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

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    After WLCR, 990 Khz in Torrington went dark in the early sixties, a fellow from Long Island who was a producer for NBC's Monitor Radio got a Construction Permit (CP) to move 990 to Southington with a directional antenna sometime around 1966. Apparently he lost financing or interest or both and Michael Rice convinced his father, who owned WILI (Willimantic) and WINY (Putnam) at that time, to invest in building what was to become WNTY. 
    Michael Rice contracted with local engineer Hillis Holt to build the station, and started the Southington Broadcasting Company. In 1971 he merged the 3 stations into the Nutmeg Broadcasting Co.
    WNTY built a name for itself in the community by being a local station, including local sports. 
      
Several investors, including Donato Sarapo, purchased the station from Nutmeg Broadacsting in 1979.  George W. Stevens became the President and General Manager. For the next twenty years WNTY ran an MOR format, with live deejays,including some of the state's best known. These include Johnny Michaels, Ashley Martella,Larry Howard,  Ed Kelly, and Tom Chute. The station was always dedicated to a heavy news and sports agenda. We broadcast high school sports when others had given up. Tom Reynolds did our games for years.
    The station also upgraded its power from 1000 watts to 2500 watts in 1988. This allowed for significant coverage of   Waterbury and Hartford. On Sundays WNTYhad one of the most popular Italian shows in the state,with co-hosts Leonardo Cotugno and Enrico Castellano. John and Patty Ann Demerski were hosts of a long running Polish show.
    Mr. Stevens operated WNTY long after Sarapo's death,and sold it in 1999 to ADD Radio,out of East Greenwich, Rhode Island
for $850,000. 
    ADD Radio apparently decided to program to a larger area including Hartford and New Britain although they retained some local programming, including high school sports and Sunday programming including a Catholic mass service, a Polka show, and ethnic programming.
    In April 1999, the 990 signal was leased by El Principe Communications of Hartford, a Hispanic group that previously had owned WMMW
in Meriden. They switched the station over to a Spanish-language format targeted towards younger audiences called La Brava.    
    This lasted until September, 2000 when ADD Radio terminated El Principe's lease.     
    Shortly thereafter, vandals damaged the WNTY's studios and transmitter which resulted in the station being off the air for several weeks.
    The station returned to the air in October, 2000 with a hip hop/reggae format called Blaze 990 as a result of an arrangement with Blaze Communications who leased the station Monday-Saturday 6:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. with ADD Radio brokering the balance, retaining high school football and the Sunday brokered programming. This arrangement lasted until WZMX switched to a hip-hop heavy format. In August 2001 the station dumped the reggae half of the format while picking up some sports coverage on the weekends along with Fox News. The "Blaze 990" format ended without warning on November 22, 2001.
    General Manager Charlie Profit kept the Fox News programming on the station as other formats were considered. In February 2002, WNTY became a talk radio/Fox News hybrid using the on-air slogan "Notty 99" (pronounced "Naughty"), a play on the WNTY calls.     
    In November 2002, WNTY made broadcast history when the station served as the master control home station for a live broadcast from a moving train, as the nationally-syndicated Travel World Radio Show with hosts Stephen Pickford and Willem Bagchus did their show live from VIA Rail's world-famous transcontinental Train No.1, "The Canadian", westbound between Edmonton and Hinton, AB. The broadcast was written up in the September 2004 edition of Radio World magazine.
    In April 2003, the call letters were changed to WXCT, in reference to the new slogan "Xact Radio, 990 The X"
    In April 2004, ADD Radio sold WXCT to the Davidson Media Group which flipped the format from talk format to a Spanish-language format on May 4 of that year. The new format, Supermax 990. The station entered an agreement with local WFSB-TV which included WXCT being simulcast on WFSB's SAP channel and WXCT housing its studios alongside WFSB's.    
    In 2005 the brokering contract with the Supermax group was terminated at which point WXCT would take the format in-house as Power 990.
    In October 2005, general manager Charlie Profit attempted to restore the station's former talk format with a female-targeted talk format. WXCT's programming during this time included Profit's own show, as we; as Wilde Women Entrepreneurs, Dr. Laura and Bruce Williams.
    On May 8, 2007 WXCT dropping its all talk format and will be flipping to a Spanish-language religious programming format.

