Two: Time Line
The following is from a pamphlet entitled "TIME LINE FOR CONNECTICUT BROADCASTING" released in November, 2005 by the Connecticut Broadcaster's Association to commemorate their 50th anniversary. It is one of the only comprehensive lists of its kind that we are aware of, and serves only as a companion to the WWUH History documents elsewhere within this website.
Continued from "Time Line" -- Part One
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). 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. This is because virtually no viewer's home TV sets are 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 VHF band. WICC-TV is in an area covered by 9 VHF stations, and viewers must pan an additional $100 to have UHF on their sets. Also, WICC-TV is an ABC affiliate and there are two 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 section of the TV Guide, the only station to have this, but it does not help. WICC-TV does not get a VHF channel, but Congress acts and starting in 1964 all TV sets sold in the U.S. must be equipped with UHF. WDRC 1360 ends CBS affiliation and goes rock full-time, shocking the staid in Hartford County. WDRC-FM 102.9 simulcasts this rock format, with WDRC becoming one of the first full-time rock stations in the northeast. WJZZ 99.9 Bridgeport (now WEZN) signs on as an all-jazz station, with jazz composer Dave Brubeck of Wilton as program director.
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 Waterbury.
1962 WHCT channel 18 launches pay TV, with viewers choosing codes for movie and sporting telecasts on specially installed box atop the TV set. This is the fist pay TV station in the world and the general manager is Charles Osgood. WEDH channel 24 Hartford begins as the states first educational TV station. WRYM 840 New Britain, "Rhyme", becomes first all-beautiful music station in the state. WBMI 95.7 Hartford (now WKSS) and WGHF 95.1 (now WRKI) become first stations to broadcast in multiplex FM stereo, the first modern day system of stereo utilizing one station and one stereo receiver. WSCH 93.7 Hartford (now WZMX) is operated by the Hartford South Congregational Church as a public educational FM station with live broadcasts of the Hartford Symphony, and affiliated with the Eastern Educational Network (which also includes Riverside Church's WRVR 106.7 NYC and Boston's WGBH 89.7). This network is the forerunner of National Public Radio. The format on WSCH lasts 2 years. WMMM-FM 107.9 Westport (now WEBE) begins, with the licensing of WMMW-FM, all the available commercial FM stations in Fairfield, New Haven and Hartford counties are taken up, signaling the revival and dramatic turnaround for FM broadcasting.
1963 WPKN 88.1 Bridgeport begins at University of Bridgeport, as Fairfield County's first educational FM station. WPKN, now 89.5, evolves into major community and alternative programming station for the region, becoming a stand-alone station separate from the University of Bridgeport, after the university is acquired by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon in the early 1990s.
1964 WJZZ 99.9 (now WEZN) begins broadcasting Top 100, the 100 most popular classical works based on number of times performed live in concert halls, composer Leonard Bernstein of Fairfield helps compile the list.
1965 WFIF 1500 Milford begins at Connecticut's first country and western music station. (Later in the 1980s, WFIF adopted a religious format for southern Connecticut). Merv Griffin acquires WWCO 1240 Waterbury, the first station in a major national group he will build and expand.
1967 Educational/Public television comes to New London County with the opening of WEDN channel 53 Norwich, and to Fairfield County with the opening of WEDW channel 49 Bridgeport. Merv Griffin puts WWCO-FM 104.1 (now WPHH) on the air as the state's first FM station with a full time format of country and western music. The New England-wide Yankee Network closes down after 39 years; it offered many entertainment shows and in the 1960s was offering 10 minute newscasts every other hour, with several affiliates in Connecticut including WCCC 1290 and WCCC-FM 106.9 Hartford and WNLC 1510 New London.
