HARTFORD RADIO HISTORY
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WCCC (AM)
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In 1948 WCCC had studios and offices in what Bill Savitt, the owner, called the "Lower Mezzanine Level" of the Hotel Bond on Asylum St. in downtown Hartford (aka, the basement).  The hotel's ball room hosted many of the top acts of the day and many of these performers were interviewed by WCCC. 

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WCCC HISTORY

 

(Please contact us with corrections, updates and/or suggestions. Email us at: admin@hartfordradiohistory.com.)

 

 WCCC (AM) signed on for the first time on October 26, 1947. The station was licensed to Greater Hartford Broadcasting, Inc., owned by the Savitt brothers, Bill (a well known Hartford jeweler) and Maxx (a local judge). Although there were studios at the transmitter site on S. Quaker Lane in W. Hartford, it is believe that these were back-up studios and that the station started out with studios in the Hotel Bond on Asylum Ave in Hartford. 
        Jack Broitman recalled that from the Hotel Bond lobby, the station was "down the stairs you are at a hallway. As you walk the hallway on the left would be the main studio, complete with grand piano, disc cutter, a window to the hallway and a door to the hallway. A table faced the window leading to the control room and between the hallway door and that table was another door leading to the news broadcast booth.  As you walked past the main studio door and window, to the right was the Music Library.  A door opposite the music library on the left opened into the main office of the station. In it were two secretaries, the news desk, the traffic control desk. In that room was the large air conditioner that serviced the entire complex, the teletype machine, and a door into the Control Room.  It also served as the waiting room for visitors.

From the Control room the DJ had visual access to the main studio and the News booth, and controlled the microphones in both.  Behind the disc jockey were Ampex tape recorders as well as electronic devices connecting to the transmitter.

Further down the hall on the left was another office where the station manager and the bookkeeping department and copy writers sat. It also was the office where the sales department rested.

The Music Library contained a desk and floor to ceiling record bins, also audition turntables."
       The transmitter site was on South Quaker Lane near Talcott Road in West Hartford. The facility consisted of a small brick building with “WCCC” in big neon letters on the top adjacent to the 220’ tall AM tower. 
      
WCCC (AM) was considered a “full service” station offering news, farm reports, sports
, and the popular music of the day.  Although one of the lowest powered stations in Hartford, WCCC’s 500 watt signal was strong enough to encompass the entire greater Hartford area, which in the late forties consisted of the city of Hartford plus the neighboring towns.

 Early staff (1947-1950) included Ralph Della Silva, Harry Larkin, Betty, Joe Girand, Eve Mink; Continuity, Ray Dower; National Sales Manager, Walt Neilson; Program Director; Arnold Kupper, Commercial Manager; Bob Sherman; Music Director, and Irene Dolan; Traffic Director; Larry Lebrun (General Manager) and Lorraine Woram (Bookkeeper).  The engineering staff included Thomas York; engineer, Edward Reid and Gil Ford; control engineers, John Rameika; transmitter engineer, and Howard Wessenberg; chief engineer.  The announcing staff included:  Joe Girand, Rayburn & Finch, Ralph Della Silva and Betty Craig, The news staff include Bill Martin and Ed Weston, News Editor.

As the station grew in popularity more and more area businesses realized the value of radio advertising and purchased time on WCCC.
      The Hotel Bond (one of the finest hotels between New York City and Boston.) in downtown Hartford
was an ideal location for the station.  Located on the twelfth floor of The Bond was the largest ballroom in the state of Connecticut. Offering a breathtaking view of Bushnell Park, the
Park River, and the state capitol building; the room attracted a wealthy clientèle and some of the biggest musical performers of the day including Count Bassie, Ella Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, and Frank Sinatra.   Many of these artists were interviewed live on WCCC.  
    On April 24, 1949, public service rendered by Station WCCC earned the station a citation from the National Safety Council for its six daily one-minute broadcasts on safety direct from local and state police headquarters. 
 

