WTIC to him every day.

CBS actually signed a consent decree in a payola case in 2007. They should know the rules. They are on the hook.

This will be very complex. I hope it’s well reported. I want to follow along.

8 thoughts on “John Rowland, Alan Freed and CBS”

  1. John Rowland’s jury will start to be picked Aug 5th in New Haven. I have to report for jury duty on Aug 6th in New Haven. Given the media blitz about this, I am guessing that is what I’ll be voir dire’d for and I am not looking forward to it.
    Personally, I think it is a sham to get him off the radio for the next two election cycles. I also think if it were not a sham the Foleys would have gotten more than a slap on the wrist for their part even though they are helping the prosecutor. I don’t know election contribution laws all that well, but his volunteering and consultation work are two separate things and the court will have a difficult time proving it. Everything I have read in the newspaper (I don’t watch the news anymore)and from different sources have not convinced me otherwise.

    1. Good Luck Jim….my husband was on the grand jury last time and it lasted a very long time. He only went a few times a month, but we lived 50 miles from Hartford and it went on and on and on!

  2. My husband was on the grand jury….for a long time….the previous time that John Rowland got himself in trouble, so we are also following his latest exploits. And while I’m not surprised that he’s in trouble again, what does surprise me is how anyone could mistake him for you?!?!?! We never missed seeing him….but we still miss seeing you! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Shirl. I am grateful for the years of support from viewers in Connecticut. It was an honor being in so many lives. Few people have the kind of reach today we had then. It’s sort of mind boggling.

      I miss you too.

  3. I remember a boy in high school had two broken arms. I was headed to the nurses office. It’s my senior year. I figured on the way I would ask the boy how he broke his arms. He tried out for the football team. Poor kid. Well, finally we both get to the Nurses office. I start my usual, “hey I don’t feel very well I think I have a…..fever..” When I said “fever” that was after I saw our John Rowland. This was back in 2001. I said “okay the Govenor is here. I’m pretty sure I have fever – I’m delusional, right?” Then the kid with two broken arms comes through and says “Hey Dad.”

    People do a lot of political dealings and a lot business deals that probably isn’t agreed with. What I can say about him is that at that time, I thought he was a good Dad. His Daughter turned out to be in my class. They were very nice. When it started to become public knowledge and had this whole other first legal fiasco, I felt awful for his kids. For this legal trouble to come around again is almost unfair. Sounds even more unfair that CBS failed to do their part apparently. That sucks and I wish him & his
    Family the best during hard times.

    1. Kids can be very different from their parents.But they’re the ones who get caught in the middle in situations like this. Another thing he should have thought of before making his shady deals.

  4. John Rowland was a lying piece of garbage with no interest or sympathy for anyone but himself. It didn’t surprise me when he was caught doing something else shady. People like that just don’t learn from their mistakes.
    I remember after he got out of prison and was begging his ‘friends’ for money to pay his bill. I was out of work at the time and struggling to get by. I wrote a letter to the editor saying he should ‘get a job, get two jobs get three jobs, whatever it takes…’ which was the advice he had for the poor trying to get by. I won an award for that.
    What I REALLY want for JohnRowland is for him to spend s few years trying to get by on food stamps section 8 housing and a job flipping burgers at minimum wage. Won’t happen but I can hope….

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