WNTY Memories:

Former WNTY staffer Bob Davis submitted the following recollections:  

 

     I worked at WNTY off and on between October, 1993 and June, 1999.  This means I was there during the period when the air product was mostly satellite and brokered show delivered as well as the live, local jock period during the last few years of the George Stevens era. 

    I started there as a Saturday Morning board operator.  About a month into the job, I switched over to Sunday Afternoons where I board teched Patty Ann Jakubiak's well-received “Polka Happiness” show which followed the ever-popular Italian show.  I did that for over a year.  When I started there, the station had a live morning show during the week and then the rest of the day was Hot Adult Contemporary music off the bird via Unistar with CNN News at the top of the hour.  From time to time during the week, various hours were blocked off for local brokered programming.  To the best of my knowledge, WNTY had been running Hot AC off the bird since 1988 just after the transmitter upgrade.  Weekends varied between local brokered and live assist satellite depending on who was buying the air time and when.  Sometime around August, 1994, the station switched satellite program suppliers from Unistar to Jones (still Hot AC) with Salem Radio News (Standard News) at the top of the hour.  I would be remiss if I did not mention the local high school sports coverage on WNTY, John Demerski’s “Polka Time” show which aired twice a week, the annual Rotary Radio Day broadcasts, the field measurements and eventual “upgrade” in the nighttime power from 5 watts “flea power” to 80 watts, and the station’s mascot – a tiger cat named “Winty.”

    June, 1996: After having been away from the station for the better part of a year (with occasional fill-in exceptions) while finishing up work on a college degree, I came back to WNTY after a surprise - out of nowhere - phone call from Johnny Michaels (yeah, that one, the former 96-5 TIC jock and Country 92.5 PD) asking if I wanted to come back. Upon my return, I noticed that the station had dumped the bird and flipped the format – though some would argue that they dumped the format and flipped the bird - to a local station with live jocks and a more noticeable, softer, dialing down of the music from the Hot AC that used to pipe out of the satellite dish and SEDAT transponder (remember those?). Right away, the station sounded a thousand percent better.  The brand name of the music service in place at the time of the flip was called "AC 45+", the brainchild of Mike Betelli out of Broadcast Programming in Seattle, which later merged with Jones.  Although derided by some in the industry as a glorified MOR for baby boomers, “AC45+” turned out to be the right format for the right station at the right time (more on that later).

    It is believed Johnny Michaels first came to WNTY as a consultant and somehow, someway, ended up as Program Director after somehow, someway, convincing George Stevens to convert the station back to live jocks.  The changing of the format also resulted in a changing of the guard in terms of personnel.  Out went morning show jock Daryl Houghton and Operations Manager Frank Bruce.  In came former 910 CNN News Director Ed Miller (also of “All New Adult Radio 1270 WSPR” fame), versatile air talent Ashley Martella and former WRCH Overnight Jock Larry Howard. 

    There was (unsubstantiated) speculation that the flip back to live and local was precipitated and fast tracked by the decision of the satellite music supplier (Jones) to cancel the station’s service contract.  In any case, Michaels programmed the station and did the morning show with Ed Miller on local news.  Ashley Martella did the midday shift with Larry Howard on PM Drive.  Johnny gave me an opportunity to jock on Saturday Afternoons from 1-5 PM after Larry Howard, one or 2 local brokereds and an occasional public affairs show (odd hours but this was WNTY).  Considering this was my first regular air shift in 6 years and only my second air shift overall in the industry, I was allowed, through the generosity and patience of Johnny Michaels (for which I will always be grateful), to get all the rust out over the ensuing months while working my way back up to passable, halfway decent broadcast shape.