  

Ivor Hugh described what it was like to work at WCCC (AM) in the early fifties:

“The station was in the basement, which Savitt would refer to as the “lower mezzanine level."  We were one of the first stations in the state that had music and news, and we sold "T N T" to our advertisers, which was time, news and temperature, which was a big thing on the radio in those days, believe it or not.  We were quite successful. I had a children’s show called Big Brother Bill along my Duck Leroy on the air for many years.  (We) gave Bob Steel over at WTIC a run for their money, as he was on at the same time. Radio was the only form of in-home entertainment back then.  We’d tell the kids where their presents were on Christmas Day because their parents would let us know via mail in advance. We had a huge listening audience in the late forties and early fifties.

“The call letters, WCCC, stood for “We Cover Connecticut’s Capitol.” Bill [Savitt] would do his commercials for his jewelry store live on the air once in a while, and if we didn't’t do them right he’d let us know. We had a wonderful staff.  We’d get everyone together to do all of the commercials on Friday afternoon. Everything was done in-house then.  There wasn't’t any ad agency stuff.  We recorded directly on 12” blank wax discs, and we would cut the records from the wax. It was a good time in radio

“We had all of the stars come down to the Blue Room at the Hotel Bond; Eugene Normandy, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Rosemary Clooney.  Rosemary had the hit Me and my Teddy Bear, which she sang live on the air.  Some of these people helped out at the Camp Courant parties at the Bushnell.

“Guest artists to the ballroom were going on the air as part of the Sage Allen Classical Hour.  Mildred Allen had to approve all of the programming for that show!  Good Afternoon Good Music with host Joe Girand was a popular WCCC show.  Bill Hennessey was with us as well.  We were at the beginning of the music/news format.

“One of our special regular features was a Sunday morning program called Simcha Time.  Simcha Time, sponsored by Wachtel’s Department store, which consisted of music and news items of interest to Hartford’s Jewish community, with many “mazel tovs for bar/bat mitzvahs, etc.  Cantor Arthur Koret was the host and Bill Hennessey was the announcer.  Simcha Time translates to Happy Time, which is an apt description of those mid-1950 years at WCCC.”


      According to newspaper articles from the early fifties
WCCC initiated a plan of twice-daily fire bulletins Friday afternoon with a special 15-minute broadcast devoted to area fire prevention and in 1951 the station aired a 12-hour radio solicitation to raise funds for the Hartford's Cancer Society’s fund drive.


Jack Broitman (Brooks) wrote in 2009:

“I was hired in 1951 by Paul Martin, Program and Station Manager, a Philadelphian who had some novel ideas on how a 500 watt daytimer could make hay in a market dominated by the 50,000 watt WTIC and a slew of 5,000 watters.  It was he who conceived of TNT, Time News and Temperature every quarter hour, with newscasts on the hour and half hour, and a 15 minute newscast at noon. Fifteen minutes!

He also conceived of the Breakfast Newsboy, a morning show just before the children’s show that Ivor Hugh did, that read news stories directly from the Hartford Courant (with their permission) interspersed with music, TNT, and UPI news.  When I first began broadcasting as a staff announcer we took turns opening the station in the morning and we worked random shifts.  Paul later made me the Breakfast Newsboy, which meant that I opened the station five days a week.  Our license as a day timer required that we not be on the air, except during daylight hours. A little political persuasion somewhere down the line gave us permission to broadcast starting at 6 AM every day, regardless of sunrise.  December hours were supposed to be 7:15 am to 4:15 pm.  That meant that our signal before sunrise was pretty weak and had interference from the clear channel stations that had the rights to 1290. But that did not deter us from broadcasting.”

Bill Savitt was a very savvy businessman with a knack for promotion.  According to newspaper accounts, by 1950 he was running over 400 spots a week for Savitt Jewelers on WCCC, and the same amount on four other competing Hartford stations!  Later he would become one of Hartford’s most prolific TV advertisers.

  

Commercials were what paid the bills and Jack Broitman recalled the Friday afternoon recording sessions where the spots for the following week would be produced:

“That was when Burt LaCoe would stand at the disc cutter, put 16 inch platters on, and we would proceed to record the next week’s worth of material. My specialties were Savitt Jewelers, Castro Convertibles and Manischevitz Wine, each of which has as many as 15 one minute spots. Every goof was grease-crayoned out in yellow.  As the afternoon wore the discs showed more and more yellow on them.”

