HARTFORD RADIO HISTORY
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WQQW (WBRY, W1XBS)

1530/1590 Khz, Waterbury, CT


     The station began experimental high fidelity broadcasting at 1530 KHz with 1,000 watts as W1XBS on Nov. 3, 1934.  The station was owned and operated by the American Republican, Inc. The original studios may have been at the transmitter on Radio Tower Road, Prospect, but were soon moved to the third floor of 136 Grand Street, Waterbury. By 1937, it was authorized to operate at a power of 1000 watts. The station had a business office at 152 Temple Street, New Haven, and was affiliated with the Colonial Network and the Mutual Broadcasting System.
    Early personnel included - President: William J. Pape; Business manager: Erwin J. Frey; Commercial manager: Murray J. Grossman; Studio director: David Hale Halpern; Chief engineer: Sidney Warner; Musical director Waldo S. Newbury, and Publicity director: E. Christy Erk.
    W1XBS' call changed to WBRY probably 1935 or after.
    The New Haven Chamber of Commerce, in a 1939 report, stated WBRY was established in New Haven in 1935 and by 1939 was a member of the Columbia Broadcasting System.  At the time it was established the station was connected with WMCA in New York, and had studios in Waterbury and New Haven, with its transmitter located in Prospect, CT.  Soon the station was made a member of the Mutual Broadcasting System and in January, 1939, the CBS system took WBRY into its network.  It had a power of 1,000 watts on 1530 Kc.

    The station was represented by the Joseph Hershey McGillvra agency, and received news from both the United Press and Associated Press. There was an audience studio, referred to as a "Theater room," with a seating capacity of 150 persons. WBRY accepted foreign language programs, and featured Italian, Lithuanian and Polish live talent series.
    The station moved to the transmitter on Boyden Street Ext., sometime prior to 1973. A call letter change to WTBY occurred around the same time and another, to WQQW, about 1973.
     In the mid-70s, the vacated studio-control room-offices appeared much as they were when the station moved.  At the rear and facing rear was the large studio, about 30 by 50 feet with a high ceiling. To its left, separated by a wall with a large window, was the seating area. I don't recall there being 150 seats; it seems there were more like sixty. These were arranged in three rows with aisles at each end and the middle. At the time, a dance studio was or recently had been using these two rooms; thus, the difference in the number of seats.
     Ahead of the studio was the control room. It was about 6 by 8 feet with the console desk next to the studio. Space was so tight that there was barely enough room to the right to get to the rear where racks for the audio equipment and patch panels were located.
     Ahead of the control room were two studios. Each measured roughly 6 by 10 and were likely used for newscasts, stations breaks, interviews and the like.
     Beyond the studios and along the front of the building were offices, possibly for news, programming and so on.
    The Boyden street facility consisted of a combination studio/transmitter building with a fallout shelter.  There were two, self-supporting towers.  The main transmitter in 1978 was a 10kw Continental which had previously served as an auxiliary transmitter for KDKA (those call letters were still visible on the transmitter when WQQW owned it).  The transmitter run at 5kw and a Gates, BC-1H served as a back-up.  Fred Santore was chief engineer through the late seventies.
    "The Music of Your Life" in the early 1980s, through final year, 1992. During those years, the air staff included Jim Sisti, Joe Sherwood, Tim Clark, Rick Shea, Peter Allen, Gary Miller, Gregg Scott, Lenny Pace, John Fleming, Janine Cooper. Later Ray Andrewsen, Lou Morton, Dave Feda, and Talkers Ed Flynn and Jay Clark. Owners were Marshal Pite and Tom Coffey, until they sold off to Rich Barbieri, John Corpaci and Vinal Duncan, in the late 1980s. 
    The station went off the air in 1992 after two of the owners were convicted of bribery and tax evasion in connection with the Mayor Santopietro scandal. Their 1590 frequency license was sold to WWRL in New York City in 1995, and their twin broadcast towers on Boyden Street were taken down in 1997 and reportedly used by a ham operator elsewhere in the seventies.
    The 1948 CT State Registry lists a WBRY-FM, owned by the 102.5 Republician American, on 102.5 MHz with 10,200 watts but we're not sure if this station was ever built.

Peter Miller: I worked on-air at WQQW, Waterbury for many years, beginning as a part timer in 1978 and then becoming the full time news director from 1982 to 1990.

