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January 12th, 2011
Rhode Island Employees Forbidden to Talk

PROVIDENCE — No one is likely to confuse new Governor Chafee with his Republican predecessor, Donald L. Carcieri, and now here’s another way to tell them apart:

Chafee doesn’t plan to spend his own time on talk radio, and he intends to ban state employees from spending their state work time talking on talk radio, which was Carcieri’s favorite medium and an integral part of his communications operation.

Spokesman Michael Trainor said a directive will go out over the next day or so that reflects that new policy.

He said the policy emanates from a belief that talk radio is essentially “ratings-driven, for-profit programming,” and “we don’t think it is appropriate to use taxpayer resources” in the form of state employee work time to “support for-profit, ratings-driven programming.”

Trainor said the new governor will continue to talk to the news reporters for the local radio stations, and the nonprofit local NPR affiliate.

Reached Monday night, WHJJ’s program director, Bill George, said he was curious about the explanation for Chafee’s singling out talk shows since “most media outlets, whether news or opinion, are profit-making entities.”

He said he hopes to have a conversation with Chafee in the next few days in the hope that he can change the governor’s mind.

“We believe that talk radio would be an ideal outlet for Governor Chafee because it’s a great way for him to speak directly to the people,” George said. “It’s also one of the few places where he can have a back-and-forth with the state’s citizens.”

George noted that Carcieri was a regular on Helen Glover’s morning talk show during his years as governor, coming in “at least once a month.”

Barbara Haynes, station manager for WPRO, which is home to the “Buddy Cianci Show,” the “Dan Yorke Show” and John DePetro, said she would have no comment.




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