Jack went on to talk about the sign on shift:

“The morning shift was a lonely one for at least the first two hours, until Ivor [Hugh] came in for his show and the others began to show up.  I did have some early morning visitors of another sort.  One day it was the Hartford Fire Department, because the air conditioner for the windowless studios began to smoke. The belt driven motor was overworked. Lights went out all through the WCCC area and the only power we had was to the board, disc machines and tape recorders. The only light I had was the meter on the board, from which to read the stories from the Hartford Courant.  I casually mentioned the firemen coming in and out of the control room until Bill Savitt called and told me to stop.  After all, we were in the basement of the biggest hotel in Hartford.

   “Another unexpected visitor early one morning was the burly truck driver who popped in while I was on the air and wanted to know where to put the FM antenna he had on his truck.  Assuming he was talking about some rooftop job I suggested that he could bring it down and leave it the hall.  When he told me that it was 40 feet long on a flatbed truck outside on Asylum Street, I figured I’d better call somebody.  That FM antenna is the one on top of Avon Mountain, or at least the first of the two that are there now.”

 

Bill Hennessey worked at WCCC from the summer of 1954 through 1957.  In a 2009 email, he recalled:

   “After matriculating [from Emerson College] in May of 1956, I was completely full-time until getting the ‘TIC job.  Bill Savitt was ecstatic for me, claiming that I was his first “boy” to move up to “the big leagues.”  However, that was not entirely true, except in the context of Hartford Radio.  Joe Girand [Girandola] had already migrated to WTHT owned by The Hartford Times.  And, another ‘CCC alumnus, Jack Downey, had scored an even-bigger job in Philadelphia.  [Jack used to drive a little red Crosley automobile with the vanity license plate:  JDDJ initials for Jack Downey Disc Jockey].                                                                                                                                                         
Bill describes the WCCC studios in the mid-fifties:
            "The WCCC studios were located along the left-hand side of a basement hallway, within aroma-reach of The Bond’s downstairs kitchens.  The largest room featured a glass paneled wall from which visitors could view whatever was happening during studio usage.  The studio contained a grand piano and an RCA cutting lathe for making 10, 12, and 16-inch disc recordings.  The studio had a doorway that led to a much smaller step-up studio that also had a doorway that led into the control room.  Each room had windows looking onto each other.  The small studio was used for newscasts and/or celebrity seating during live interviews.  However, nearly all of the on air originations emanated from the control room.  It had an RCA console with RCA rim drive turntables: 2 facing the large studio and one on the opposite side.  The announcer sat in a roll-about chair at the console mike and behind him were storage slots holding acetate discs filled with locally produced commercials plus factory made vinyl discs supplied by ad agencies.  Above the shelving were two Magnecord PT-6J tape recorders, placed side by side.  The control room studio was adequate, but jam-packed.”        

Live bands performed regularly at The Bond ballroom in the penthouse– but ‘CCC was daytime-only and didn't’t broadcast from there; however Ivor Hugh recalls interviewing many of the artists since most of them were staying in the hotel.  WCCC was restricted by the FCC to operate daytime hours only which, along with their low power of 500 watts, put them at a disadvantage against the full time and high power stations they were up against such as WDRC and WTIC.


        "The station’s low power and restricted air-time made it competitive ONLY from sunrise to sunset.  However, I often stayed after sunset to pipe our Good Evening, Good Music segment into loudspeakers erected at public ice skating parks.  Each large speaker was emblazoned with WCCC in large white letters.  As for ratings, we subscribed to Hooper and Pulse and always ranked well on a head to head basis.  Especially when we were the ONLY station playing music while the others carried network feeds.
‘TIC was NBC, ‘DRC was CBS, ‘THT was ABC, and WONS was Mutual plus Yankee Network).”

   
        Staff in the period 1950 – 1955 included announcers Ivor Hugh, Bill Hennessey, Sid Byrnes among others.

