For a few brief years, following World War Two, Greenwich, Connecticut had its own FM station, dedicated to the service of the community. It played a variety of music but concentrated mostly on light classical and classical themes. It featured discussion programs, interviews with Greenwich personalities, including pianist Alec Templeton, opera star Robert Merrill, radio/TV personality Bud Collyer, and even a weekly quiz program from the stage of the Pickwick movie theater.
After several days of testing, WGCH FM, 95.9 Mhz, Greenwich’s first radio station, owned by the Greenwich Broadcasting Corporation, signed on got the first time on Sunday, December 5, 1948. It was located in the Pickwick Arms Hotel at the top of Greenwich Ave and the FM antenna was on the roof of the hotel! Walter Lemmon, licensee of international shortwave radio station WRUL in MA, was president and managed the station along with Charles W. Pettingill and J. Jensen. Richard Carlson was the program director and Lan Gordon was the sales manager. Jack Hinds, Earl Price and Dick Bertel were announcers. The studios were located behind the Picwic Hotel at 25 Greenwich Ave.
Dedication ceremonies were attended by over 100 people, including Edward J Noble, Pres NBC. Music was presented by the Greenwich Choral Society at the Second Congregational Church and tea was served. There was no news staff, an announcer would simply rip copy from UP wire and read it on the air.
Greenwich was a “bed room community” with many residents commuting to NYC during the day. One of the most popular shows was "Your Neighbors in the News" which aired at 7:30 pm for commuters returning home. Another show which aired at 8:35 pm was "8-4-200 Please" described as” (the) latest hip tunes with prizes for alert listeners with good music memories”.
They gave away FM radios tuned to 95.9 mc. to build an audience, but it wasn't enough to make it successful.
Amazingly, thanks to Dick Bertelmann (Bertel), we have a wonderful 40 minute audio documentary on this history of this popular station available by clicking on the player below.
Left to right: Jack Hines, Program Manager; Lan Gordon, Sales Manager, Mrs. Carl Jensen; Walter S. Lemmon, President, Town Topics Director (name unknown); Dick Bertelmann, Announcer.
We are very luck to have some audio from this historic station, courtesy of Dick Bertel.
WGCH-FM Christmas Show, 1950