HARTFORD RADIO HISTORY
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WCCC-FM Memories
    Below you will find recollections from former WCCC-FM employees.  If you used to work at WCCC and would like to share your story please contact us.

George Freeman was general manager of WCCC AM/FM beginning late 1967 through late 1969.  He was recruited from WDRC AM/FM after serving there for some six years as account executive.  
          “I was hired by Erny Tannen of Silver Springs, MD.  Erny owned radio stations at Pocomoke (?), (WDMV) Maryland and Chester, Pennsylvania (WEEZ).  Erny was a consultant to Elektra Records’ Jac Holzman.  Erny was hoping to earn a piece of the stations.  It didn’t happen.     My interview with Jac was interesting.  I journeyed to New York City to Jac’s record label headquarters.  Outside his office doors, affixed to the wall, were the letters ‘EL SUPREMO’ in cast aluminum letters about six inches high.  Jac was wearing an off-white colored suit with a Nehru collar.  This was the first time I worked for anyone younger than myself.  I was 35 years old.  My more frequent contact person was Jac’s friend, attorney Irwin Schlussel.  Irwin’s fulltime job was with Bob Banner Associates.  Irwin arranged contracts with famous personalities for advertising endorsements.  I believe one was ice skater Peggy Fleming. 

          Once I was on board the staff one of my hires was Julian Brownstein of  WPOP.  We were friendly competitors at Hartford’s two rock-n-roll stations.  Julian became sales manager of the WCCC stations.

          Some of our on-air talent were Morgan St. Germain (Dennis Rast), Mike Connors (Mike left us to join WASH-FM at Washington, DC.  Our program director was Jack Bell.  I think we brought him up from Meriden, CT.  

          An engineer for a time was Frank Pingree.

          We teamed up with a Hartford promotor to bring Sergio Mendez and Brazil 66 and Rodney Dangerfield to the Bushnell Memorial Auditorium.  It was a thrill to see a packed house during a winter storm.  When the lights went down our huge dark blue cloth sign with luminous WCCC call letters was above and behind the talent on stage.  I’d guess that banner was 15’ wide and 5’ tall.

          Our office staff included bookkeeper Zelda and traffic person, Joanie.  It was Joanie’s voice singing three musical notes with the lyric being call letters only.  Erny and I journeyed to Boston’s WRKO where a friend of his explained some fundamentals of the Bill Drake program formulae.  It was built on conditioned response research done by Pavlov in Russia.  We learned never to follow use of the call letters on the air with anything but music.  This discipline resulted in listeners learning our call letters signaled something good was about to occur.  Never would we follow call letter jingles with a commercial.

          Ernie and I met on another occasion at Beltsville, MD, home of Arbitron.  The new book had come out and neither WCCC-AM or WCCC-FM were listed.   I was livid.  I called ARB and they explained we didn’t have enough mentions to qualify for a listing.  I asked how many listings we would have to have to be in the book.  After some time waiting on the phone the answer came;  ’46’.  I told them I’d be there on the following Tuesday along with Erny to go over the books by hand.  You didn’t have to make a reservation in 1969.  By 5pm that Tuesday we had exceeded 46 books with mentions of one of the stations.  We were simulating the AM station from its sign on to sign off on WCCC-FM.  I explained the mention of one station was the mention of both stations while 1290 was on the air.  I demanded a withdrawal of the ratings report and re-issue of a corrected book.  After a time they said they would simply change their methodology for AM/FM simulcasts in the fine print inside the covers of all rating books in the future.  The next book found us moving from 00 to fifth place in the ratings and ARB methodology regarding simulcasts had changed.

          Both my father and my father-in-law died during the spring of 1969 within five weeks of each other.  Being the only adult male in the family for three generations affected me profoundly.  I vowed I would take steps to realize my dream of owning my own radio station.  And I set a time; before the end of 1969.

          I chose one in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula; WGON-AM 1400 at Munising.  I paid my earnest money as a deposit, returned to Hartford and turned in my notice to Irwin Schlussel.  He surprised me asking me to stay as long as I could and to show the stations the upcoming weekend to Sy and Al Dresner, broadcasters from upstate New York.  That I did and before the year the Dresners took over the stations. 

          I knew my transfer approval could take as long as six months, so I stayed at WCCC for several months."


John Birchard: 

Nice to see I "made the cut" in the WCCC-FM history... where I did the evening jazz show from 1961 to '66. Never made much money working for Bill and Max, but learned a lot and had a lot of fun. Then, I left for WTIC - but that's another story.


Robert Paine:

WCCC-FM...one thing I remember happened in 1975. I was on duty with the Army Guard in Niantic when I learned the studios had had a fire. I called and offered some records but told them my music tastes were a bit different from what they played. As I recall, they were very gracious and thanked me, and agreed my tastes and theirs were pretty different. But, they were very grateful I called. I think they used a mobile studio parked at the transmitter.