   In October 1959 WCCC (AM) ran a promotion to celebrate the station’s 12th Birthday.  Listeners would be paid for their opinion of the station’s programming with a $5 gift certificate to Savitt Jewelers.  Those listeners who had their comments used on the air also received a Zenith radio and the listener selected with the best letter would receive a Zenith Stereophonic Hi-Fi Phonograph!

In 1959 business was so good that the owners of WCCC (AM) decided to gamble with the new technology known as FM.   WCCC- FM came on air that year with 50,000 watts of power, making it one of the most powerful FM stations in the state.  WCCC and WCCC- FM shared some programming although much of the programming was separate as required by the FCC rules of the day.  A Hartford Times article lists the WCCC- FM start up date as June 7, 1960 but many former staffers confirm that the station actually went on in ’59.  Maxx Savitt said that he hoped to maintain or even improve on the standards of the station’s AM counterpart.  The addition of FM would allow WCCC’s programming to be heard after hours since WCCC AM was licensed as a daytime only station.  “We have great hopes to eventually do cooperative programming with area music schools and colleges in an effort to bring the best and greatest music to our listeners”, Mr. Savitt said in a newspaper interview.

 

1959 - 1969   

       Jack Broitman described what the WCCC studio set up was like in the basement of the Hotel Bond:
       "
As you walked the hallway on the left would be the main studio, complete with grand piano, disc cutter, a window to the hallway and a door to the hallway. A table faced the window leading to the control room and between the hallway door and that table was another door leading to the news broadcast booth.  As you walked past the main studio door and window, to the right was the Music Library.  A door opposite the music library on the left opened into the main office of the station. In it were two secretaries, the news desk, the traffic control desk. In that room was the large air conditioner that serviced the entire complex, the teletype machine, and a door into the Control Room.  It also served as the waiting room for visitors.
        From the Control room the DJ had visual access to the main studio and the News booth, and controlled the microphones in both.  Behind the disc jockey were Ampex tape recorders as well as electronic devices connecting to the transmitter.
        Further down the hall on the left was another office where the station manager and the bookkeeping department and copy writers sat. It also was the office where the sales department rested.
        The Music Library contained a desk and floor to ceiling record bins, also audition turntables."
    

 

Ivor Hugh recalled the early days of WCCC- FM:

   “Opening up...the FM on the mountain was something.   Up until that point I was also on WHCN, which at that time was a Classical station doing the Hartford Symphony on the Hartford Concert Network.  We just put WCCC- FM on the air and did it.  We had a good staff, all pros, so it was routine.  I remember having to fill in for up to a half hour when the symphony concert started late.  Had to ad lib in a way that would not offend the classical audience who had different sensibilities than our [regular] audience who tuned in for popular music.  

      There was a time when no one was listening to FM. Even as late as 1968, AM was still king.  Even WTIC- FM’s classical format didn't’t last too long.”

   In Sept 1960 WCCC-FM joined the QXR Network of the New York Times, the largest FM radio network at the time. Russell Naughton was appointed as station manager in 1960 and Ivor Hugh, who had been with the station since 1948, was program director. FM is on 18 hours a day.  In 1961 Mutual News was added to the schedule.

   A July 1962 newspaper article describes WCCC-FM’s programming on that date to include music for light summer listening, featuring Norman Luboff Choir, singing such favorites as: "My Ideal," "You're My Girl," "Sleepy Time Gal.”  In October 1962 the "Golden Sound" Concert broadcasts were added to the FM schedule, along with Jazz at night which was also piped in to city parks.  Interestingly, there is a newspaper; WCCC was the first to respond when a TV set was stolen from St Francis Hosp by donating another set.
           In 1963 WCCC-FM aired a series of live broadcast of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.  

   The FM programming line up that year also included Light Music from 7 am to 9 am, John Circhard’s “Golden Sound of Jazz” from 9 am to 11 am and John Birchard's "Golden Sound of Jazz” along with a brand new program, "Golden Sound of Theater" which was added in November, 1964.          That same year the AM line up included the “Early Bird Show” followed by current popular and Broadway show tunes, standards by top stars and big band music as well as semi-classical fare. Special features included "This is Wall Street", "Capsule Community Calendar," "Know the Law" and the Golden Call Quiz.

