HARTFORD RADIO HISTORY
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WFCS

  

What is today known as WFCS started out in 1947 as a carrier current AM station in New Britain at what was then called the Teacher's College of Connecticut. The unofficial call letters of station were WTCC with the call sign representing the name of the school (that call-sign is currently held by the station of Springfield Technical Community College). The station's studios were located in East Hall.  The majority of the programming was music with an emphasis on sports.
        Operating on 670 kcs. the signal was only available in the dormitories on campus. 

In 1959 TCC became Central Connecticut State College and the call letters were changed to WCCS, again representing the name of the college.        

When the new campus Student Center opening in the early 1960s, the studios were moved to that location and the station was affiliated with the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS).

In 1969 plans were started to move from AM to FM.  The original license application was filed on December 16, 1971 and a license was granted the following year.  When the WCCS call letters were requested, allegedly local Hartford radio station WCCC thought this would cause too much confusion, so the call letters WFCS were assigned.  The station operated on 90.1 MHz FM with a Class D, 10 watts license (see newspaper article below). This was the first time that the station was able to reach off campus.

Due to FCC rule changes for low power non-commercial stations* and to make room for Connecticut Public Radio which had increased its power from Middlefield, WFCS had to change frequencies in 1980 to 97.9. The license application was prepared by retired WTIC chief engineer Harold Dorschug. Many student DJs at the time were thrilled by the move since it meant that the station would be in the middle of the dial and therefore more likely to be picked up by people scanning the dial.
        In 1986 the general manager was Joel Riley.
        Due to its "secondary" status, WFCS was forced to change frequency a third time in 1987 to make room for a new commercial radio station in Enfield, CT that was about to begin broadcasting on the same frequency. The WFCS application to move to its current dial position at 107.7 was prepared and filed by Carmine Iannace in 1987 while he was student at CCSU. Originally a move to the WTIC-TV tower in Farmington was proposed to dramatically increase the WFCS broadcast range, but it was rejected by FCC.

In the late 80s, Program Director Carmine Iannace and a few other students oversaw a change in format to emphasize the "new music" or alternative rock format to WFCS.  Frank Jankowitz (sp?) became Chief Engineer around this time.

Initially, the 107.7 frequency worked quite well since it was relatively clear of other stations and WFCS enjoyed coverage out to Vernon to the East and down to Wallingford in the South and coverage in the city of Hartford was excellent.  However, in the mid-‘90s a new station came on the air in Pawcatuck, Connecticut on he same frequency which resulted in the WFCS coverage area being significantly reduced.

In 1992 Ann Marie Vorisek was elected GM and Paul Bourque was elected Director of Development.  John Ramsey was Chief Engineer. 
    WWUH’s "Wild Wayne Jones," 
who’s show was called “the best oldies show in the state” by the Hartford Courant, first started at WFCS. Other notable alumni include Randy Borowski, owner of Ultraradio.com, Joe Zareski, chief engineer of CPTV, Tom Osenkowsky, a broadcast consulting engineer and Michael LeClair, editor of a national broadcasting magazine. Other staffers included Tom Vesci, Jenn Vasta (Slashchick) and Gina J who went to WKSS.

In 1997 the station’s transmitting tower atop Vance Hall was replaced by Sprint and a new, four bay, WFCS antenna mounted on the side.  To maximize WFCS’s coverage from the new tower WFCS’s chief engineer specified that the guy wires be insulated in the vicinity of the station’s antenna.

Up until 1998 WFCS has been using campus telephone lines to get the signal from their studio to the transmitter site but these lines had become troublesome so the station applied to the FCC for a studio to transmitter link.  Once the license was secured, a high quality STL was installed.

Later that year renovations of the radio station space in the student center resulted in the station operating for the summer from a TV lounge across from the bookstore.
         In 1999, WFCS became a home to a Polish Radio Show-Radio Emka. The show comprises of the Polish music from the 1980’s thru today; news from Poland, historical segment and other ‘talking points.’ The show became popular within the large Polish population in New Britain and its surroundings. Currently the show runs on Wednesdays from 6-8 PM.

In 1999 a Crown transmitter was installed.

In 2002 renovations of the student center required WFCS to construct temporary studios on the second floor of the Vance Academic Center.  The station operated out of this location for close to two years.

While WFCS had always been considered a student organization station policy provided for alumni, CCSU faculty and staff and community volunteers to participate in the station and go on the air.  In fact by the 90s the station was relying on such staff to provide consistence to the station’s format and to keep the station on the air during breaks.  However, in 2007 the station was forced to change the policy and community volunteers were eliminated from the schedule.

In 2007 the station started webcasting.

In 2008 student center renovations required that WFCS relocate to temporary studios on the 2nd floor of the student center.

  

*In the late 70s, under pressure from NPR and other groups, the FCC changed its rules to give 10 watt stations like WFCS (Class D station), secondary status.  This meant several things.  First, these stations had to relinquish their frequency if a full service station need the frequency and second, the station’s signal would not be protected from interference to the same extent as other stations.

