Time Line for Connecticut Broadcasting (compiled for cba by Michael Collins)

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Time Line for Connecticut Broadcasting

(compiled for CBA by Michael Collins)
June 17, 2010. Michael F. Collins, long time Member of the Board of the Connecticut Broadcasters Association, died at his home in Orange, Connecticut at the age of 63.
A lifelong advocate for life, he left us abruptly. Born in Connecticut, resident most of his life, his dedication to the State’s Broadcasters earned him the unofficial title of Association Historian. He helped author the Association’s chronology and timeline(s) for both the 40th and 50th Anniversary commemorations.
By skill and training Michael Collins was a writer. For the Associated Press, newspapers, magazines, the internet, he wrote, all for career; for love, he wrote of the little particulars of the Radio and TV Stations, large and small. Besides the archives of the CBA, his work resides in many places to be read and reviewed by scholars, journalists, and broadcasters.

1921 Earliest stations in Connecticut begin: WCJ New Haven, owned by A.C.
Gilbert toy company, the third radio license in the U.S.; also WDAK Hartford,
Hartford Courant, and WAAQ Greenwich, New England Motors (none of these
survive more than a few years)

1922 WPAJ New Haven begins, founded by Franklin Doolittle, later becoming
WDRC, Connecticut's oldest radio station

1923 WCAC Storrs, Connecticut Agricultural College station begins as
Connecticut's first educational station

1925 WTIC Hartford begins, owned by Travelers Insurance Company

1926 WTIC becomes 4th affiliate nationally of NBC

1926 WICC Bridgeport begins, oldest station in Fairfield County

1930 WDRC moves from New Haven to Hartford and becomes CBS affiliate

1930 WICC Bridgeport becomes CBS affiliate

1931 WTIC synchronizes broadcasts on 660 kHz with NBC's WEAF New York City
certain evenings each week, which continues until 1934

1934 WATR Waterbury begins as Waterbury's first station, and which today is
oldest continuously owned station in the state, never having been sold, owned
by the descendents of founder Harold Thomas

1935 WELI New Haven begins, with New Haven now having its own station again

1936 WNLC New London begins, first station east of the Connecticut River

1936 WCAC Storrs, sharing time with WICC on 600 kHz, shuts down, leaving
Connecticut with no educational radio station for 20 years until WHUS 90.5
Storrs - owned by the same school - now the University of Connecticut - opens
on the FM band in 1956. Later WHUS moves to 91.7, and 90.5 becomes available
for Connecticut Public Radio

1939 W1XPW begins broadcasting from West Peak, Meriden, as state's first FM
station, becoming WDRC-FM in 1943 and WHCN in 1956

1940 W1XSO Hartford begins as state's second and its only other pre-World War
II FM station, becoming WTIC-FM in 1943

1941 Every AM station in Connecticut except WICC 600 changes frequency in
March as new international radio agreement with Canada, Cuba, the Bahamas and
Mexico takes effect

1941 WTIC 1080 Hartford becomes fully protected Class I-B clear channel
station under new treaty, covering much of the northeast, midwest, upper south
as well as eastern Canada with a clear signal during hours of darkness. WTIC
is one of only two clear channel AM stations in New England and one of only 59
in the United States with wide area nighttime coverage. The other in New
England is WBZ 1030 Boston
1941 Standards for children's programming for CBS radio network and affiliates, including WDRC 1360 Hartford and WBRY 1590 Waterbury:

From the 1941 issue of Broadcasting Yearbook, page 312:  


