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Watertown lawmaker concerned about radio show featuring mayor

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) – Watertown Mayor Jeff Smith has a new platform on the airwaves and it leaves another city council member asking: what about the rest of the council?

Board member Lisa Ruggiero is ready to have her say after Smith’s comments on WTNY’s new regular segment. It’s a segment that Ruggiero considers an endorsement.

“If you’re going to be labeled as the best expert on what’s going on commenting on what’s going on in the city and why certain things are happening, you’re only getting one person’s perspective, it’s one-sided. , and to me, that’s biased,” she said.

Smith made his first appearance on what will become a new segment, on WTNY’s “Start Your Day With JJ.”

In it, he talks about the latest news from the city, such as a recent resolution to remove the overflow parking lot next to the Watertown Golf Club in Thompson Park.

“We talk about parking for everyone at Thompson Park, additional parking that has been around since I was born is now a contentious issue. I think it’s just a vendetta against the park and the golf course,” Smith said on the radio.

What Smith calls a vendetta, Ruggiero says, is actually a valid question. She says her new platform on this radio show leaves out other viewpoints.

“I asked, you know, if we were going to have a chance to come, and when a previous host was there, we were there on a rotation schedule. We were all taking turns on the air talking about a meeting or a work session, and she said no,” Ruggiero said.

Jay Donovan, chief marketing officer of Stephen’s Media Group, owner of WTNY, told 7 News the segment gives listeners the chance to hear from the city’s mayor-elect.

Smith agrees and doesn’t see that as a problem.

“I think the segment is a weekly talk with the mayor, and there’s only one mayor,” he said.

But Ruggiero thinks other elected voices should also be heard.

“By not allowing any other board members to be on their radio station discussing some of these issues, to me, it’s like an endorsement for whoever they want,” she said.

Donovan says if the segment becomes too opinionated or political, the station will re-evaluate the format.

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