Danbury Mayor Dean Esposito Confronts Ethan and Lou on Heels of Criticism
Words like "criticism" and "confront" are the simplest roads to describe what went on last week but it's more complex.
The I95 Morning Show with Ethan & Lou and Danbury Mayor Dean Esposito found ourselves at an impasse last week. The Mayor's interests, and the interest of this radio show were not the same and it created some friction.
The backstory goes like this, Mayor Esposito had to cancel an interview with us in November, right before the election. I took it as a slight because he was going to appear on a different radio show that morning. He saw it different, since he'd already been doing our show for weeks, he thought it would be best to speak to another audience, with a different demographic.
I brought my frustration to the show on-air, and Dean apologized face-to-face just days later at a Danbury Hat Tricks game. I accepted his apology, we moved on and Dean was elected Mayor of Danbury, CT.
Then, we encountered technical problems that made it impossible to conduct interviews for the end of November, all of December (2021) and the early part of January (2022). Once our phone issues were worked out, we scheduled Esposito on the Ethan & Lou Show for Thursday's show (1/13/22).
He had to cancel because of a meeting, and I was informed by his Public Relations staffer. The day before the cancellation we were discussing what Danbury would do with the question of retail marijuana sales. One of our topics that morning was about municipalities throughout CT that have opted in, and the ones that have opted out.
It was during that segment that I made a statement that this would be the first question I would ask Esposito when he joined the show Thursday. Would Danbury opt in for the sale of recreational marijuana? After he cancelled the segment, I started to question whether it had anything to do with what I'd said? Was the weed question one the Mayor did not want to answer?
I brought those suspicions to the show and involved the listening audience. I asked them what they thought and most of the messages we received were along the same lines. Here is a text message we got on the I-95 Rock Mobile App from David who lives in Ridgefield:
"In regards to the mayor not going on the show. I wouldn’t worry about it now but see if he cancels one or two more times after this and if that occurs then that tells you he only used your show to get his word out for his election and now he wants nothing to do with you guys."
I never felt he used us but Dave's initial point was well taken and seemed to the consensus. If the Mayor comes back, you know it was just a conflict in his schedule and that is where we left it.
Thursday evening I was told by someone close to Esposito, asking why I went public with my statements and was told that the Mayor was not avoiding any questions, he just had a conflict. I addressed the comment by explaining what our show is all about, and how we operate, noting that we had no intention of damaging Dean's reputation. On Friday (1/14/22), I told the audience about this but in very general terms, and again stated I'd like to keep the relationship going.
The same morning, Esposito came to the radio station, unannounced to have a conversation. We cleared the air, away from the microphones and then again with the mics on, and the audience listening closely. The off the air exchange was a bit heated but we both calmed down a bit before going live.
Below is a video that contains the entire saga, from my initials comments, all the way to our on-air conversation with the Mayor. If you only want to hear the conversation with Dean, skip ahead to 15:30.
I love Danbury, Mayor Esposito loves Danbury, so most days our interests do align but for three days in January, they did not. It's simple, he can't sit around worrying about the Ethan & Lou Show, he's got more important things to do. I can't worry about everyone's feelings because my job is to bring attention to the show.
In the end, I like the Mayor a lot more than I did prior to this. He felt he was being unfairly criticized, I disagree but he got in the car to come clear it up, face-to-face. I respect what he did a great deal and so did the listeners, here is what a few of them had to say.
Giant Sox from Danbury said:
"Respect to Mayor Dean. I like the old school way of when there’s a problem you face it head on. No B/S. Thank you to him and also to Ethan and Lou. Please keep up the weekly updates with the mayor. Great job all around."
Jeremy from Gaylordsville wrote:
"Morning guys! Jeremy from Merwinsville. I’m glad to hear that everyone is back on track with the mayor. I live in Gaylordsville, but I always enjoyed hearing the weekly chat with Mayors Mark and Joe. And in all honesty, the info (along with the fun stuff) is helpful to everyone."
He grabbed the respect nod from a lot of people, and we made great radio, it was a win-win situation in the end.
P.S. I did ultimately ask the recreational marijuana question to Esposito and his answer is in the video above. I also look forward to the reaction about how we are all morons and this is what the Mayor gets for getting involved with us.
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