"CBS has no thought of setting itself up as an arbiter of what is proper for 
the children to hear; but it does have an editorial responsibility to the 
community, in the interpretation of public wish and sentiment, which cannot be 
waived. In accordance with this responsibility CBS lists some specific themes and 
dramatic treatments which are not to be permitted in broadcasts for the children: 
- Respect for parents and proper legitimate authority 
- The exalting as modern heroes of gangsters, criminals and racketeers will 
not be allowed 
- Cruelty, greed and selfishness must not be presented as worthy motivations 
- Programs that arouse harmful nervous reactions in the child must not be 
- Conceit, smugness, or an unwarranted sense of superiority over others less 
fortunate may not be presented as laudable 
- Recklessness and abandon must not be falsely identified with a healthy 
spirit of adventure 
- Unfair exploitation of others for personal gain must not be made 
- Dishonesty and deceit are not to be made appealing or attractive to the 

1941 WSRR 1400 begins as Stamford's first station, later becoming WSTC

1946-1949 Smaller cities in Connecticut get own stations, Greenwich, Norwalk,
Danbury, Torrington, Bristol, New Britain, Meriden, Middletown and

1947 Don Russell signs on Fairfield County's first FM station, WSTC-FM 96.7
Stamford (in 1950s Russell will be announcer for Jackie Gleason Show and
anchor Dumont Television Network's Army-McCarthy hearings)

1947 WBIB 100.7 New Haven signs on, becoming Connecticut's first FM
"stand-alone" station with no AM sister; WBIB will shut down in 195 WBIB was owned by Sol Chain, publisher of New Haven Info magazine 4.

1947 Weekly Bridgeport Herald announces plans for WITE-FM 97.5 Bridgeport,
which will provide faxes of updated newspaper pages to special receivers in
homes, hotels and other public locations; system is put into operation at
Philadelphia Inquirer and Miami Herald but does not actually begin in

1947 WNLC-FM 99.5 New London with 20,000 watts signs on, first FM east of the
Connecticut River

1947 WLCR 990 Torrington signs on as Litchfield County's first radio station,
operating until 1964. The 990 channel is then assigned to Southington where
the Rice family launches WNTY (now WXCT) in 1969
1947 Allocation of TV Channels For Connecticut:

channel 1 Bridgeport (applied for by WICC-AM 600)

channel 3 Springfield, Massachusetts
channel 6 New Haven WNHC-TV
channels 8 and 10 Hartford (applicants include WTIC and WDRC AM-FM Hartford)
channel 12 Waterbury (applicants include WELI 960/107.9 New Haven and WBRY
1590 Waterbury) (in 1948 channel 1 is taken away from TV and reassigned to military services, and a freeze is placed on all TV station applications because of interference
between existing stations in the air)

1948 WNHC-TV channel 6 New Haven, New Haven's Window On The World, begins as
Connecticut's first TV station and New England's second station; daily
newspapers in New Haven and Hartford carry no accounts of it

1948 William Shirer, CBS correspondent who covered surrender of France to the
Nazis live on CBS in 1940, living in Torrington, assembling his book
"Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich" and is interviewed several times by Peg
Graham on WTOR 1490 Torrington (now WSNG 610)

1948 WGCH 95.9 Greenwich begins as first FM stand-alone station in Fairfield
County, and will broadcast until shutting down in 1952
1948 Rural Radio Network, first fulltime FM format for farmers and
agricultural interests, begins on WKNB-FM 103.7 New Britain and WLAD-FM 98.3

