Although W1XPW, Connecticut's first FM station, used the call letters WDRC-FM for a while in the forties and fifties, that license continued after dropping the WDRC-FM calls and is now WHCN. Since WHCN can trace it's license back to W1XPW we believe that WHCN deserved the title "Connecticut's First Commercial FM Station".
In 1959 the Buckley family purchased WDRC (AM) along with a construction permit for a new FM station on 102.9 MHz. with a transmitter on West Peak in Meriden, for $815,000.
WDRC-FM signed on for the first time on October 26, 1959 with a program featuring Ct Governor Abraham Ribicoff and several local mayors.
On August 31, 1966 WDRC FM received FCC permission to increase output from 7 to 17.5kw effective radiated power.
In May, 1967, a new 7,500 watt FM transmitter was installed and WDRC studios moved downtown to 750 Main St in Hartford. For the first time, separate programming was broadcast on WDRC FM during certain hours
In 1973, the station began calling itself "Big D 103," with a Top 40 format.
In 1977, the station switched to album rock. Country Paul Payton was one of the announcers. However, by 1979, the station abruptly flipped back to Top 40.
By 1984, WDRC-FM was an oldies based Adult Contemporary station but only played oldies on the weekends. Due to the positive feedback, in 1986 WDRC-FM became an oldies station full-time.
In 2001, WDRC-FM began playing several songs from the 1970s per hour The station also began adding about a dozen or so songs from the 1980s by oldies artists playing about one every couple hours.
In August 2000, WDRC stopped using the "Big D 103" name and became known as Oldies 102.9 DRC-FM. The station stopped referring to themselves as Oldies a short time later. They later completely eliminated all the pre 1964 oldies and added a lot of 1980s music to the mix, becoming more of a classic hits station. The station also became heavily based in the 1970s.
In the winter of 2007, WDRC-FM slowly phased out most of the 1980s music, cutting that back to about one every couple hours.
In 2006 WDRC-FM started HD broadcasting, with the HD-2 channel devoted to a commercial-free oldies format of the 50's and 60's.
Currently, the main station identifies itself as "Good Time Rock 'n' Roll", while occasionally throwing in the "Big D" moniker. Its music playlist is once again focused on 60's from 1964 on, while also emphasizing 70's hits and including a few 80's songs. Jingles were also reintroduced in 2008.
In the beginning of the 70's,Charlie Parker hired me to do a "Progressive Format" 6 hours a day to be simulcast with WDRC AM. It was a radical departure for the very successful station.Charlie never told me what music to play,what to say etc.; and even the contests were my own creation during that time period. I played Rock, Blues, Fusion, Jazz & Oldies and tried to do an interview with every group or artist who passed thru Ct & Western Mass.
The FM was beginning to become more popular and eventually was pulling in many listeners and overtaking AM.
Charlie Parker was my Mentor and the greatest Genius I ever met in Radio.
Larry Wells on WDRC-FM