HARTFORD RADIO HISTORY
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WQTQ 89.9

(This section is under construction. The text below is a draft history, more information is needed.  Please contact us with corrections/updates/suggestions.

admin@hartfordradiohistory.com.)

 

The station was born in the late 1960’s from the need to provide a service to an urban listening community. It was the idea of the late Weaver High School educator, Mr. George Pryor Thomas, along with the vision and dedicated service of Weaver Librarian/Media Specialist, Mr. Michael Angelillo that made WQTQ possible.

The station started out as a small wattage, intramural, carrier current AM station from the old Weaver High School on Ridgefield Street in Hartford.  WQTQ was a quiet, viable force in the community and it wasn’t long before it started gathering a loyal following of listeners.

In the early 70s Harold Dorschug, chief engineer of WTIC radio, helped the Board of Education get an FM license and WQTQ came on the air on 88.3 MHz with 10 watts from an antenna on the top of the New Thomas Snell Weaver High School on Granby Street.  The student programmers were thrilled to be on the FM dial and were thrilled by the additional coverage the FM signal provided. However, the 88.3 frequency was not desirable due to interference from stations on either side of that frequency so application was made to the FCC to improve the station’s signal in the mid-70s.  This involved a frequency change to 89.9, a much clearer frequency, and a relocation of the transmitter and antenna to the Oakhill School for the Blind on Holcomb on one of the highest spots in Hartford.

Upon receiving approval from the FCC Harold Dorschug once again came to the station’s aid on a pro bono basis and took care of changing the frequency of the transmitter and moving the equipment to Oakhill School.  The signal on the new frequency benefited from the greatly increased height and for the first time the station’s signal was able to be heard well in the neighboring towns of West Hartford, East Hartford, Windsor and Newington.

In the late seventies, chief engineer Marty Peshka oversaw the FCC’s approval to increase the station’s power to 63 watts.  Up until this point the station had still been using its original transmitter, a Gates indirect FM exciter.  Marti installed a solid state QEI exciter and a Gates tube RF amp.  The tube amp was replaced by a solid state QEI unit in 1979.

In 1996 the WQTQ air studio was renovated and an Autogram 12-channel slide pot board was installed.

By 2001 WQTQ had enough volunteers on its staff to keep the station on the air 18+ hours a day.  However, since people were not allowed in the school when the building was closed they were forced to sign off most nights from 10 pm to 6 am and they were off the air completely every Sunday.  To solve this problem manager Tom Smith and chief engineer John Ramsey oversaw the installation of an Enco program automation system which allowed the station to maintain a 24/7 schedule for the first time in its history.

In 2002 the FCC granted WQTQ permission to increase power to 112 watts.  In addition to increasing the coverage and allowing WQTQ can be heard from Springfield to the Greater Hartford Meriden-Wallingford areas, the increase also meant that WQTQ was changed from a secondary to a primary station, a move ensuring the continued existence of the station.

Past general managers include Joseph Grant, Roosevelt Cooper, and Paul O. Robertson. They have been cornerstones of the station and were responsible for the continuing development of Qute FM from the early days of being on the air only three and four hours daily to the current 24/7 broadcast schedule.

The present Board of Managers is totally voluntary. The Board of Managers’ "New Direction" has been weathered and championed through the long hours and the dedication of Connie J. Coles, General Manager; Shirley J. Minnifield, Business Manager; and, Thomas G. Smith, Chief Operations Manager. For having the desire to take a position of voluntary leadership in keeping Qute FM "on-air" and for developing the structure and coarse of community involvement for WQTQ, this Board of Managers is to be praised.

WQTQ Memories:

Stephanie Jarrett-Manson, AKA  Sexy Jay '78-'79
     "My experience with WQTQ began my two year run on WQTQ by accident.  I was fooling around with another deejay and Mr. Cooper heard me and asked me to join the station.  I became the late deejay playing mostly Parliment Funkadelic, Boosty Collins with P-Funk, and anything funky.  My call name was "Sexy Jay" and I sounded totally diferent on the air than live.  One day in a class one of my classmates found out I was Sexy Jay and started sending me love notes.  He said he wanted to meet me SO bad from the first time he heard my voice.  Another good memory was the time we broadcast the Homecoming game from the top of the school.  It was so much fun and we were screaming and yelling so much I lost my voice and couldn't deejay that night.  Someone heard what happened and sent me flowers to the station, I never found out who.  I've had so many good memories at WQTQ, and I had a great bunch of people to work with especially Mr. Cooper.  He would always make sure I had my BBQ potato chips and grape soda when I was on the air.  Great times with WQTQ -
and you're still doing it big time."


Marvin E. Mink aka Big Poppa Flava Morning Show 6am--10am M/W/Fri
     "I go back to 1979.  Back then,you had to go take the Mass Communications class ifyou wanted to do radio broadcasting at the school. Also, you had to have a broadcaster's license which was obtained  through the Mass Communication class.  The first half of the school year was focused on book training and the second half was hands on training in the studio. You also could elect to take TV Production, which focusedon script writing, camera work, etc.  We made great commercials and original TV scripts.  We had some decent equipment back then.  However, the school focused mainly on the radio station.  Just a little
history from me."

Partial List of Alumni: Alex Campbell, Connie J. Coles , Roosevelt Cooper, Joseph Grant, Stephanie Jarrett-Manson, Marvin Mink, Shirley J. Minnifield, Marty Peshka, John Ramsey, Paul O. Robertson, Thomas G. Smith.

 


1981


1981 Article


Tom Smith


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Above:  Despite having relatively low power (112 watts) the placement of the station's four bay FM antenna on one of the highest elevations in the city of Hartford allows the station to cover a surprisingly wide area.  This shot is of the antenna on top of the Oakhill School for the Blind.


Brandon (Harpo), Felicia (Sofia), of The Color Purple, Carla Canty and Phylicia Hartfield. 2009 photo.

 
WQTQ's Tom Smith with Felicia (Sofia).  2009 photo.

2012


WQTQ Memories:

Michael Angelillo

TO:  Tom, Shirley and Connie:   I am certainly proud of the way you have kept WQTQ-FM on the air all these years. I am sure the late George Thomas is also proud of you guys. GOD BLESS!
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