   Personnel in the early sixties included: Everett Selzer, General Manager (1960); Ralph Klein, General Manager (1961); Everett Selzer, Sales Manager; John Birchard, Music Director and announcers Bob Scott and Steve Dann.

    In 1965, with the Hotel Bond in decline and with the station in need of more space, WCCC moved to new studios on the 5th floor of 11 Asylum Street. A giant revolving neon WCCC sign featuring Mozart was hung on the side of the building two floors above Main Street to advertise the new location. . “Golden Sound Radio” was Savitt’s slogan and both the AM and FM station featured popular and light classical music. During this time period the stations were still owned by Hartford Jeweler, Bill “POMG” Savitt, whose jewelry store was located in the same building. Savitt was an advertising genius.  Many area residents will remember him standing on his head and winking during his many TV commercials in the sixties and seventies.

In 1967 Mr. Eisenberg was General Manager of WCCC. Other employees between that year and 1969 included announcers: Jack O'Neil, Dick Haddad, Ernest Schauss (the host of the German Show), George Freeman, Julian Brownstein, Margo Prudy, Ken Elliott, Al Warren, Steve Capen (Cane) and Jim Raynor.

WCCC-FM made the news in 1968 by airing the famed “War of the World” Mercury Theater broadcast.  The general manager at the time was Mr. Boudreau

In 1968, Savitt sold WCCC (AM) and WCCC-FM to Elektra Records for $325,000. George Freedman was appointed general manager, Julian Brownstein was appointed Sales Manager and Margo Prudy was appointed Public Relations director.  Along with new management came new programming.  The AM format was changed to “middle of the road” music and the FM format was changed to top forty popular hits. These changes resulted in several letters to local papers from listeners complaining about the new formats.  

Interestingly, this is one of only a few instances where a record company owned a radio station, probably because of the laws/rules against payola and plug-ola.  It was around this time that FM radio started to become successful, in part because of its role in the underground Rock music scene and the fact that FM radio sets were becoming less expensive and more common, especially in cars.

On October 22, 1969 Electra announced the sale to Sy Dresner and on April 3, 1970 the FCC approved sale. When Sy Dresner’s Greater Hartford Communications Corporation took over they changed the FM format to “All Request Radio”.  One of the most popular DJs was Rusty Potz, who can still be heard on the air on WLNG in Sag Harbor, Long Island.  Legendary radio commentator Paul Harvey was a staple on WCCC through the early eighties. The extremely popular conservative commentator, best known for his trademark phrase, “And now for the rest of the story” drew many listeners to the station, listeners who would not normally tune in to a rock station.  When management decided to pull Harvey’s show in the early eighties, the phone lines were jammed with hundreds of irate listeners.

 

1970 - 1979

 

   A May 4, 1973 WCCC-FM music survey showed the following music in the top slots:  1. Frankenstein by Edgar Winter, 2. My Love by Paul McCartney, 3. Hocus Pocus by Focus, and 4. Cherry Cherry by Neil Diamond.  Printed on the survey was, “Triple C puts the fun back into radio.  Rusty Pots, Ed Mitchell, Dick Booth, Johnny Midnight, and Cliff Kenyon; the wildest guys in town.”  There was a major change in programming in 1973.  

   Staff in the early seventies included announcers Al Green, Dan Hayden "Raccoon Charlie", Bud Fisher "Gary Hunter," Mike Kirven, Tracy Garneau, Steve Fox (Al Green), Big John Little, Tom Jones and Jay McCormick.

 

Bill Stephens:

   “In 1973, Rusty Potz hired me to do weekends at Triple-C. At the time, the station was failing to grab any real numbers with its all request format. Rusty convinced Sy that the station needed to go to a super-personality format to compete with WPOP and WDRC. Rusty wanted to launch the new direction with a real bang so he and I talked about having me come in one morning, allegedly to fill in for him on his morning show, and to lock myself in the studio until the station agreed to hire me full time.