Country Paul Payton, Program Director in the eighties:


    I came to Hartford at the end of 1971 (to work at WHCN, in its third year of progressive rock) and to us, you gentlemen were the legends of another generation. I always felt as though I got in "on the tail end of Hartford" - or at least its greatness as a city. I would have loved to have experienced downtown in the Bond Hotel days, when there were theaters, night clubs, action at the train station (and trains that went everywhere), etc., and before the northern part was hacked away by I-84.

    When WCCC had a Middle of the Road "MOR" format, Bill Nosal worked there on weekends following me, circa 1968. It was owned by Elektra Broadcasting (Steve Harris), the PD was Mike Connors, before Morgan St. Germain and GM was George Freeman ex DRC sales manager.  The studios were at 11 Asylum Street. The FM was mono. the AM was simulcast (w/the FM) and split sign off at sunset. Sy Dresner bought WCCC in '69 and the station flipped to rock after Morgan left for WHCN in '70.

    I don't know (or remember) about GM George Taylor Morris trying to get Stoneman up to 'HCN, but it would have been a smart move. During his "hiatus" from 'PLR, 'CCC hired him for one book; their evening (ratings) slot shot from a 2+ to something like a 10 share; 'PLR saw this and hired him back, and 'CCC returned to the 2 share. One of the things Sy always held against me was that I couldn't find another Stern to do mornings for $225 a week, or a Stoneman to do evenings for $200 a week. Hey, I did get Mike Adams for the morning shift, but he was arriving up to 90 minutes late for his shift. (Of course, it's tough to be on time for your 6 AM show in Hartford when you're waking up at 6:05 AM in Enfield!!!) Mike was a brilliant guy. He sure did a hell of a job on sports on Channel 3, though, and I always liked him; he is one of the funniest people I have ever met!
    Stern and I always got along; he left because of senior management, not me. He worked for me for 3 days - he had given Sy and Milt one week notice the Friday before I got there, and had his wisdom teeth out after his Wednesday show, necessitating taking his last 3 days as vacation. I survived at 'CCC for 16 agonizing months, finally getting fired on my vacation. Had Stern stayed, I think things would have been a lot better for me; I certainly wouldn't have started so far behind the line of scrimmage. But in retrospect, I'm glad I had my shot at the place, even though it really upended and scrambled my life.


Steve Kiely was on air at WCCC-FM in 1983 and 1984: 

    
I worked at WCCC from March '83 to March '84. Although I was initially hired for AM's mid afternoon show, during my one year I worked every shift on both AM & FM. In fact I filled in for Mike Adams morning drive show for a couple weeks on FM after he abruptly quit. I had only been there a couple months when that happened. And wow, what happened. I'll post that in a separate message. I also assisted John Ramsey with a few routine field readings and technical duties. I recall John, myself and Sy were at the FM site on Avon Mountain Sy had just gotten out of the hospital and was walking around the rugged terrain on crutches.
    
I do in fact have a few audio files and one picture from '83. One is from my Def Leppard interview and an excited fan said an illegal word on the air while on the phone. When asked to explain how the expletive made its way on the air I heard someone stated the phone delay wasn't working. As if we even had a delay circuit then!     
     A few names from my brief era - Bill Nosal was the PD, Milt Anninger the business manager. In the office we had Lorna, Merle [Holden] and Marisa [Donza]. Jim Colter and Ted [Griffin] were in sales. Along with names already mentioned the air staff included Paul Rotello, Mike Devin, Brian Battles, Jeff (?) can't think of his last name, was it Damon? I think that was a stage name. The late Joe DiMao, not sure about the accuracy of the last name, I'm referring to Stoneman was there in '83. There was a studio rule... no visitors. Bill Nosal would not like the idea of Stoneman's
wife being with him every shift to pull his records for him. I guess he got away with it because he was Stoneman from WPLR. On AM we had a talk show hosted my Mary Lou [Sullivan], she was involved with the Manchester Community College newspaper. After Mike Adams, Steve Cormier did mornings. I was trained on the board Sunday mornings by Nick Demetrius. Steven David also hosted Sunday mornings. CDs were just coming out in '83. We had one CD player that cost big bucks and a couple CDs. Of course our owner was known at times as "Wait A While...” or "You're pinning...” regarding the VU meters.
    
In 1983 the only stereo component were the turntables, and of course the new CD player contraption. The production studio was all mono with a 4 channel Gates board. Back then it was literally Cut & Paste, razor blades. Splicing tape and reel to reel decks were the tools of the trade. I remember the capstans on the reel to reel decks were so heavy we'd sometimes manually spin them by hand to get the transport to come up to speed. Our playlists were on color coded index cards. There was a formula as to how many times an hour or day a blue, red, green etc tune would be played. I'd pull the records ahead of time and have them in order on the floor. I assume now it's all point and click, or touch.
    