1948 Connecticut has 13 FM stations on the air, including 5 which will
survive: WSTC-FM 96.7Stamford, WNHC-FM 99.1 New Haven, WMMW-FM 95.7 Meriden, WDRC-FM 93.7 Hartford and WTIC-FM 96.5 Hartford. Eight will not survive:
WAVZ-FM 95.1, WBIB 100.7, and WELI-FM 107.9 all in New Haven, WNLC-FM 99.5 New London, WKNB-FM 103.7 New Britain and WTHT-FM 106.1 of the Hartford Times
1948 WFIR Danbury, owned by Fairfield Broadcasting Co., holds CP for strong AM and FM station, 550 on the AM dial with 1,000 day and 500 watts, directional at night, and 94.5 FM with 20,000 watts. WFIR AM-FM was never built and no one ever took its excellent frequencies. The AM channel 550 would later be taken by a new station in the 1950s in Providence-Pawtucket RI
1948 FM table of assignments (in effect until 1958 - table only includes
Class B channels, with 20,000 watts at 500 feet antennas,; class A FM stations,
then 1,000 watts with 250 foot antennas, are not assigned, but shoe-horned in,
usually in suburban areas. All 3 Class A FMs in Connecticut are in Fairfield
County: WGCH 95.9 Greenwich, WSTC-FM 96.7 Stamford and WLAD-FM 98.3
Danbury)1948 table was allowed to expire in 1958:
Bridgeport 97.5, 99.9, 101.5
Danbury 94.5
Hartford 93.7, 96.5, 102.9, 106.1, 106.9
Meriden 95.7
New Haven 95.1, 99.1, 100.7, 107.9
New London 99.5, 101.1, 106.5
Waterbury 92.5, 102.5, 105.3

December 31, 1948, all FM stations in old FM band 42-50 mHz must vacate and
move to new 88-108 mHz band; WMNE 100.5 Mount Washington, New Hampshire owned by Yankee Network, shuts down permanently and does not move to 100.5 (Mount
Washington would be without FM for a decade, until 1958, when WMTW-FM 94.9,
sister to WMTW-TV channel 8, begins. Today the FM station is WHOM 94.9)

Both low-band pre-World War II Connecticut FM stations, both from Hartford, operated by WDRC and WTIC, move from low band to high band, WDRC-FM to 93.7 and WTIC-FM to 96.5.

1949 Ed Coleman becomes first black disc jockey in Bridgeport, on WLIZ 1300,
and possibly the first in Connecticut, playing "subdued" bop

1949 WAVZ 1260 AM and 95.1 FM New Haven feature "Newspaper Of The Air"
segments, very early forerunner of all-news concept

1949 First UHF television broadcasts in the world are conducted in Stratford,
to test the viability of UHF for television broadcasting, station KC2XAK
operated by RCA, and simulcasting NBC's channel 4 in New York city.
Transmitter on Success Hill in northwest Stratford
1950s Putnam, Willimantic, Groton, Old Saybrook, Manchester and Ansonia all
get their own radio stations

1950 WHAY 910 New Britain signs on, and is then acquired by DeDominicis family
and has an all-Italian format most of the day during the 1950s and 1960s (now

1952 Bob Crane is host at WBIS 1440 Bristol (now WPRX 1120), then joins WICC
600 Bridgeport as long-time morning host; will later star in CBS-TV's "Hogan's

1952 First UHF transmitter in Stratford is sold to Portland, Oregon's KPTV
channel 27 and is trucked to Oregon in pre-interstate highway America. The
truck is lost track of several times but successfully completes the trip. This
enables KPTV to become the first commercial UHF station in the world, signing
on in September 1952, thus giving it a 4 month jump on other early UHF
stations in the United States which sign on starting in December 1952, when
manufactured transmitters first become available.
1952 FCC releases table of assignments for TV which include for the first
time channels reserved for education, and UHBF channels, 14 through 83:

Connecticut receives 2 VHF commercial stations, channel 3 Hartford and

WNHC-TV channel 8 New Haven. UHF commercial channels are assigned to Stamford,
Bridgeport, New Haven, Waterbury, Meriden, New Britain, Hartford, Norwich and
New London, and non-commercial educational UHF channels in Bridgeport,
Hartford and Norwich

1953 WKNB-TV channel 30 New Britain begins as Connecticut's 2nd TV station,
first station in Hartford County, and ends WNHC-TV's nearly 5 year monopoly
status as Connecticut's only TV station. Channel 30 is a CBS affiliate.