From 1978 to '82, I was a part time weekend jock, first with the TOP 40 format, and then the "Music of Your Life" transition. From 1982 until my departure, I was morning and midday newscaster and field reporter, as well. After the sale to Barbieri and Corpaci, the studio was moved to the third floor of 101 South Main Street, where we had all new Arakis boards and a luxurious
talk show studio with several guest mike positions, a talk back system to the control room, and a digital time delay with ramp-up, ramp-down and a "dump" button that seldom got used.
WBRY 1958 Weekday Schedule 

5:30AM - News & Music
10:00AM - Arthur Godfrey Time
11:00AM - Whispering Streets
11:30AM - Galen Drake
11:45AM - Howard Miller
12:00N - Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Healy
12:15PM - Backstage Wife
12:30PM - Helen Trent
12:45PM - Our Gal Sunday
1:00PM - News
1:15PM - Ma Perkins
1:30PM - Young Dr. Malone
1:45PM - Road of Life
2:00PM - Right To Happiness
2:15PM - Second Mrs. Burton
2:30PM - Couple Next Door
2:45PM - Pat Buttram Show
3:00PM - Art Linkletter House Party
3:30PM – Lou Dennis
4:00PM - Tennessee Ernie Ford
4:15PM – Lou Dennis
5:00PM - News
5:05PM – Lou Dennis
6:00PM – News - E. Christy Erk
6:30PM - Guy Lombardo
6:45PM - Lowell Thomas
7:00PM - Amos 'n' Andy Music Hall
7:30PM - Answer Please
7:45PM - Edward R. Murrow


WQQW Memories:

Pete Miller:  I remember Fred Santore very well, since he was the CE at WQQW around the time I started working there in Aptil of 1978. I was hired by Tom Coffey as a weekend part timer and my first shift assignment was the Friday overnight into Saturday, board sitting the Larry King Show on Mutual Broadcasting. (Jim Sullivan, or "James L Sullivan," as he liked to be known, came on the air at 6 a.m. for his stint at WQQW. I wonder whatever became of that guy...) Shortly after, I also picked up the Sunday morning shift, which was mostly paid airtime by Waterbury religious people, who gave me records to play while they talked from the little news booth across the glass. The religious programs ended at 10:00 and I had two hours of live DJ time spinning records before my  relief showed up at noon.
     As I remember, Fred used to like working evenings, and could be found tinkering and soldering in the back room almost every weeknight. Really jovial guy and a great engineer, as I recall.
     Next, I was given the Saturday night show, which was five hours of live music and possibly also a rebroadcast of the CBS Mystery Theater from 11 to midnight, before the Best of Larry King was carried.
     I think I have a photo or two of the studio from around 1978-79, and one with afternoon jock BJ Johnson (1978-80?) clowning around with a set of orange shorts on his head. The shorts were a promotional giveaway provided by Sunkist soda, and listeners were asked to call in and win a pair of "sport shorts."
Also somewhere in my collection there is a VHS video of Jim Sisti and me working the morning shift just as the station was packing up to move to South Main Street (April, 1988). In the video, there is a shot of Jim backselling a few songs, me reading a newscast, and the sales staff, the secretary and Tom Coffey arriving for work.
     If I can get the photos scanned into the computer, and/ or the video transferred to digital, I'll be glad to send them along.
     The still pictures will be a far easier feat, since I will have to find someone to make the VHS/Digital transfer for me.
     The station, though run very thriftily by Marshal and Tom, really started to go down hill after the sale to Barbleri and associates.
Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the studios at 101 South Main street, and the place really was a showpiece for the few years it existed.
     I worked on-air at WQQW, Waterbury for many years, beginning as a part timer in 1978 and then becoming the full time news director from 1982 to 1990.
From 1978 to '82, I was a part time weekend jock, first with the TOP 40 format, and then the "Music of Your Life" transition. From 1982 until my departure, I was morning and midday newscaster and field reporter, as well.
After the sale to Barbieri and Corpaci, the studio was moved to the third floor of
101 South Main Street, where we had all new Arakis boards and a luxurious
talk show studio with several guest mike positions, a talk back system to the control room, and a digital time delay with ramp-up, ramp-down and a "dump" button that seldom got used:)+
    The Boyden Street towers were disconnected and left in place,
and a new tower was painstakingly built alongside the WWCO tower on Thomaston Avenue. This proved to be an engineering feat from hell due to RF from the two sticks interfering with each other. Kudos to Frank Jancowics for his technical prowess in working this out.
 

 


A 1935 W1XBS remote broadcast from the Loew's Poli or State Theater downtown where Ladies Crave Excitement was playing. E. Robert Stevenson, editor-in-chief of the Waterbury Republican-American newspapers, which owned the station, is on the left at the microphone. E. Christy Erk, newspaper columnist and station newsman, is next to him. The other people in the photo are unidentified.


