NJ101.5’s Ask the Governor: Back Then…The Unofficial History of NJ101.5
“Ask the Governor” has been around, on and off, on New Jersey 101.5 for a long time. News Director Eric Scott reminded me that it all started, back then, with Governor Jim Florio in the early 90’s. In the midst of being pounded about his proposed tax hikes, Florio bravely faced our audience at least twice during his tenure.
The night Christie Whitman defeated Florio, she committed to do “Ask the Governor” every month, and pretty much kept to that promise. When Whitman left to become President George W. Bush’s Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Donald DeFrancesco, who filled out the remaining part of Whitman’s term, also did the show.
When Jim Mc Greevey won the Governor’s office back then, he agreed to do, “Ask” every month, and pretty much kept his promise.
Not all of the fireworks on this show has been on the air. There have been some interesting behind-the-scenes occurences around “Ask the Governor” night here, too. There was the time Governor Mc Greevey cornered Eric Scott in the hallway before the show. Mc Greevey was troubled by reports he had been hearing…rumors and reports about things and goings-on around his administration. So one night, he confronted Eric in the hall and looked him in the eye and said, “Eric, listen to me…I am not gay!”
Eric also tells me that no matter how rough the questioning went on “Ask the Governor” back then, Mc Greevey was generally a good sport. But one night, Eric started questioning Mc Greevey about Jose Santiago and Santiago’s problems while attempting to trump up his status as State Police Superintendent. Eric says Mc Greevey became visably angry that evening back then, and came as close as he ever did to walking out of the show.
Then there was the famous near-fight between former Jersey Guy Craig Carton and Acting Governor Dick Codey. Codey took exception to remarks by Carton during his afternoon show about post-partum depression problems Codey’s wife had struggled with. When Codey arrived one evening to do the show, he encountered Carton. Words were exchanged. As the story goes, a State Trooper, part of the Governor’s bodyguard, stepped between Carton and Codey to head off a real fight.
When Jon Corzine was elected, he did a total of four “Ask the Governor” shows. Three from our studios and one from the Statehouse before he opted to try to get his message out to the people of New Jersey from radio stations in New York and Philadelphia.
And our present Governor, Chris Christie, has been a faithful follower, and has done the show with Eric regularly. But remaining true to his classic combative style, Christie never hesitates to verbally ‘duke it out’ with Eric or any caller about any issue that he feels strongly about.
“Ask the Governor” on New Jersey 101.5. It has been around for a long time and has become one of our cherished institutions.