   The 35 Hour Boston Bill Marathon was born and I played Bitter Bad by Melanie for 35 hours until finally, the station "agreed to my demands" and I was given the 7-Midnight show. During the marathon I was interviewed on the phone by Imus at WNBC, Larry Glick at WBZ in Boston, and several New England newspapers. Even WTIC-TV covered the story on their late news. It was quite a circus!”

 

In 1977 the line up on WCCC-FM was 6A-10A Dave Scott, 10A-2P Bill Nosal, 2P-7P Paul Anderson, 7P-12A Red Beard and 12A-6A Ted Labner.

 

Howard Stern joined the staff July, 1979 and left over a pay dispute in February, 1980.  


        Program Director Paul Payton:

Howard Stern joined WCCC-FM in early 1979.  It was his first personality gig and he certainly made a splash in the market.  He left in the third week of March, 1980. He was replaced in the morning by Ted Labner, a mirror opposite personality, sweet and gentle vs. Howard's edginess, although both were very intelligent and knowledgeable gentlemen. Ted was to be a placeholder until I could land a morning man, although he occupied that post for several months until Mike Adams came on board for the then princely sum of $250/week, at least, princely to Sy, who had refused that amount to Howard in exchange for his staying with the station. 
     The rest of the line up in 1980 as I remember it, was me in the midday, Peter Cole in the afternoon, Brian Battles in the evening, and The Lich overnight. I really wanted Lich in the evening, but he wouldn't do it, holding out for either staying on overnights or doing afternoon drive and I wasn't about to uproot Peter Cole, who was going a good job and who refused to work evenings, too. 
      Brian was a very nice guy, but he didn't cut it for me on the air.
After he left, Fred Norris (real last name: Nukis) filled in the evening slot. Fred was on the verge of suddenly "finding his voice" at the time, but hadn't done so yet, so I went on a talent hunt for an evening guy, bringing Bob London (real last name: Levy) in from Utica.
 

      Literally, while Bob was on the road, Fred suddenly "got good"; it sounds preposterous, but I'd heard it happen elsewhere with someone else who would up having a long career in a top 10 market. Somehow during his few weeks of every-night broadcasting, Fred put his wry sense of humor and the rhythm of a show together, and it clicked.
    
 Sadly, it was too late - as I said, Bob was already on the road, having packed up his life and his wife and moved to CT, and I was duty-bound to honor the commitment. It turned out to be a mistake - Sy and Milt Anninger, the GM, never liked Bob on the air, and it came down to a "you fire him or I'll fire you and then fire him" moment. It was truly a low point in my personal life as well as my career, and a bunch of folks besides me got hurt, or at least significantly dented. I now forget who I had in place afterward, but I extend my apologies to anyone who got caught up in that mess; I was only trying to do the next right thing, but life has a way of upending the best-laid plans, and it has a field day with the lesser ones!
      We were trying to be the best album/progressive rock station we could be, offering a wider variety of music and artists to compensate for our excessive spot load (I entered a rating period where we were logging 17 minutes of commercials, news and PSA's per hour not counting any kind of promotions vs. WHCN's 9 units, and our ad budget of $0 vs. their $25,000) and their more limited programming (the stupidly-successful but conceptually-lacking Abrams Superstars format). Unfortunately, it didn't work for WCCC come ratings time, but I'm not sure I wouldn't attempt that goal again. I do know that I'd sure execute it differently; while experience is a great teacher, it only teaches in hindsight.
      Sy was notoriously watchful over any money spent, and more than once told me that he would sign off for a day rather than operate for that day in the red; as a result, I was competing with stations that were paying about $100 more a week for comparable talent. Still, the great dream of several of the PD's who held the place in the album/progressive years was to take that 50kw FM signal (with the 1kw "bonus" on AM) and really kick butt throughout New England, but the stations were always limited by whatever variety of issues were around at the time - money, talent, even facilities. The
production studio at 11 Asylum Street was mono, not stereo; even in
1981, with the move to South Whitney, the new production studio was
still mono. By the time I got fired (on my vacation, by the way), I was
as much relieved as frustrated. But that's a whole other story, and
you've put up with enough of my moaning for now. The happy epilogue: I went to WPLR and WWYZ after 'CCC, and basically had a great time at both of them working with remarkably talented people, a couple of whom overlapped both stations.