1953 WICC-TV channel 43 Bridgeport begins as Fairfield County's first TV
station and Connecticut's 3rd station. It is an ABC and Dumont affiliate

1953 WATR-TV channel 53 Waterbury begins as Waterbury's first TV station and
state's 4th station. It is an ABC affiliate

1953 WDRC 1360 and WDRC-FM 93.7 broadcasting stereo of certain programs, with
AM and FM signals used as left and right channels

1953 WPCT 1350 Putnam goes on the air as northeast Connecticut's first radio
station (now WINY)

1954 WGTH-TV channel 18 Hartford begins as state's 5th TV station, and is an
ABC and Dumont affiliate. Channel 30 runs ad in Hartford Courant with a
friendly welcome to channel 18

1954 WNHC-TV switches from channel 6 to channel 8, broadcasting on both
channels for several days

1954 WICC-TV channel 43 has regular variety program "This "N That" hosted by
Dick Alexander, a very early regularly scheduled television program with a
black host

1954 Low point of FM. Only 5 of Connecticut's original 13 FM stations are on
the air, and survive; it is this year that the inventor of FM, Major Edwin
Armstrong took his own life, upset that because of corporate connivance and legal warefare against him, FM was unfairly forced into (at least temporary) financial failure. The Armstrong estate would win his legal cases in 1962, and FM would succeed beyond anyone's wildest dreams in the 1970s and 1980s

1955 Connecticut Broadcasters Association (CBA) founded - A group of broadcasters gathered at the studios of WNHC-AM/FM/TV in New Haven.  Following a movement by broadcasters in Ohio, it was quickly agreed that there was a need for a statewide trade organization to represent and advance the common interests of Connecticut’s broadcasters.  WNHC-TV GM Howard Maschmeier hosted the meeting.  Among those in attendance were John Ellinger, then with WNAB Bridgeport (currently GM of WJMJ Bloomfield);  Jim Stoltz, owner of WNLK Norwalk; Julian Schwartz, GM of WSTC Stamford; Max Ryder, WBRY Waterbury;  and Paul Morency, President and GM of WTIC Hartford.  Ryder was elected the first president of CBA.

1956 CBA Incorporated

1956 WELI 960 New Haven introduces Saturday Night Juke Box, with Carl Loucks,
a very early rock and roll program in Connecticut

1956 When CBS and NBC decide to own UHF stations, they purchase channels 18
and 30 in Connecticut, operating them for several years. CBS's channel 18
becomes WHCT and channel 30 becomes WNBC, simultaneously standing for NBC and
New Britain, Connecticut (NBC's New York city stations have the call letters
WRCA AM-FM-TV during this time)

1956 WHUS 90.5 Storrs  begins at the University of Connecticut, state's first
FM station (today there are over 30 educational FM stations in Connecticut)

1956 WPOP 1410 Hartford broadcasts Hound Dog evenings, very early rock and
roll program in Hartford

1956 The original WDRC-FM is sold to the Concert Network and becomes WHCN (the
current WDRC-FM 102.9 begins in 1959)
1956 NBC takes over channel 30 Hartford. At the time, NBC has a policy that any males hired for jobs at NBC be married to a woman. It was felt this requirement would bring more responsible employees

1956 NBC also acquires WKNB-AM 840, a 1,000 watt daytimer, but retains its radio affiliation with Travelers' 50,000 watt clear channel station WTIC 1080. WKNB is promoted as "A Service Of RCA". WKNB-FM 103.7 is long gone by this time, having gone dark and surrendered its license at the start of the decade

Starting In 1957: FM channels abandoned by stations having gone off air are
reoccupied by new tenants in new cities:
95.1 WAVZ 95.1, off 1950, replaced by WGHF (now WRKI) Brookfield, on-air in
95.9 WGCH 95.9 Greenwich, off 1952, replaced by WDRN (now WFOX) Norwalk, on
air in 1965
99.5 WNLC-FM New London, never reassigned because of short spacing to WBAI
99.5 NYC and WLLH-FM 99.5 Lowell MA
100.7 WBIB New Haven, off 1954, replaced by WLNA-FM (now WHUD) 100.7
Peekskill, Westchester county, NY, on air 1958
103.7 WKNB-FM 103.7 New Britain off in 1950, replaced by WERI-FM (now
103.7 Westerly RI, on air 1968
106.1 WTHT-FM Hartford, off 19050, replaced by WPAC-FM (now WBL:I) Patchogue,
Long Island, on air in 1957
107.9 WELI-FM New Haven, off 1953, replaced by WMMM-FM (now WEBE) Westport,
on air in 1962