    December, 1996: Johnny left WNTY.  As the calendar turned to 1997, Ed Miller became PD in late-January and did the morning show; Ashley left soon after.  Miller was PD for all of maybe 2 months before he was shown the door (along with morning show producer Kevin Romanick) on Good Friday, to be replaced in morning drive by Pete Lamoureux.  After Ashley left, middays were "voice tracked" by Tom Reynolds; Barry Williams came aboard after.  Through it all, Larry Howard remained on Afternoon Drive and Saturday Mornings, I remained on Saturday Afternoons. 

    And now for the “more on that later” part:  Unless someone out there reading this can provide evidence to the contrary, it is believed the Spring of 1997 marked the very first time ever in the known history of this radio station, dating back to first sign on in 1969, that WNTY finally showed up in a ratings book (Arbitron, Pulse, Hooper) – actually 2 books to be more precise; having cracked the Hartford Arbitron ratings and the Waterbury Arbitron ratings back when Waterbury was still an Arbitron market.  There were many factors and variables in place at the time that made what WNTY accomplish in the Spring of ’97 remarkable in its own right.  Without turning this into a college thesis, I will say that:

 

-          You had to be there and live it first hand in order to fully understand and appreciate the experience, especially when you compare it to the current condition of radio as a whole today. 

 

-          I still have the ratings books and (my) airchecks from that period as proof of performance and proof of no attempt here to rewrite history.

 

-          Shameless plug:  The supposed premiere of WNTY in a ratings book coincided with my own debut as a rated jock.  Applying myself and making the most of the opportunity presented to me, it was my good fortune to be the ratings winner for WNTY in both books; a very humble and heady experience indeed.  It was a lot of fun to do it, even more fun to do it at a station showing glimpses of its potential at the same time.  How’s that for paying your dues?  It was also nice to see merit win out for a change, but I digress.  End of shameless plug.

 

-          As mentioned earlier (sorry to repeat myself), unless someone out there reading this can provide evidence to the contrary about WNTY’s first time in the ratings, that’s my story and I stand by it.  So much so that I have a standing challenge available and open to anyone who can prove me wrong – albeit with strings attached; certain terms and conditions do apply.

 

     I remained with WNTY on Saturdays and fill-ins through March, 1998 though we were not able to duplicate the magic of the previous spring.  After some time at another station, I boomeranged back to ‘NTY in '99 to do scattered fill-ins over the last few months of the George Stevens regime before the keys to the kingdom were finally turned over to Peter Arpin and the ADD Media Group. 

    Other people who worked at WNTY besides the ones mentioned on this website:  Gene Anthony, Gene St. Jean and David Melendy (later to CNN and AP).  In addition, the WNTY call letters have resurfaced on an Oldies station at 92.1 FM in the Fort Myers, Florida area.

    I realize this is starting to resemble a puff piece with all the hyperbole and some people may think I’m making too much of this.  And, they’re probably right.  But 990 on the AM radio dial, with studios and offices - as well as tower and transmitter facilities - located at 440 Old Turnpike Road in the Plantsville section of Southington, has played a central role in whatever modest success I’ve had in this business.  I have worked at other radio stations before and since WNTY and believe me, more often than not, my experience at Cinderblock Central was, for the most part, a low maintenance “blue, cloudless sky” by comparison.  I’m not ashamed of my time there."

Memories of WNTY courtesy of
George W.Stevens:

Some information regarding the former WNTY. While  Donato Sarapo was
involved as an investor he was not the principal figure in the day to day
affairs or operations of WNTY. That task fell to me,George W.Stevens,and I
was the President and General Manager.

We purchased the station in l978 from the Rice family(Nutmeg Broadcasting).
During the  twenty years I owned WNTY it  ran an MOR format,with live
deejays,including some of the state's best known. These include Johnny
Michaels,Ashley Martella,Larry Howard,  Ed Kelly,and Tom Chute. The station
was always dedicated to a heavy news and sports agenda.We broadcast high
school sports when others had given up. Tom Reynolds did our games for
years.