   “During [Stoneman’s] "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…”  

   “Stern and I always got along, he left because of Sy and Milt, 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.”

   Stern made national news on June 17, 1979 when he promoted a two day boycott of Shell Oil.

 

1980 - 1989

 

   In January, 1980 Sy Dresner purchased a building at 243 South Whitney Street in Hartford.  Studios and offices were constructed and on July, 1980 WCCC went on air from their new home in Hartford’s west end. During construction special permission had to be secured from the FCC to allow the AM and FM stations to simulcast since there were laws in place at that time that required a certain percentage of separate AM and FM programming.  Stoneman, who made his fame at WPLR in New Haven, was at WCCC for a short period of time in the early eighties.  

   

Chief Engineer John Ramsey:

  "I was hired in April, 1980 to build the new studios and to coordinate moving the two stations from Asylum St. to S. Whitney St.  My enthusiasm for the project quickly changed when I discovered that management did not plan on purchasing any new equipment for the new facility.  That would have been OK if the existing equipment had been up to date, but such was not the case.  None of the equipment was less than ten years old and some of it was twice that age.  The cart machines were mono, as was the production studio, which was built around a board with only four channels! Despite my efforts to make the best of a bad situation, management give me very little control over the project which resulted in a number of mistakes, including having studio furniture which was so low to the floor that one could barely put ones legs under it.

  "Somehow I managed to single handedly get the new studios ready by July, and the changeover took place with zero down time over the July 4th weekend.  Peter Cole played the last record at 11 Asylum and Brian Battles played the first song from S. Whitney St.

   I regret that I missed working with Howard Stern by just a few weeks, but I did get a chance to work with Fred Norris, a wonderful guy and a production genius.”

 

Staff in the early eighties included Milt Anninger, Station Manager, Jacki Gilligan, Traffic, Lorna Lamana, Traffic, Denise Hatch (Receptionist), Brian Battles (Production Director), John Ramsey, Chief Engineer; Chris Warren (Production Director), Marissa Donza (Traffic), account executives Merle Holden, Jim Coulter and Ted Griffin and announcers Peter Kilman "Peter Cole", Ted Labner, Mike Adams (Mornings), Stoneman, Scott Hartley, Nick Nemetrius, Paul Rotella, Stephen David, Mike Devin, Mary Lou Sullivan.

For a short time in the early 1984 WCCC (AM) had a talk format but that was destined to fail due to the intense competition of WPOP and WTIC, two news/talk stations in Hartford. Marylou Sullivan was one of the two talk hosts doing a 10-2 shift.

By the mid-80’s WCCC (AM) took advantage of the recently relaxed FCC rules regarding simulcasting and carried their sister FM station full time.

In 1985 the FM line up included Mornings with Rick and Suds, Midday with Steve Cormier, Lich in the Afternoon, Angie in the evening and Albie D. overnights.

1986, 87 and 88 saw Chris Rivers in the morning, Bill Shultz Midday, Lich in the afternoon, Angie in the evening and Carol Vassar and various part timers covering overnights.

Other staff in the period 1985 – 1989 included Harve Alan (Program Director), Brian Illes, Steve Cormier, Dee Albie and Phil Marlowe.

In 1989 WCCC made the news when the morning show told listeners on April 1, 1990, that a volcano had erupted not far away. 

 

1990 – 1999

 

 In 1990 the station lost its lease on the AM tower site on S. Quaker Lane in West Hartford and constructed a new tower at its FM site on Avon Mountain in West Hartford to allow both AM and FM stations to utilize the site.  This necessitated the change in city of license from Hartford to West Hartford.

In February, 1993 WCCC-AM briefly became "Talk 1290."  The programming line up included Sebastian from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., followed by Lee Mirabel until noon, J. Anderson until 1, Ellen Ratner until 3 and the Larry King until 6 p.m.
        Howard Stern returned to WCCC-FM via his nationally syndicated program in May, 1996.  To celebrate Howard’s return to the station management rented an auditorium at the University of Hartford for a press party.  Howard addressed the crowd via ISDN hookup from his NY studio.