1957 WTIC-TV channel 3 Hartford begins, after proposals to make channel 3
educational in Hartford or move it to New London or Westerly, R.I. are
1957 WGHF 95.1 Brookfield begins as Fairfield County's first high power 20,000
watt FM station and begins testing the modern-day system of FM stereo
broadcasting, using a single station and a single stereo receiver; this system
- multiplex stereo -  is approved for use by FM stations starting in 1961 as
one way to give a boost to FM radio.

1958: Legendary disc jockey Dan Ingram who was top rated dj at WABC 770 NYC for 22 years, is dj at WICC 600 Bridgeport and WNHC AM 1340 and FM 99.1 New Haven.
November 1958: After 14 months as an independent with top ratings, WTIC-TV channel 3 Hartford becomes a CBS affiliate. CBS sells its WHCT channel 18, which becomes an independent
1959 WICC 600 goes rock in its music format, surprising staid Fairfield
County, and also becomes a top news and information station. WICC employs a
man to sit at the Greenwich train station and watch the trains come in, for
accurate train reports, and introduces a weekend weather boat on Long Island
Sound, one of the first two in the nation, the other being in Seattle (WMMM
1260, Westport, WELI 960 New Haven and WNLC 1510 New London later have boats
on Long Island Sound. WICC subsequently introduces airplane reporter - Morgan
Kaolian - for weekend reports and for traffic during the week) 

1959 Yale University's WYBC-FM 94.3 New Haven signs on and becomes the first
college station to operate commercially in Connecticut

1959 Buckley family acquires WDRC 1360 and 102.9 Hartford, early stations
along with Providence's WHIM; Buckley group evolves into major group of AM and
FM stations nationwide today, including clear channel 50,000 watt WOR in New
York city
1959 Sid Bernstein puts WMMM-AM 1260 Westport on the air, a 1,000 watt directional daytimer, giving Westport its first station. Call letters stand for Minute Man Monument in the town. Donald Flamm acquires WMMM in the early 1960s

1959 The Rice family buys WILI 1400 Willimantic and establishes a group of
radio stations in Connecticut noted for their strong community service. These
include WILI 1400 and WILI-FM 98.3 Willimantic, WINY 1350 Putnam, WNTY 990
Southington (now WXCT) and WLIS 1420 Old Saybrook. Pat Sheehan is among those
who started at WILI, and who goes on to be an icon in Connecticut TV News, and
WMRD 1150 owner Don DeCesare also was at WILI. Wayne Norman, known statewide
for his UConn basketball broadcasts, with WILI over 35 years.

1959 WFNQ 93.7 Hartford begins with all storecast music format, music for
supermarkets, operated weekdays 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 6
p.m. This format was on several other stations in the 1950s, but WFNQ has it
fulltime from 1959 to 1962. This service is called the "simplex" system of
using the main FM channel for supermarket music, and is replaced by multiplex
when these services are carried on FM sub carrier channels, requiring special

1959 A 1-hour television documentary called the New New Haven, produced by New Haven's WNHC-TV channel 8, is telecast nationwide on the ABC television network. It focuses on New Haven Mayor Richard C. Lee and his downtown rehabilitation program, a model later used by Mayor John Lindsay in New York City in the 1960s. 

1960 WDEE-AM 1220 Hamden CT, pays CBS $5,000 to allow it to operate WDEE-FM
101.3 Hamden CT, a Class B station, short-spaced to WCBS-FM 101.1 New York.
Stations will be only about 60 miles apart, compared to 105 miles required in
updated rules of 1963.