The station also upgraded its power from 1000 watts to 2500 watts. This
allowed for significant coverage of   Waterbury and Hartford.On Sundays
WNTYhad one of the most popular Italian shows in the state,with co-hosts
Leonardo Cotugno and Enrico Castellano. John and Patty Ann Demerski were
hosts of a long running Polish show.

I operated WNTY long after Sarapo's death,and sold it in 1999 to ADD
Radio,out of East Greenwich,Rhode Island. I hope you will use this
information to correct the record.



WXCT memories from Marc Bramhall:

Hey. I thought I'd share my memories/experiences at WXCT AM 990 in Southington with your site.

I began corresponding via email with WNTY's new General Manager Charlie Profit shortly after he took over as GM in July 2001. He contacted me regarding the fan website I had set-up for the radio station, which at that time was hip-hop formatted Blaze 990. He told me if I was interested in learning radio to give him a call.

I began my internship at WNTY in February 2002 around Valentine's Day. The station was days away from launching its new news-talk format and at that time programming comprised of Charlie and Glenn in the Morning 7AM-9AM. (I can't remember Glenn's Last Name), Infomercials 9AM-10AM, The 2002 Winter Olympics 10AM-2PM, FOX News Channel Audio 2PM-4PM, The Dead Doctors Don't Lie Infomercial (Originally called Let's Play Doctor) 4PM-5PM, Fox News Channel Audio 5PM-8PM, and The 2002 Winter Olympics 8PM-6AM. My first day I spent an hour observing a gentleman (I don't remember his name) board-op the Olympics. He let me try to run the board and the first time I muted the wrong channel on the board and the local commercials were going out on top of the network commercials. I noticed my mistake and quickly corrected it. At 2PM Charlie switched the satellite channel over to the FOX News Channel and they were in the middle of something. FOX News didn't even break at the top of the hour for me to play the legal ID. Finally at 2:07 I cut off the story, quickly ran the legal ID and put FOX News Audio back on.

Over the next few months I board-oped a very boring talk show on Friday afternoons called "Point of View" hosted by the now-deceased Marlon Maddox on the USA Radio Network. In addition I board-oped a couple College Basketball Games. After that my involvement with the station went down to nothing. Charlie wanted me to intern on Fridays and I asked for Fridays off from my paying job ... but my boss kept scheduling me on Fridays. Sometime that fall Charlie Profit and I had a falling out over something I said about him on a radio message board about him helping to over see WARL in Providence flip to a hip-hop format.

In February 2003 I wrote a letter of apology to Charlie and brought it down to the station and gave it to him. He accepted my apology and I was in good standing again. I was allowed to come down to the station and observe his morning show, which he co-hosted with JR Morgan and Kurt Schmiede. That April Charlie changed the station's call letters from WNTY to WXCT, which really surprised me. On July 4th of that year I was giving my big break. Charlie gave JR and Kurt the morning off for the holiday and let me co-host the morning show. I didn't have a radio name and very quickly decided the name Jay Clark. It sounded totally 100% white bred. Charlie was running late that morning, so he popped in an infomercial to run at 8AM, then we started the morning show at 8:30. I was very nervous and found my voice to much higher than it normally is. The one goof came when I had said The Redsox won when they actually lost. (The Mistake was made because I couldn't read my hand-writing when I quickly wrote down scores from ESPN).

That August Charlie and JR began hosting a new show 1PM-3PM. On Halloween Day I came down to observe the show. After the show JR didn't want to board-op the traffic reports during the Dr. Laura show and Charlie had to get his costume on for a Halloween Party in Plantsville, so the job of board-oping the traffic reports fell in my hands. Again I was nervous the first time. And what made things worse is the traffic reporter tried to ease my fear by telling a joke - "What do you call a fish with two knees?" (I thought to myself just shut up and do the traffic). I said I didn't know and her answer was "A tunie fish". I groaned and she did the traffic. The next traffic report after 4PM went much better. "It's 4:04 and time for a look at your Exact Traffic with Danielle Lane on the All New 990 The X". She did the report. The report at 4:30 went well too. Going through the automation computer I noticed the Traffic Sounder was missing in the 5PM hour, so I had JR put it in for me. Just after 5 I had Danielle on the phone on hold. A Commercial was playing. I potted up my mic, but left didn't turn it on. The commercial ended. One more played. Then the traffic sounder began playing and I turned on my mic "It's 5:03 and time for a look at your Exact Traffic with Danielle Lane on The All New 990 The X". I un-mute the pot for the phone and hear nothing. Then all of a sudden I hear "Am I on? I missed my cue." Then she began giving the traffic report. As she was giving the traffic report, I noticed that JR had been the culprit. He un-potted the mic on me and I hadn't realized it!