   In February, 1998 Mr. Dresner sold WCCC to Woody Tanger’s Marlin Broadcasting.  On the day of the closing station operations were moved to new studios at 1039 Asylum Avenue in Hartford. Management  

Marlin brought in a new management team which included Boyd Arnold as GM, Jay Schultz as SM, Michael Picozzi as PD, and John Ramsey as CE. They also acquired the first of three Hummer H1’s to represent the station’s slogan “The Rock”.
        In what may have been a first in broadcasting history, WCCC sold the sponsorship rights to the daytime-only station's sign on to a local auto dealer.


    2000 - 2009
    
    In 2000 two new studios were built in the basement of the WCCC studio building to accommodate Marlin’s Beethoven.com which was moved up from Miami.

In 2001 a complete rebuild of the AM and FM transmitter site was undertaken with a new tower, new building and new transmitters installed.

 In 2002 WCCC (AM) stopped simulcasting its sister FM station and started an all classical format originated by beethoven.com, a Marlin Broadcasting subsidiary co-located at the Asylum Avenue studios. At the same time the call letters were changed to WTMI. Formerly those call letters belonged to an FM station in Miami, Florida, USA owned, in part, by Marlin president Woody Tanger. (Beethoven.com originated as a part of that Miami classical FM station on WTMI, Miami). Nicole Godburn was appointed Program Director.
         
In 2005 WCCC (AM) started carrying various West Hartford sporting events live on the air, including hockey, softball, basketball and football from both Conard and Hall High Schools. That same year the station originated programming each Saturday morning from West Hartford center.  
        Also in 2005 the station received permission from the Commission to operate night with 11 watts.
       
WCCC (AM) became the first AM station in the state to broadcast in HD in April, 2005.  WCCC-FM came on with HD a few days later.     
        On February 1, 2007 to AM call letters were changed back to WCCC from WTMI.     
        In April 2007 the programming of WCCC (AM) was added to the HD-2 channel of sister station, WCCC-FM (106.9 MHz). This was possible using the new HD Radio technology which allows a properly equipped FM station to transmit three or more separate audio programs on a single frequency. In this case WCCC-FM will continue with its Active Rock format on its main channel, and will carry Beethoven Radio on its HD-2 channel.
      
  In early December, 2009, the Imus in the Morning show was added to WCCC (AM).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Above:  Rare shot of the original WCCC transmitter building on S. Quaker Ln in West Hartford.  The building was built in 1947 and contained 2 studios as well as the 1290 transmission equipment.  The AM tower can be seen in the background of this 1981 photo. The site was demolished in 1991 to make way for housing.  By the time this photo was taken the WCCC sign on the roof had become just "WC" due to vandals. It is unknown whether the studios in the building were ever used as most reports have WCCC signing on with studios in the Hotel Bond in Hartford.  More photos below and in the various WCCC (AM) sub-sections on this site.


Above:  In the days before magnetic tape recording stations like WCCC cut their own records.  This disc held a commercial for "Double E," whatever that was. 
    
Above:   President Woody Tanger prepares to throw the switch to commence digital AM broadcasting for the first time in Connecticut.  A press conference and client reception was held at the station's transmitter site to commemorate the event.  Also in the picture are account executive Leslie Mather and chief engineer John Ramsey.

      

Above: WCCC Playlist from 1973.
Above: WCCC Coverage Map, c. 1968

Above:  243 S. Whitney St. was the Hartford home of WCCC from 1980 through 1998.  The station occupied the back 2/3 of the building and the entrance can be seen on the side of the building.

1971 Music Survey, courtesy of Ed Brouder

 


1968

11 Asylum St., lower right, home of WCCC from the late sixties until 1980.  Also in the picture are 750 Main (past home of WDRC) and the gold building, former home of WTIC radio.


1948


1948

A rare photo of one of the WCCC studios at 11 Asylum Ave in the mid-seventies.


WCCC-AM's Program Director Nicole Marie.

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