Columnist Upset Over Lovallo’s Ouster At “Talk of Connecticut”

February 19, 2012
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Returning from a trip last Wednesday, I was shocked and angered to learn Dan Lovallo had been “let go” by the radio network that calls itself “Talk of Connecticut.” Torrington’s WSNG is part of that network which is owned by Buckley Broadcasting.

Dan Lovallo

Lovallo was told by vice president and General Manager Eric Fahnoe that the move was made for budgetary reasons. My reaction to the unpleasant news was this: If a company finds itself in a money bind, is it a wise thing to dispose of one of its most valuable and successful assets?

The answer is no. What you do is find another solution, instead of taking the easy way out.

Personally, I’m hard-pressed to accept the company’s reasons, although I’m not privy to their books.

Lovallo, with the company since 1996, was never paid a ton of money. Eliminating his salary for a cheaper product, namely “canned” programming, is patently foolish, short-sighted and disloyal. It cheats and insults the wide listening audience Lovallo has built over six successful talk show years. It is a self-inflicted black eye for the network and a slap in the face to listeners who are, ultimately, the ones who pay the bills.

Telephone calls, emails and Facebook postings protesting the firing continue to pour in. But the company is apparently just riding out the storm and offering no explanation other than “budgetary constraints.”

I spoke Wednesday to both old friend Lovallo and to Fahnoe, whom I have never met.

Fahnoe said, “I hold Dan in the highest regard. He is a personal friend. I’ve been on some of the cruises he has led. And so this was very hard to do. Yes, it was my decision and it was not made lightly.”

I’ll give him credit for being honest and forthcoming with me. He didn’t try to hand off the responsibility for the decision to higher-ups. In a way, I feel sorry for him because he’s the person who gets full blame for a decision that has been greeted with an avalanche of angry protest from Dan fans.

But I wish Fahnoe had tried a little harder to retain Lovallo. This action shows him to be kind of a lightweight, especially when compared to his predecessor, retired Wayne Mulligan. The action makes me wonder about the future of the “Talk of Connecticut.”

They have made deep cuts in the staff at the radio network, which, besides the Torrington site, includes WDRC in Hartford, WMMW in Meriden and WWCO in Waterbury. Lovallo has had to be a one-man gang over there. He had very little help with his daily three-hour show.

He had no producer, no call screener and no one to help prepare his shows or do research, and no assistance in handling all the jobs connected with it. It got to the point where he had to line up his own guests, and it got so bad that Lovallo told me he had to actually schedule his bathroom break. Industry people were marveling at his handling of a work load that was like no other.

“No way,” they’d say. “It can’t be done.”

Lovallo kept his sense of humor and did it all. His reward was being told Monday by Buckley Broadcasting, through Eric Fahnoe, that he didn’t work there anymore.

So much for reciprocal loyalty.

It was in 1996 that Lovallo went to work for WDRC. For one year, the network broadcast Connecticut Pride (Continental League) basketball games. Dan traveled coast to coast with the team. He was hired by station manager Wayne Mulligan, now retired. Then he became the news-and-sports man on the Brad Davis Show in the mornings. At the same time, he broadcast every New England Blizzard game, home and away, on the network. He also filled in for Davis as host on those times when Brad was on vacation or off.

A sports expert and a natural when it came to broadcasting games, Lovallo said he’ll miss broadcasting the Manchester Road Race, which he has done every year since 1999. Also, he had partnered with Jeff Dooley airing the New Britain Rock Cats until Fahnoe, in another puzzling decision, cut ties with the team.

In March of 2006, Mulligan informed Lovallo he was being assigned his own talk show daily from 3 to 6 p.m.

“My goal was to make it local,” Lovallo said. “The airways are full of national talk shows. The local market was under-covered.”

He set about pursuing that goal and did it with great skill and remarkable success. He always did his homework and was very aggressive without being obnoxious. He backed down to no one.

The reaction to his shabby treatment by Fahnoe and Buckley Broadcasting speaks for itself and says a lot about Dan Lovallo. I hope the protests from listeners continues. I know this – the stations have lost a great part of their audience in the 3 to 6 drive time period, and a valuable airing of local viewpoints has been forfeited.

“Talk of Connecticut” my eye.

Owen Canfield is a columnist for The Register Citizen in Torrington. This column was first published Saturday in that newspaper and is reprinted here with Owen’s permission.

In disclosure, both Owen and Dan are friends of mine and I used to be a weekly guest for a few minutes every Tuesday on Dan’s show.

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11 Responses to Columnist Upset Over Lovallo’s Ouster At “Talk of Connecticut”

  1. Rob K on February 20, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Agreed. The storm is long from over.

  2. Andrew on February 20, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Thanks for providing details unavailable elsewhere. It is a sad day in Connecticut radio history to no longer be able to welcome Dan’s voice in our homes. I can feel the entire state becoming more ignorant every second that Dan isn’t being heard! I have a feeling that the afternoon canned programming is temporary, and that we will soon be (NOT) hearing a mind-numbing Democratically slap-happy radio program. Everyone now please “tune in” to Dan’s web site!

  3. susan swidock on February 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I will miss Dan as I listened every afternoon. Do not like anybody on that radio station except for Dan and Michael Savage. Please let me know if he will be coming back to radio. I hope it is soon.

  4. Linda on February 20, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I’m very disappointed and sorry to hear that Dan’s show was taken off the air. I haven’t listened to WDRC since. The information he provided about state government, in particular, was extremely valuable to his audience.

  5. Rev. Christopher P. Adams on February 20, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    “Dan Lovallo was, is, and always will be Dan Lovallo. He spoke the truth and to quote the great Jack Nicholson, they can’t handle the truth. Buckley Radio made a huge mistake in cancelling Dan’s show. And if they think that the listeners are going to fully buy that “budgetary reason” garbage then they got another think coming. Dan Lovallo was the best program on radio because he told it like it was. He was sometimes negative, but even his negativity was right on because it was right. Dan Lovallo will find another opportunity because he is that good. I hope and pray that it will be in Connecticut.

  6. afklonoski on February 21, 2012 at 9:40 am

    we (my wife&I)miss listening to DAN EVERYDay from 3 to6.it leaves a void now.good luck in your endeavers.

  7. Angela Marie on February 21, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I will never listen to WDRC again! Shabby treatment of Dan Lovallo.

  8. ricbee on February 21, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    I am away & this is the first I´ve heard of it. I disagree with Dan occasionally but did like his show. WDRC would be better off canning Brad,who seems to be losing his edge.

  9. Matilda Bay on February 22, 2012 at 9:00 am

    I say dont contact Buckley, contact their advertisers. I will. I will tell them I no longer listen 9-12 (I found Glenn Beck on a Springfield station) and now I will no longer be listening 3-6.

  10. Renee Deemy on April 27, 2012 at 5:49 am

    I found Dan’s show by accident. I was tired of listening to the same old garbage and while flipping around, happened to stumble upon it. I was instantly hooked. The amount of good information that Dan provided to the citizens of Connecticut was invaluable. I am beyond disappointed in this station for cancelling his show. “Budgetary reasons” …..yeah, that’s the oldest one in the books. I hope Dan finds a voice elsewhere!

  11. James Garvin on October 29, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Well i am supriswd to hear of Dan’tdeparture from DRC.
    % Years ago my wife and I moved to Hawaii and from time to time I would check the WEB SITE to find out what was going on in Hartford.

    Sorry: James Garvin

    Good Luck Dan on the June 9,Show. Seeing I have not seen anything about its success.
    HOPE IT IS SUCCESSFUL!

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