Herbst to Herbst: Get out

Tim Herbst — timforconnecticut.com photo
Tim Herbst — timforconnecticut.com photo

Did Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity cause UConn to move its sports programming from WTIC-AM 1080 to ESPN-affiliate WUCS-FM 97.9? That’s what Republican candidate for governor and former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst alleged Saturday as he called for the resignation of UConn President Susan Herbst. The two are not related.

"Susan Herbst's tenure has been marked by a relentless drive to transform UConn from an institution meant to serve and educate Connecticut's young people into an activist organization for Gov. [Dannel] Malloy's failed liberal policies," Herbst said. “The notion that UConn will not allow school sports to be broadcast on a radio station because that station also airs conservative programming is an appalling assault on free speech and open thought for a public institution.”

The school’s sports programming, which had aired on WTIC since 1992, will be carried on ESPN radio and iHeartMedia next season, according a statement posted on the school’s official athletics website calling the deal “a transformative 10-year, multimillion-dollar partnership.”

The deal also includes pre- and post-game shows and also will include programs featuring the school’s football, hockey, and men’s and women’s basketball coaches.

In a news story published in the Journal-Inquirer Saturday, Phil Zachary, market manager for WTIC’s parent company Entercom, said the split between UConn and WTIC was not financial, but instead came down to the school’s demands on the station’s programming. WTIC is primarily focused on political talk, airing the Rush Limbaugh Show from noon to 3 p.m. and Sean Hannity from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Zachary said the university wanted more UConn sports talk programming and felt WTIC’s conservative talk programs were at odds with the best interest of the university, according to the story.

Herbst pointed to Susan Herbst's actions during the recent budget debate in Hartford, when she lobbied against proposed cuts to the school’s budget.

“Susan Herbst staged a September press conference with Gov. Malloy and Democratic legislators in Groton designed to attack GOP lawmakers,” Herbst said. “Susan Herbst has become a fundamental part of the problem in Connecticut and a key ally of the insiders in Hartford who have [wreaked] havoc on our state's economy. She simply must go."