In December 1993, during the Vorisek administration, "Frank, Gil, and Friends," a Frank Sinatra show hosted by CCSU Professor (and Sinatra author and lecturer) Gil Gigliotti, first aired. Besides playing all of Sinatra's recordings -- except "My Way" and "(Theme from) New York, New York," since the show was and is "alternative Sinatra radio" -- the program has featured interviews with such guests as Frank Sinatra, Jr.; noted Sinatra experts Will Friedwald (Sinatra: The Song is You) and Tom Santopietro (Sinatra in Hollywood); Michele Monro, the daughter of the late great British singer Matt Monro (The Singer's Singer: The Life and Music of Matt Monro); early radio historian Anthony Rudel (Hello, Everbody: The Dawn of American Radio); and singer/trumpeter Rob Zappulla. "FGF" remains a mainstay of the WFCS Tuesday morning line-up, airing 8-10 AM.

Contributor Peter Kemp submitted the following "WCCS Random Notes":
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1965 - 1966 Bart Fischer was the General Manager.  Bart also was on
WINF in Manchester.

1967-69  Pat Clow was the General Manager.  Pat and Cheryl Bedore
(now Mrs Clow) went to Woodstock and phoned back on-air reports to the station.

1969-70  Pete Kemp was the General Manager.  During this time
advanced planning began for a transition from carrier current AM to
FM broadcasting.

WCCS was a leader in the New England IBS, the Intercollegiate
Broadcasting System.  Dennis Marshall was an IBS - VP

1967-70 Stuart  Buchman was the Business Manager and Paul Bezanker
was the Music Director.  The school advisor was Dr. Robert Thompson.

Doug Wardwell, a one time WPOP DJ, earned a doctorate at UCONN and
became a professor at Central. He retired and lives in Rhode Island.

Contributor Peter Kemp submitted the following "WCCS Random Notes":


WFCS Memories:

Paul Bezanker:  From 1966 through 1969, I was the Music Director/Record Librarian at a small college radio station, WCCS, at Central Connecticut State College in New Britain, CT. WCCS's frequency was 670 AM. (For radio station historians: Sometime before 1966, the station's call letters were WTCC, for Teachers College of Connecticut. A while after 1969, the call letters changed again, to WFCS.)

As station MD and librarian, I eagerly contacted every label representative I could locate to get better service of promotional records sent to the station. I soon contacted Merv Amols, the Northeast rep for Capitol Records.

Merv and I became frequent phone pals (remember, this was long before emails). I always looked forward to receiving packages from Merv in the U.S. mail of LP's and 45's. During the summer of 1967, I visited the radio station frequently to stay on top of the mail and record library. In July, I received a thin package from Merv. It contained the new Beatles 45 with the picture sleeve. I didn't realize it, at the time, that I held the Beatles' new 45 with the "B" side that nobody had yet heard! The Beatles' "Baby You're A Rich Man" was the B-side of "All You Need Is Love." The 45 r.p.m. single's scheduled U.S. release date was July 17, 1967, and the single was commercially released on Capitol #5964 with a full-color picture sleeve.

One of my sources for MD information was Bob Piava, MD at WPOP, in Newington, CT. On the day I received the Beatles' 45, I stopped by to talk with Bob, and we ended our conversation early because he had a lunch meeting to attend. As we were walking out to the parking lot, I casually asked Bob which side of the new Beatles 45 was the "plug" side. Bob paused and replied that only the "A" side was available. I told him I had the "B" side on the 45. I handed it to Bob, he ran into the station's production studio, recorded the "B" side on tape, and had it on the air within minutes. While the song was being aired, the MD of WDRC, Bertha Porter, called Bob. WDRC was WPOP's long-time fierce competitor for greater Hartford's Top 40 market. Bertha yelled at Bob for playing the "B" side on WPOP before WDRC had it, and Bob smiled and politely told Bertha that "win some, lose some."

A week later, I wrote Merv a nice letter thanking him for his outstanding promo service to WCCS. That was the wildest experience I ever had at WCCS!


1972


October, 1985

 
Fall, 1985 Schedule

Above:  WFCS air studio, 2004.

Above:  WFCS new digital air studio, 2008.




Paul Bezanker



WCCS Paul Ostapch






WCCS Wendy Mayer




WCCS Anita Nesci






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WCCS Rob Branham



WCCS Billo Cimmins


 
Don Ventrudo


WCCS Herman Belli



WCCS Joey Yutankus



Lydia Dilger and Anita Nesci


WCCS






Peter Kemp




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1986



1986



General Manager Randy






Music Cabinet.







Gil Gigliotti on air in 2011.



Gil with Merlin Mann, creator of the creativity website "43 folders".


 
In 2002 renovations of the student center required WFCS to construct temporary studios on the second floor of the Vance Academic Center Seth North Hall. The station operated out of this location for close to two years. In this photo Gil Gigliotti











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