Marcel Ducett, an opera singer, performing on WBRY sometimes in the 40s.

W1XBW Towers in Prospect 1935
The Prospect, CT transmitter site of W1XBS shortly after construction in 1934.

W1XBS 1935
Original W1XBS towers and transmitter building on Radio Towers Road in Prospect.

W1XBS Transmitter
 W1XBS Transmitter


WBRY Studio, 182 Grand St downtown Waterbury

WBRY News Studio
News Studio at the Republican-American newpaper on 196 Grand St, Waterbury.



1941


WBRY


According to one contributor the blue house on the left housed the original W1XBS transmitter building.  Engineer Al Iosa lived there in the house part in front.

W1XBS transmitter building in 2010.


John Gardner in the WQQW Air Studio.

WQQW Memories:


Todd Walker / Greg Crawford:  
I worked at WTBY in 1970. About the time I started my new gig, I was contacted by an Air personality I had met on the West Cost, who was now out of work and nearly out of money. His air name was Dave London, so my New Wife and I, took Dave in as it were as our roommate. Dave was only going to stay with us until he got a job. Unfortunately he got a job on our competition, WWCO. In fact, Dave, worked opposite of me for the first few hours my show. Unknown to both stations Staff and Management, Dave continued our roommate for his entire short but memorable tenure at THE MIGHTY CO. Dave would often come over to TBY after his shift, and run the board for me. The most memorable story I have about Dave is about what he said on that faithfully Sunday Morning that got him fired. Just don't ask me to quote him in writing, as I am now a good Christian Boy. I can tell you it was about the food offering as the White Castle Hamburger joint, and overheard that morning by a car full of WPOP Jocks, who nearly drove off the road. I have more WTBY stories perhaps I'll save them for next time. I know I have somewhere a couple of reel to reel air checks of me on TBY, I might even post one, on YouTube.com. In my own Radio Carrier I went on to work at WNHC, New Haven; Bill Drake's flagship station KYNO, Fresno, CA; WIXY-1260, Cleveland, OH; Operations Mgr/PD and afternoons at WGCI, Chicago. A short stint on WIND, Chicago, before they switched to News-Talk; and a very long run on the Transtar-Unistar Radio Network out of Hollywood, Ca. My home town.



Carl Rossi:  
Accidentally found this site and am amazed that I would find my name and history at WSHU, Sacred Heart University radio. I do not see any information on WQQW 1590 in Waterbury, originally known as WBRY. Nor is there any info on WCDQ in Hamden. It originally came on the air as WDEE at 1220. Can anyone share information?
Garry Rainey


(Anon):
I too worked for WQQW in 76/77 on the sales side. and yes the office was a trailer. I did not last long there..not enough money. Wanted tobe back to CT, so I left WECM in NH. Great site...



...Hey I work WQQW 1977-78...did mid-day...worked for Tom and with Joey and others...help me remember...on the hill in the shelter near the trailer....real bad winter 77-78...snowed in...folks across road brought us supplies after couple days up on the moutain...."Campfire marshmellos and case of PBR beer!!!


Pete Miller:
I worked at WQQW from 1978 through 1990, the four years as a part time announcer, then as full time news director for the next eight. The station was a medocre pop outlet until we hit it big, with "The Music of Your Life" in the early 1980s, through final year, 1992. During my years, the air staff included Jim Sisti, Joe Sherwood, Tim Clark, Rick Shea, Peter Allen, Gary Miller, Gregg Scott, Lenny Pace, John Fleming, Janine Cooper. Later Ray Andrewsen, Lou Morton, Dave Feda, and Talkers Ed Flynn and Jay Clark. Owners were Marshal Pite and Tom Coffey, until they sold off to Rich Barbieri, John Corpaci and Vinal Duncan, in the late 1980s.


Carl Rossi:  
I was at WQQW and worked as program director from June 1973 and was let go by Tom Coffey/Marshall Pite in August 1974.  Basically Marshall's daughter (true story) did not like the way I programmed the music!  I was hired by Ben Friedland who owned the station before he sold the majority to Pite.  I was responsible for introducing the "Philly Story" jingle package "Non-stop music", put in the format and tried to build an audience.  Jack Scott was the morning man, he was actually Doug Clark who spent a few weekends doing sports on Channel 8 but got fired because he wouldn't cut his hair.  I did mid-day, Fred Sanders (Santoro) PM drive and Tony Autore (from WICC) evenings.
I was a better PD than air personality but decided to get out of the industry and today work for Westinghouse Electric as a senior director of supply chain. Quite a change from radio!






Bill Dillane on WQQW


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