WWCO began operations in 1946, owned and operated by the Mattatuck Broadcasting Company. Studios and offices were located on the second floor of the Mattatuck Museum, 119 West Main Street, Waterbury. WWCO was licensed for 1240 kilocycles at 250 watts. Affiliations were with the Mutual and Yankee networks.
Personnel included: Milton H. Meyers, President and General Manager; Ford Billings, Commercial Manager; Robert Crager, Program Director; Eugene Parker, Promotion Manager and Eugene Fleischer, Chief Engineer.
The station used the Thesaurus transcription library and received news from the Associated Press. WWCO operated a Collins transmitter.
In 1953 station personnel included: William G. Wells, President; Gustave Nathan, Commercial Manager; John Carragan, Chief Engineer; A. Phillip Corvo, Promotion Manager; Jake Rieger, Sports Director and Jane Webster, Women's Director.
WWCO moved to the 5th and 6th floors of 65 Bank Street in the late 50s where they stayed until 1971.
In the 1950s, their format was mostly popular music records, and they were the first Waterbury radio station to play rock and roll records. On-air personalities included Bob "Records" Crager, Les Davis, Joe Mulhall (later known as Ken Griffin in Hartford and Los Angeles), Bob Rouge, and “Wildman Steve” Gallon who went on to forge a 40-year career as a DJ, media personality and movie actor.
During the 1960s and the 1970s, WWCO was owned by Merv Griffin purchased the station in 1965. "1240 Super Music C-O," was the slogan and the format was Top-40. Other personalities included Dr. Chris Evans, Danny Lyons, The Mad Hatter (Ed Maglio), Joe Cipriano and others.
The station moved to Straits Turnpike in 1971.
Merv Griffin put WWCO-FM on the air in 1967, and sold the AM in 1973 in order to buy WPOP. He initiated the purchase in 1972 but it took almost a year for the FCC to approve the sale.
The station evolved from top 40 to an adult contemporary format (called "All-Star Music WWCO" at about the time beautiful music WKCI-FM switched to adult contemporary top 40 as "KC-101."
WWCO eventually abandoned the "All-Star" format around 1984 and returned to top 40 as "Super Music C-O," under the direction of veteran Steve Skipp as Program Director. Still later, C-O, then owned by Westport, CT resident Sam Brownstein's "Greater Radio," switched between top 40 and adult contemporary formats.
For a time, Connecticut radio veteran Ed Flynn (now with WATR-AM) functioned as PD, with Dan Walker (Angelo Vecchiarelli) and Suzanne Haze as "Connecticut's First Co-Ed Morning Team." with an oldies format until 1984.
From 1984 until 1989 the station had a nighttime Urban Contemporary format"Nightflight."
Later, WWCO, due to financial issues, picked up Unistar's "Niche 29" AOR syndicated format, while maintaining live morning and afternoon drive.
WWCO relocated from its longtime studio location at 2030 Straits Turnpike in Middlebury to a brand new studio at 2 Lakewood Road (the intersection of Lakewood Road and North Main Street) in Waterbury, with studios overlooking Lakewood Park in 1989.
By 1990, WWCO again returned to its top 40 roots as "1240 Super Music 'C-O," even distributing music surveys with its DJ's pictures on them in local stores as it had one in the 60's and 70's.
A format switch to oldies came next..
Several years later, WWCO relocated to the same building ("Broadcast Center") that housed WQQW at 101 South Main Street (the former Leeward Building) in Waterbury. That move didn't last long, as WWCO was again sold. This time 'C-O General Manager Tom Coffey, along with former WWYZ-FM salesman Rob Johnson, formed Mattatuck Communications, and moved WWCO out of WQQW's building (WQQW had already turned its license in to the FCC and gone dark permanently).
WWCO's new location was in four rooms at the Red Bull Inn on Schraffts Drive in Waterbury. By then, Coffey & Johnson flipped WWCO to an oldies format as "Classic Oldies 1240 'C-O." WWCO's final Waterbury location was at 2 Mattoon Road in Watebury (near the Oakville border).
Buckley Broadcasting purchased WWCO in the late 1990s, and it now broadcasts the same programming as WDRC-AM in Hartford.
Contributor Robert Paine added:
WWCO moved to the third and fourth floors of 65 Bank Street. I'll check on the year. Chuck Lund, The Original Night Owl and WWCO DJ, helped move the audio console from the old to the new location, a distance of several city blocks. The board was a heavy tube model. Chuck and another guy carried it the distance because they didn't have a vehicle with enough room.
The new location had two studios and control room on the fourth floor. The control room was also the main studio, rested on springs and was slightly above the adjacent production room. These were at the center portion of the building. Floor plans, drawn by Chuck, will follow in the future, so I won't have to rely on thirty year old memories.
The third studio, which was located at the front corner and across the corridor from the control room, was given to the new WWCO-FM when it started. The floor plan will correct any possible error in the following description of that studio.
The console was a small Gates Producer.
Contributor Paul Michaud recalled the following:
I worked at WWCO from 1971 to 1973. My air name was Jonathan Walker while Joe Sherwood was the Program Director. Tom Coffey took over as P. D. and thought Jonathan was a bit high brow sounding. That's when Johnny Walker was born. Not to be confused with John E. Walker of WAVZ. I started in the 10:00pm to 2:00am shift and moved up to afternoon drive after a year or so. We had Dick Springfield in Morning Drive, followed by Bill Raymond and Bob Rose in Midday's. Tom Collins, known today as voice over guru, Joe Cipriano followed me in the 7:00pm to 10:00 pm shift. We had a fellow by the name of Jon Fisher from !09:00pm to 2:00am. The station simulcasted WWCO FM known as W104 from 2 til 6. NEWS was handled by Alan Mitchel, later known as Bruce Manke at WPLR, Steve Martin and Steve Thomas. Yes, THREE NEWS guys covering Waterbury! Those were the days! When Springfield was promoted up into the Merv Griffin company, Ed Flynn took over mornings. The station was known as SUPER CO THE FAMOUS 1240 during this time. We were so into the biz in those days. Collins, Manke, Martin and myself just about lived at the radio station, hanging out together when not on the clock. Waterbury legend The Mad Hatter, Ed Maglio was in sales and did an all request weekend show that was a total hoot. Spinner ken Jordan and Bob Acres were on the staff, too. I miss every one of them. I became known as Uncle Johnny after 'CO and went on to work Tampa, Washington DC, Boston, Orlando and am still playing the hits today. The hits are now country!
Contributor Bill Flower:
Your WWCO history of the late 1950s and early 1960s needs a bit of correction. The 65 Bank Street location was on the 5th and 6th floors of that building, not the 3rd & 4th as stated in the history. I started there in the spring of 1959 as a vacation relief DJ and returned each summer vacation (from college) until 1962 when I became the station's first full-time News Director ( a 1-man News Department.) The boss was owner Herb Bloomberg. Bob Rouge was the long-time afternoon DJ.