In March 2004 it was announced that the station was being sold to Davidson Media Group - a company specializing in Hispanic formatted radio stations. A "Save WXCT" campaign began. We figured we'd have the station until August. On Good Friday a Listener Appriciation Breakfast was held. Over 65 people showed up for it. 2 weeks later we found out it was actually "WXCT's Farewell Breakfast" as the station was being turned over to the new owners in May. The local programming - a morning show hosting by Thom Morgan and Profit's afternoon show came to an end Friday April 23. For its final week at 990 The X, WXCT ran syndicated programming only. Charlie cut a new legal ID. "Stay tuned as we rebuild WXCT to serve Central Connecticut's Ethnic Communities. WXCT Southington-Hartford".At 6AM May 3rd WXCT was relaunched simulcasting the morning show from WPRX 1120. Local Spanish Music started at 10AM. Syndicated talk shows and infomercials filled the 6PM-6AM time slots.

A few locals began buying time on WXCT at night.. I too was offered a times-slot. I accepted and signed a 14 week brokerage contract. (13 shows + one week off for a pre-planned vacation). The Jay Clark Show made its debut at 8PM on Friday June 4th. The show was a huge disaster. There was no consistancy to my show as I missed a couple shows because I was sick. Eventually my show got better, though I still think it was the worst thing to ever grace the airwaves. Right before my show on Friday August 13th I was informed that, it was my final show. Anda Productions the company that was LMAing the station 6AM-6PM would be taking over the rest of the airtime. I didn't even do a last show. I just let CD's play. If I didn't like a song, I'd cut if off in the middle, leaving dead air while I put another song on. I just didn't give a crap. That's how angry I was. It should've been my 10th show, but I missed 3 due to illness, so I ended up doing only 7 shows, including the week after I came back from my vacation. That was a disaster too. With 10 minutes left to the show I decided to finish off the show talking about my vacation. The commercial break ended and I begin to speak. I ended up mumbling in-coherently for 30 seconds. So I turned off my mic and threw the station into Dead Air for the remainder of my show.

In 2006 after Charlie had signed 2 year LMA with Davidson Media Group to keep the talk format on the station (he was hired in 2005 to bring back the talk format), Charlie was gonna let me do sales for the station once I got my driver's license. Well as luck would have it, I got my license the same week Charlie lost his LMA and the station switched over to Radio Cantico Nuevo. I felt like I was partially to blame. If I had been able to sell some ads maybe Charlie would've been able to keep the station until the scheduled end of his LMA.

I really enjoyed my time I spent at WXCT. It was my first taste of radio. It was something I always wanted to do since I was a little boy. When I became a board op in 2002 just 3 months before my 20th birthday it was a dream come true. I felt I was really lucky because some people go through their entire life without ever achieving their dream. When I signed on to do The Jay Clark Show that was the second part of my dream coming true.


