Rhode Island governor bans state employees from talk radio

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I.) will soon send out a directive to state employees. They will not be able to call into or spend any time on talk radio during state time. Chafee claims state resources should not be used to support “ratings driven, for-profit programming.” NPR of course, will be exempt.

If your an Independent governor who would like to reach out to conservatives, this plan will not work.

To a certain extent, I understand an employer would not want employees spending company time calling a radio talk show. Callers can spend hours dialing the phone and then wait on hold an hour before they get the opportunity to speak with the host – for all of 43 seconds.

But is this really a problem in Rhode Island? Has there been an epidemic of state workers ignoring their responsibilities and showing up on talk radio? A very small percentage of listeners call talk shows, and of those callers a minuscule number of them are state workers on state time.

Assuming there is not an epidemic of state workers ignoring their responsibilities you’ll come to the conclusion this has nothing to do with using state resources to support for-profit talk radio. It’s clearly a political, agenda-driven move.

Finally we all know TV, cable, the Internet, newspapers, magazines and radio are mostly for-profit so why exclusively target talk radio? Oh, we know the answer don’t we?

A snippet from the Providence Journal below, with more at National Review, The Blaze, ABC’s The Note, Politics Daily and from Ben Smith at Politico.

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 [former governor] 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.

5 replies
  1. LarryD01
    LarryD01 says:

    I don't live in Rhode Island, but I actually believe that if government employees are wasting time calling radio programs and waiting on hold for hours, I think that's time well spent.  Anytime they're not doing actual work is good for the citizens of Rhode Island.

  2. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    It's obvious this is targeted. I would actually be ok with a ban on any activity that is not work related on the taxpayers dime. But, I bet he's not going to stop buying things by internet or playing solitaire on the computer or calling friends and talking chit chat. Another political hypocrite flexing his muscle.

  3. Plainvillian
    Plainvillian says:

    I think this is terrible.  Why, it might give governor Malloy the idea to stop Corrupticut's legiscritters, er esteemed legislators, from playing solitaire or viewing other entertainment on their computers during hearings.

  4. winnie888
    winnie888 says:

    This is suddenly a problem in teeny, tiny RI with state employees calling talk radio?  I think there are just far too many state employees, anyway.  If they were to be laid off, then they could call aaaaaall day.  And of COURSE NPR is exempt from this new rule.  pfffft…whatta joke.

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