Listeners and former employees of 104.1 are invited to submit recollections/stories/memories of the station for possible inclusion on this page.
The former WIOF building on Rt 69 in Prospect, 2013. The FM tower behind the building was replaced with a cell tower in 2012.
WMRQ (WIOF) Memories:
My first paying job was WIOF/W104, Waterbury. I did my first air shift on Christmas afternoon, 1976 from noon to 6:05 pm. 104 was running the Great American Country package by - I think - Drake-Chenault?
I came in early to pull news from the AP machine but waited till near 1 o'clock. The feed that cleared around 12:50 was the last for the rest of my shift. Not only that but....the ribbon was on its last legs. I spent the rest of the afternoon, when I could spare a few moments, trying to decipher what was on the paper.
The shift...oh, brother. Each half-hour was a cut from an album then a 45. Open the segment with a tag, one in the middle and one at the end. In between, segue-way serenade. And trips down the hall about every twenty minutes. Was I nervous? Of course not. Terrified would be more accurate.
Anyway, I made it through the afternoon. As for the news - well, it was a case of "just wing it." After five minutes of this, I ended with weather, hit the automation button and fell back in the chair, completely exhausted. Went home, said 'good night' to the wife and kids and DIED for the next twelve or so hours. I mean total suspended non-animation.
The automation was another story. It was a Schaeffer unit and fairly reliable. EXCEPT for one Saturday night, when I was doing an 8 pm-9 am trick. There was no overnight news to speak of so I recorded one newscast, one weather and one sports report. Now I had nothing to do but take meter readings. (Otherwise, I would have slept till 6 am.)
I went into the automation room after I heard one song end and nothing followed it. Queried the memory and...uh-oh - there's no next event. Hmmm. So, I entered the next song and queried. And queried. And queried and so on and so on and...guess what? There ain't nothing' there, Bob. I mean, absolutely NOTHING. And, no panic button.
To make is short, I programmed the beastie till midnight, which gave me a bit of breathing space. Programmed it through till 6 am. Well, now I need to give the afternoon guy some space, so I continued on till midnight Sunday. What the heck, I may as well go till Monday. Left a message for the ops manager, to the effect of what had happened and that they were good until 5 pm Monday. After that, they're on their own.
Then there was the infamous jai-alai incident. I had to record the results and play them back between 9:30 and 10 pm. I interrupt the automation, intro the results and hit the tape. The phone rings and instead of waiting till the tape was done, I answered, "W104, can you hold please?", put the phone down, outro and punch up the automation.
"Thank you for holding. How may I help you?"
"Hi. I was wondering when you were going to play the jai-alai results."
I tried to tell him I had just finished them. The more I explained, the more he insisted I hadn't. Finally, he threatened to contact the station and complain.
"Please do. Because the station manager is listening and he'll TELL you I did the results. Thank you for calling." CLICK.
The station manager said, don't sweat the small stuff. He won't call.
Rick Shea was the morning man and often came in a bit past 6 am. I played records till he came in. I often threatened to do an Arthur Godfrey one day...."It's 6 o'clock and this is the Rick Shea morning show; Rick's not here" or just start the show myself.
Actually, Rick was a great person and I enjoyed giving him a hard time."
I worked part time at WIOF from November, 1977 until April of 1978 (when the station was still on Rt. 69 in Prospect-ed), when the format changed from "Great American Country" to "Magic." Great American Country was a syndicated format provided by Drake Chenault, on large reels of tape that arrived
in the mail each week. The entire format was run by a mechanical automation system that routinely went off kilter, and would play the wrong time announcements and/ or commercials at the wrong time. It was kind of comical, at times.
The air staff during the country years read live news at the top of each hour, and weekday mornings (5 to 10 a.m.) were entirely live, with Rick Shea as the host.
In April of '78, the country staff was dismissed as Lou Terry and the "Magic 104" staff was hired.
Stan Bashura (Stan Blake):
I was browsing your home page and realized the content did not contain much about W104.1 FM in Waterbury when it was a Country Music Station. I was trained as a DJ by Tex Pavel, who was on WWCO at night when the studio was located on Straits Turnpike in Watertown. I then moved to WIOF in Waterbury where I was the graveyard shift DJ and also did fill in work during the day during the 70's. Rick Shea was Program Director and morning host, veteran DJ Steve Skipp also worked there.