HARTFORD RADIO HISTORY
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WKND (WSOR)

WSOR, 1490 khz, Windsor, CT, came on the air on March 4, 1961 with a 500 watt, directional, daytime-only signal.  The studios were in the vicinity of 124 Poquonock Avenue in Windsor and the transmitter was on Bloomfield Ave (Rt. 305) in the same town.  Since remote control had not been approved for directional AM stations the transmitter site was manned whenever the station was on the air and the transmitter building was equipped with a small studio where some programming originated, especially on the weekends.   The chief engineer was Ernie ?  The original format was country and western music along with Polish programming. Mutual was the network.
        A sale took place in 1962 resulting in Tobacco Broadcasting Company owning the station.
        In 1964 WSOR was sold again, this time to Kimel-Grad Stations, for around $50,000.   
       Contributor Mike Bugaj worked at WSOR in 1965:
        "WSOR was located off the Bloomfield Avenue exit off I-91, heading west toward Bloomfield you would find a place that made cemetery monuments on the right, IIRC, and a swamp on your left. A long muddy road wound through the swamp to a trailer where WSOR had it's office and studios. The tower was close by.
      
Tom O'Brien was the manager there. He was probably just a couple of years older than me. WSOR played a variety of music, pretty much anything. There were two other DJs there besides me. One was fulltime and another drove a cab in Hartford part time. I was on from 10-3, IIRC (fuzzy memory here) Monday thru Friday. Tom or somebody would come in with a stack of new records and we wouldn't preview them. We'd just put them on the turntable and play them. Made for very interesting programming, believe me.
        
One guy stood out and I still remember him. He was a tall skinny guy even skinnier than me. His name was Bob Potts and he did a weekend show and he did it for free. He just wanted the experience. I believe he is the same Rusty Potts who has been on WLNG forever. But you could double check this.
        
I lasted three months. Tom explained to me that the guy driving the cab had a family and needed more money and had to let me go. He offered to get me another job but there was a war going on at the time and I knew my time was up soon. I said no thanks and ended up in the navy a few months later. I went to San Diego for boot camp and someone at AFRTS there noticed I had a little experience and tried to get me back there to do PSA spots for the navy. I went back to SD all right but someone else had different plans for me. I ended up in Radioman School instead. My radio "career" was over.
        
My mother saved one of my paystubs from WSOR. I am attaching it for you to use if you want.
"

        The call letters were changed to WEHW in 1966 which stood for Windsor, East Hartford and West Hartford.
        
In 1969 the station was sold to KND Corporation, Kenneth Dawson, president. and the call letters were changed to WKND for its new owner.  Dawson replaced the unpopular country and western programming with rhythm and blues, which quickly appealed to the area's black community. The black urban format was the first in state.  Later, WKND would become first black owned station in Connecticut.
    At some point in the early eventies the studios were moved to the Windsor Parkade shopping center.  
        In 1981 the station was sold to Harttcom Inc, John Merchant, president.  Hartcom was founded for the purpose of purchasing the assets of WKND. In filings with the Commission, Hartcom wrote:
    "A minotiry-controleld Connecticut corporation, Hartcom plans to continue WKND's ten-year policy of programming primarily to meet the needs and serves the interests of the Black community in the greater Hartford area.  Fourteen investors form Hartcom, twelve of whom are CT residents and seven residents of the immediate Hartford neighborhood.  Transfer of the station's license and assets will be accomplished under the "distress sale" policy of the FCC, since the current owner of WKND has chosen not to defend its license against certain charges brought by the Commission with regard to the business practices of the licensee.  Hartcom holds a contract to purchase the assets of the station from KND Corporation for $525,000."
           
        Joe Clark recalls "In my days at WKND (1968), I was a white guy (still am) doing a black show (The Moonman) but I dont think I was fooling anybody. I think (having) my first phone (license, since the station required a first class licensee for their) ... directional array helped a little." 

Up until 1984 the station’s transmitter site on Bloomfield Avenue in Windsor was manned whenever the station was on the air.  This was required because the station did not have a remote control system.  The operator at the transmitter site served double duty as the news person and transmitter operator and the transmitter site was equipped with a basic news studio where newscasts originated from ever hour.

This building sits on the original location of the WSOR studios on Poquonuck Ave. in Windsor.



 

Above:  News studio at the transmitter site allowed news person to serve as transmitter operator through 1985 since the station lacked a remote control system.  2002 photo.

Around 1985 the station received a Construction Permit (CP) from the FCC to change frequency to 620 Khz and increase power but the new facility was never built and the CP was allowed to lapse.

John Ramsey was hired in the mid 90's to start a major  transmitter site upgrade which was finished a few years later by Jeff Huggabonne and Buc Fitch.  The improvements included the installation of new audio processing, EAS equipment, remote control and tower fences along with the replacement of the station's three towers and a retuning of the station's directional antenna pattern.  The three towers were purchased from WAQY, 1600 khz in Springfield.

         In the 90's, the station changed its audience demographics to target 25-54 years of age, increasing talk format with such network programs as Tom Pope and Tom Joyner along with local programmers Eddie Jordan mornings, and Ben Andrews.

Above:  Inside view of the WKND transmitter shack c. 2005.  From left to right: Auxiliary transmitter, antenna phasor, equipment rack and main transmitter, a Harris Gates MW-1. 

WKND towers in 2002.

The call letters "WKND" were briefly associated with 1230kc. in Manchester, Ct. (from August 9th 2004-March 1st 2007) during which time 1480 became WNEZ.

The studios from the sixties through 2005 were in the Windsor Parkade Shopping Center.

 WKND air board in Windsor Shopping Center, just prior to the station moving to Hartford in 2005.

Another view of the WKND Windsor studio the day after the studios were moved to 330 Main St. in Hartford.

WKND operated out of studios in the Windsor Parkade for years. 2009 photo.

The station has always been handicapped by a low power signal that was directional away from Hartford. 

In 2005 the studios were moved to 330 Main Street in Hartford under an LMA arrangement with Freedom Communications.


330 Main Street, home of WKND from 2004 - 2008.

In 2008 the studios were moved to Burnside Ave in East Hartford under an LMA with Gois Broadcasting. That same year the format was changed to Gospel, "Glory AM." 
        In March, 2009 the FCC approved the sale of WKND to Gois.


1964


1968


1969


1969

1970 article, courtesy of Ed Brouder


1971

Music Survey, courtesy of Ed Brouder


This was the first 1480 studio when they moved to 330 Main St. in 2004.

Shortly after moving to 330 Main St. a new studio was build for 1480.


Hartford Courant Article


September, 1981 article about Construction Permit to move to 620 Khz with 500 watts day and 1,000 watts night. If it had been constructed it would have given WKND night service for the first time.







WKND Memories:

William M. Brown

During my career, I worked at WKND/Soul Radio and WPOP/All News. General Assignment news reporting. I have a picture of myself with Michael and "Jackie" Jackson at KND, in the early days. I'd consider contributing the photo to your book.

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