WNTY Memories by John West:

    I cut my radio/announcing teeth on Little League baseball in Southington announcing my first game on the PA when I was 10 yrs old.. first of hundreds through my teens. I met Jim Senich, my mentor in this crazy business,as he announced Little League games for WNTY.. This was 1968.    
    This becomes a history of some stories from WNTY in Southington, I had a lot of fun as the neighborhood kid who had a chance to unknowingly learn a trade by hanging around.
    Circa 1969, Jim Senich at the time was PD, Bob Gregory was Station Manager, Jim Schimmerhorn (sic) was News Director, Tom Cawatt was an Engineer, Enrico Castellani did the Sunday Italian show.. Johnny Dyno did the Polka Show, years later John Demerski and Patti Ann.
    Jim Senich invited me to the station to see what it was all about, you know the starry eyed kid from 2 blocks away. All the buttons, knobs, wires and the music library on vinyl wow what a selection took up a whole wall. It was the first of many years hanging around there.
    Saturday's Jim let me hone my craft in the production studio usingthe Gates Producer, and the other 'toys'.
    Jim offered me a unique radio 'show' Scholastic Sports, a feature show on Junior High School sports. It augmented the station's massive committment to local sports on all levels. I had the only transistor radio allowed to play in Jr.High school, the excuse, to check my radio show... if the teachers ever knew..
    Jim did so much for my future I could never thank him enough and I'm sure many others had that one mentor that meant so much.
    Later in the'70-'72 era, I assisted Jim on the Southington High School football game broadcasts.. even in the snow one late September afternoon on the roof of SHS.. During the High School years, we had a program called Southington High Hilites -a fast-paced hosdge-podge of high school news and interviews..
    Tom Chute now GM at WATR going into his 25th yr there worked with us afternoons, Jim did the morning show always loving his Frank Sinatra tunes..
    Many years later, I would pass paths with Jim Senich again writing sports at The Observer in Southington where he was the Editor at the time.    
    Hope this added a bit of insight to WNTY and one of the, I feel, quiet icons in Connecticut's Broadcast History - Jim Senich a mentor to so many. Whether at WGCH doing Fairfield University games to his tenure in Southington, or WBIS Bristol or WATR and Naugatuck Valley Basketball or teaching at Briarwood College.


Former WNTY staffer Bob Davis on how he ended up at WNTY in the first place: 
    
It’s March of 1993, and for the 2nd time in my “broadcasting career” (Editor’s Note:  LOL!), I’m “on the beach” and was working in retail while looking for another radio job.  I spent the spring and summer of 1993 sending out numerous tapes and resumes to stations and got either no reply or a rejection letter for my troubles.     
    
In October of ’93, a colleague from the very first radio station I worked for had passed away.  I tried to get hold of a contact who also worked with the colleague.  At the time, so I thought, he was pulling weekends at another station.  Got his answering machine and left a message. 
    
Later that evening, my call gets returned.  We spent time on the phone waxing nostalgic about said colleague.  At some point in the conversation, I learned he wasn’t pulling weekends at the station anymore.  I do recall in the preceding weeks that someone else was in his daypart at the station.  He went on to tell me the story about what transpired and where he ended up…he’s now Operations Manager and Morning Man at WNTY.  I told him in passing that if he was in the market for a part-timer or fill-in, I’m interested.  As Divine Providence would have it, he asked me when I can come up because he needed somebody.   Because of my retail work schedule, the best I could come up with for a visit was the Wednesday of the following week.  Fortunately, he agreed, so we set up the date and time for the meeting. 
 
   
In the days prior to the meeting, I accepted a recall offer to come back to my old full-time job that I was downsized from in March.  It was rumored that my hiring at WNTY was approved by station President and General Manager George Stevens, sight unseen, long before I ever entered the building on Old Turnpike Road for the first time (Whether that occurred or not, thank you, George Stevens).  I came up to WNTY on the day scheduled, was hired on the spot, started that Saturday, and marked the beginning of a relationship with WNTY that lasted off and on over a period of 5 ½ years.  The following Monday, I came to work at my retail job and gave notice.  For better or for worse, I’ve been working in radio ever since.       What is the point of this story?  Remember earlier when I mentioned sending out T&R’s and striking out each time?  The one radio station I never sent a tape and resume to during that time was where I got the job.  That station was Southington’s AM 990, WNTY.  
    
George Stevens, if you’re reading this, thanks, again.


 
1969


1970


WXCT's studio and transmitter site, 2008


Looking from the studio into the transmitter room.


One of the two towers.


Transmitter and phasor.




















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