Another morning drive-time political talk radio show is about to enter the fray, this time on Cayman’s government-owned radio station.
“For the Record,” hosted by retired Cayman Islands civil servant Orrett “O.C.” Connor, starts Monday on Radio Cayman (89.9 FM) in roughly the same time slot as Rooster FM’s morning talk-back radio show “Crosstalk.” The Radio Cayman show will run from 7:30 to 9 a.m.; the Rooster show starts at 7 a.m. and typically runs through 10 a.m., although show times can vary.
Mr. Connor said the opening show would devote half its time to government ministers and the other half to the opposition party.
However, once the three-times-a-week program gets going, it will feature government members on Mondays, independent politicians on Wednesdays and opposition party members on Fridays.
“We basically just want to give the public another platform for them to be able to address these individuals, and Radio Cayman, of course, has its own unique audience,” Mr. Connor said Saturday, noting the show won’t just be for the politicians. “It’s going to be civil service chief officers, heads of departments…even chairs of certain statutory boards.
“If water bills are high, for instance, we may want to have someone from the Water Authority Cayman to come on the show with us. If someone has a question about where or how to obtain a government service, we’ll get answers to that.”
Mr. Connor, the former Cabinet Secretary, said he would strive to maintain as much neutrality on the show as possible and that he would not be paid for the three-day-a-week appearances. Radio Cayman also intends to keep its other talk-back program, which runs in the afternoons, he said.
Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush, who said he would attend the show Monday, expressed some concerns about how the new radio program might be used.
“I think the government is not doing this for the health of me nor anyone else. They’re doing it for their own ambitions and dislike of going and facing people that will ask them tough questions,” Mr. Bush said. “The show is only an hour and a half…a longer show would give you more time to get around to questions you might be asked.”
Mr. Connor said guests on his show would not simply be thrown softball questions by the host.
“Whoever thinks that, they are really mistaken,” he said. “Nothing will be sugar-coated.“
Mr. Bush also expressed concerns about government “paying” for a talk show, but Mr. Connor said he is not receiving a salary and hopes the new show will receive sponsorships if it is successful.
Although Mr. Connor said he didn’t intend to compete with Rooster’s “Crosstalk” program, it was evident in recent months that both government members and independent MLAs were avoiding the long-running talk show since the appearance of former host and United Democratic Party member Ellio Solomon. Mr. Solomon was brought in to replace host Austin Harris following his arrest earlier this year.
Mr. Harris has never been charged and is now back on the morning show with new co-host Jonathan Piercy. Mr. Harris was brought back to the airwaves just recently, even though, according to police, he is still under investigation.