Some recollections as a listener and aspiring future jock: As I kid I recall Brian Battles and I taking the bus to Hartford to visit WDRC on 750 Main then WCCC on 11 Asylum St. What a hole in the wall after visiting the plush studios of WDRC. On the air in that early 70s era were Big John Little, Rusty Potts, and Dan Walker. Several times I remember hanging around until Sy kicked us out. I recall another guy who sort of looked like Sy with a cigar, his brother maybe? We'd then walk across the street and buy a couple 45s from Corvettes and then make a purchase from the disabled guy selling candy from a red wagon. If we had enough money we'd head to Sage Allen's basement restaurant. Remember the all request number? 549-1122. When finally hearing ringback instead of a busy signal I recall hanging on what seemed like forever. What amazed me was what appeared to be the random organization of all the 45s. I asked Dan Walker how does he ever find every record, he said just good memory is the trick. There was a fire at the 11 Asylum St. site and for awhile the studio was temporarily moved to another location.
    
It was a fun year, but after that I went back to where I came from, telecommunications. I'll always have the radio bug though. For years I had a somewhat elaborate home pirate station on FM. Even today I have a legal low power FM stereo transmitter that a pc is connected to with playlists 5 – 6 hours long that I run on weekends.
    
I'm looking forward to reading posts by veterans that were at the station and in the business much longer than me, which is just about everyone else.


Harve Alan’s recollections of the line-up in the mid eighties, (3/09):

 

As David (Gross) was preparing to leave (about 2 or 3 weeks) I had already been given the interim PD stripes and begun to retool WCCC.  Honestly, the station was a mess and HCN was having it for 3 squares every day.  By the time I was through we were a much more modern rock station…playing lots of alternative, pop rock crossover, and traditional rock.  We had nowhere to go.
 

1985
Morning-Rick and Suds
Midday-Steve Cormier
Afternoon-Lich
Eve-Angie
Overnite-Albie D.


1986
Morning-Chris Rivers
Midday-Bill Schultz
Afternoon-Lich
Eve-Angie
Overnite-part timers for a while

1986 pt 2
Morning-Chris Rivers
Midday-Bill Schultz
Afternoon-Lich
Eve-Harve
Overnite-Carol Vassar


1987-1988
Morning-Chris Rivers
Midday-Bill Schultz
Afternoon-Lich
Eve-Angie
Overnite-Carol Vassar


Brian Battles:
I was wedged in there somewhere in '85 before I bailed...I think my last shift was doing overnights, following Angie, and I'd hand off to Larry Caringer doing mornings. And the afternoon drive guy and music director I believe Steve something (damn, I forget, although I do remember he had a moustache and blond-reddish hair, he was from Wheeling, WV, and he always had his girlfriend around the station). I'm sure Kiely remembers his name. That was while we had ... David Something as PD, he was the main reason I quit! It's a bit hazy cuz I worked there 3 times...but in February of 1983 Bill Nosal suckered, er, lured me back from WBAB to do afternoon drive, but then Noz quit or got fired, as usual everyone was blaming everyone else for a bad ratings book or whatever, and I can't remember exactly why, but I gave up and went up to WAQY. And stayed there for just a few months before coming back yet again!
     ....Ted Labner's real name was Labowski (or Laboski)...I remember Roscoe called him that once on the air when he was making one of his nutty New Britain/Polack jokes before he realized he had just spilled the beans...but no one listening knew because they thought it was just Roscoe clowning around. Anyways, everyone used to call Ted "Mr Hygiene" on the air, cuz once when did was on overnights Sy had made him do a seemingly endless giveaway of a zillion "hygiene bags" (soap, shampoo, deodorant, etc) that must have been a trade from some sponsor. And I remember Peter Cole coming out of one of Ted's commercials and saying something like "Everytime I hear him I feel like I just had a shower!" Poor Ted...ha ha!


Jerry Kristafer was at WCCC from August 1st, 1981 - August 1st, 1982:

I remember the day Princess Diana had her 1st son. I called Buckingham Palace to ask if she'd actually had the baby yet, and more importantly why she would ever sleep with Prince Charles!  Back then (& Sy loved this) we could call all over the world "station-to-station"...the US operator would make the call for you.  So we call Buckingham Palace, she says "United States calling for Prince Charles", and the idiot at the other end gives us the phone number of the private suite they're in at the hospital.  So, we real-dial, operator says, "United States calling Prince Charles", and whoever answered the phone said, "one moment"...& hands the phone to Prince Charles!  Obviously, he's expecting President Regan, Henry Kissinger...he says "hello", and I say, "is this Prince Charles", he says "yes, what can I do for you?"  To which I respectfully responded, "So how's it hangin' Chuck, it's Jerry Kristafer in Hartford, CT on WCCC ---did your wife have her kid yet or what?"  He gets all flustered & tells me can't say because "it's a matter of national security".  I said, "you are the baby's father, right?" (all along my contention was that he was either sterile from all those drafty breezes blowing up his family jewels under those kilts...or as I'd already stated, why would she sleep with him?!?!?!?) Needless to say, he gets flustered & hangs up---I go nuts...the operator & I continue to call back to demand an apology for his abruptly rude end to the conversation...
     Now here's the freakin' weirdest part of all this...I'm calling England--Live We'd also called Carbone14, a radio station in Paris where they had live sex on the air on Saturday nights; Sophia Loren in an Italian prison to talk to the person in the next cell to see if he had watched her bathe---thanks to a woman on Franklin Ave., I found out I had been talking to a sister in the convent where she was serving her time for tax evasion--we called back & apologized; we called the Tallest Man in the World, in the Sudan desert!!!...the head of a tribe in Africa who had like 350 kids-----it was great!!! But, back to the Prince Charles call, I made it live, not expecting to get through...and when he came to the phone & I realized it was him--I looked over on the studio reel-to-reel and noticed it was empty!!! Thought I was going to crap my pants.  Mentioned it on-the-air, and I get a phone call  from a listener...Mike in North Haven...who just so happened to have recorded my show that morning ---apparently as he did every day!?!?!?!  Still have the cassette with his green magic marker hand writing on it...my only copy.
     I think of (station owner) Sy every time I recycle a soda can...or buy a new pen...or turn off the lights to save money---how far ahead of his time was he.  I think of Lich every time I see my 5 year old grandson wearing bib overalls.  I mi$$doing 4 clubs dates a week; at the Rocking Horse, Carrie Nations, Davids, & Rusty's (on 229 in Bristol)....and still draggin' my ass in to do the morning show. I miss cueing up albums, and rotating index cards in packets. I miss trying to squeeze my car into a damn 45 degree angle space in that driveway/parking lot---worse yet, gettin' the hell out....which I did, after exactly 1 year.  I have to say, of my 41 years on-the-air, it must've been a memorable one---or then again, I might have just made up all this crap.

Jomarie Pipolo
I remember doing middays there and when the receptionist was away, I would have to buzz folks in. One day a client came to see Sy, I buzzed him in, and the client supposedly said to Sy "why do you keep your "girl" in that room behind the glass?" . . . good times

Barry Grant
I was offered the job of Program Director at WCCC by Sy Dresner.The money was very short.I would have been making less to go there with vague promises of more to come.One of the incentives was that I would share all the record company advertising revenue -it was very sketchy.Who knows what I might have accomplished there-probably would have been very frustrated.WDRC & WPLR were very generous with compensation by comparison.

Bobby Gray
I was chief engineer of WCCC FM and had the pleasure of putting the AM on the air from Avon mountain. I guess it was 91-92. Somewhere in there.

John Ramsey
I was chief engineer of WCCC twice.
I was hired by Sy Dresner in early 1980 to build new studios for the station at 243 S. Whitney St in Hartford.   The station had been operating out of the 5th floor of the Corning Building at 11 Asylum St in downtown Hartford since the sixties and the facility was in urgent need of upgrading.  On my first day I found out first hand how outdated the facility was and I was looking forward to building a modern facility for a station that I had been listening to for almost a decade.  Much to my dismay I was informed that there was only a very small budget for the move and that most of the Asylum St equipment would be reused!
My first task was to figure out a way to move both the AM and FM stations, which were programmed separately at the time, without any off air time. This was complicated by the fact that I had to reuse the existing equipment.  We were able to get a 6 month waiver from the FCC that allowed us to simulcast the FM programming on the AM station which would allow me to relocate the AM studio equipment to the new building and use it as the FM studio.
The 243 South Whitney St building that Sy had purchased was a one story, 6,000 square foot building with about the first 1/3 of the building taken up by a tenant.  So we designed a facility for the rear part that include AM and FM air studio, a production studio and a production/jock prep room.
Since money was tight I had to building the facility single handed.  The wiring alone took close to a month.
        We started broadcasting from the new building in early July, a few days before our FCC simulcast waiver ran out and we made the switch with no off air time.
I left WCCC for WDRC in 1984.
When Marlin Broadcasting purchased WCCC from Sy Dresner in 1998 I was their first hire.  Marlin's owner was determined not to have his staff broadcasting from the S. Whitney St studio which hadn't changed much from which I had built them 18 years previous and were well worn.  So once again I would be in charge of moving WCCC, this time into a really nice, 3 story brick house on Asylum Ave, a building formally occupied by WHCN. 
 
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