1960 WDRC 1360 and 20.9 Hartford split with CBS and go top 40

1960 WICC-TV channel 43 Bridgeport makes an offer 35 times a week: the first
person to call WICC-TV wins $100, and not a single viewer calls. Virtually no viewers have TV sets equipped with UHF, in the area. This is reported in Newsweek in an article entitled "Eyeballs Wanted"  and in other media. WICC-TV is trying to make a case to gain permission to move to the VHFband. WICC-TV is in an area covered by 9 VHF stations, and viewers must pay an additional $100 to have UHF on their sets. Also, WICC-TV is an ABC affiliate and there are 2 ABC affiliates on the VHF band, channel 7 in New York and
channel 8 in New Haven. WICC-TV has full listings in the New York edition of
TV Guide, the only station to have this, but it does not help. WICC-TV does
not get a VHF channel, but starting in 1964 all TV sets sold in the U.S. must be equipped with UHF. 

1960 WDRC 1360 ends CBS affiliation and goes rock fulltime, shocking the staid
in Hartford County. WDRC-FM 102.9 simulcasts this rock format, with WDRC
becoming one of the first fulltime rock stations in the northeast

1960 WJZZ 99.9 Bridgeport (now WEZN) signs on as an all - jazz station, with
jazz composer Dave Brubeck of Wilton as program director

1960s WINF 1230 Manchester is CBS for Hartford, with Connecticut's first all
talk format, which continues during most of the decade (station is now WKND)

1961 WATR-FM 92.5 Waterbury begins as Waterbury's first FM station; in a short
time it will broadcast live coverage of a major fatal tornado to strike
New 1962 WMMM-FM Westport comes on the air as a Class B FM station on 107.9 which is audible in York City. One reason the station is put on the air - it simulcasts WMMM-AM - so the owner, Donald Flamm, can hear WMMM at his Manhattan office

1962 Hartford's channel 3 almost becomes channel 76 because UHF stations cannot compete effectively with VHF, the number of channels in many markets were severely limited. For example, all the UHF stations in Reading, PA and Allentown-Bethlehem and Easton PA markets have gone dark, leaving no local stations,.
As a remedy the FCC Chairman Newton Minow asks Congress to pass law requiring all
TV sets sold in U.S. to be equipped with UHF. UHF tuners often cost $100
additional, in 1960 dollars, including installation of UHF antenna. When Congress drags its feet, FCC enacts de-intermixture program, assigning either all UHF or VHF stations to markets across the nation.

In Connecticut, Hartford's WTIC-TV channel 3 is to be reassigned to channel

76. This is to protect UHF stations in Hartford, New Britain, Waterbury and
Springfield. Channel 3 begins vigorous lobbying campaign and over-the-air
campaign inviting viewers to help save channel 3, warning they will lose all
reception if the station is forced to move.

Showing the FCC has teeth, it moves KERO channel 10 Bakersfield CA (NBC) to

channel 23 and KFRE-TV channel 12 Fresno CA (CBS) to channel 30.
Pre "freeze" VHF stations are exempted from being moved, since those stations
invested heavily in TV in the 1940s when it was still very risky.
Thus WNHC-TV channel 8 New Haven is unaffected by de-intermixture proposals.
In Peoria and in Springfield, Illinois, channels 2 and 8 respectively are moved
out of the markets before the channels are ever activated.

Congress finally passes the all channel law requiring all TV sets sold in the U.S. must be equipped with UHF and it takes effect in 1964.

Many UHF stations which went dark, announce plans to resume telecasting. These
include Bridgeport ABC affiliate WICC-TV channel 43. In addition to the
all-channel law, the rise of cable TV greatly enhances UHF, both in viewership
and revenues.

A similar all channel FM law to require all radio receivers to have FM as

well as AM never passes in Congress, but FM prevails anyway, and becomes dominant.

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