1968 -- WWUH 91.3 West Hartford begins at the University of Hartford as the first stereo educational station in New England. Adopting the slogan "Public Alternative Radio" WWUH evolves into a major venue for alternative music and community affairs programming. "The Gothic Blimp Works" program is the first progressive rock program in the state (the program still exists today). WDRC 1360 and 102.9 Hartford introduces "The Scene of the Unheard", progressive album rock nightly program hosted by Ken Griffin, fist such show on commercial radio in Connecticut. WDEE-FM 101.3 Hamden (now WKCI) is sold for $50,000 showing FM still has not made it financially; 18 years later the same station will sell for $30 million. WICH-FM 97.7 Norwich (now WCTY) begins as first modern-day FM station in New London County and eastern Connecticut. WHCN 105.9 Hartford goes progressive rock flume, first flume commercial album rock station in the state.
1969 WLVH-FM 93.7 Hartford (now WZMX) becomes first minority owned station in Connecticut, with Hispanic ownership and full-time Spanish format that will be broadcast for 20 years. WKND 1480 Windsor adopts black urban format, first in state, later becoming first black owned station in Connecticut (WKND call letters and format are now on 1230 Manchester, and 1480 is occupied by WNEZ with all gospel format). WIHS 104.9 Middletown begins, and becomes first all religious station in Connecticut.
1971 WPLR 99.1 New Haven (formally WNLC-FM) becomes first progressive rock FM station in southern Connecticut.
1972 First cable television subscriber in Connecticut is hooked up, in Danbury.
1973 CRN, the Connecticut Radio Network, begins. 1974 WNHC 1340 New Haven begins morning all-news program, first in state. WTIC-TV channel 3 Hartford is sold to the Washington Post for $34 million and becomes WFSB-TV (named for Frederick S. Beebe, the Washington Post attorney who negotiated the sale with former owner Travelers Insurance).
1975 WPOP 1410 Hartford goes all news, the fist all news station in Connecticut.
1976 WJMJ 88.9 Hartford, is put on the air by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford, one of the only diocese-owned stations in the station.
1978 WDJZ 1530 Bridgeport begins, with Music of Your Life format, which is created here by Al Ham; his is the first modern-day nostalgia music station. WOMN 1220 Hamden (now WQUN) starts new format as "Woman" with format devoted to women's features and news, and music that precludes songs with sexist lyrics. Connecticut Public Radio goes on the air after a channel (90.5) is found by CPTV's head Paul K. Taft. The station's call letters (WPBH) are subsequently changed to WPKT to honor Paul. Satellite stations WNPR 89.9 Norwich and WEDW-FM 88.5 Stamford are added later to the CPR chain.
1979 ESPN, the Entertainment, Sports and Programming Network begins, from facilities in Bristol. Howard Stern joins WCCC 1290 and WCCC-FM 106.9 as a local DJ, early in his career; later his national show will be carried on his old alma mater WCCC.
1980 Faith Middleton begins her popular talk show on Connecticut Public Radio, a show which continues to this day.
1982 Satellite News Channel, all news Cable TV channel operated by ABC and Westinghouse, opens in Stratford. In 1983 it is sold to Ted Turner who folds it, merging it into Cable News Network, CNN. WATR-TV channel 20 Waterbury is sold and becomes WTXX channel 20. major independent statewide TV station. Keith Brown begins weekly Gay Spirit show on WWUH 91.3 West Hartford, oldest all gay show in Connecticut that continues to this day.
1983 WMNR 88.1 Monroe begins yearly broadcasting of Boston Symphony Orchestra Tanglewood concerts live, on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons, these broadcasts continue to this day. American Comedy Network, created by Dick Ferguson, providing comedy bits to hundreds of stations nationwide, begins in Bridgeport at WEZN 99.9. WEZN and New City group of radio stations create first in-house radio sales training division for the entire group of stations, headed by Steven Marx, with first national conference held the following years in Southbury.
1984 WTIC-TV channel 61 Hartford begins, becoming charter affiliate of Fox Network when Fox opens in 1986. President Jimmy Carter is special guest and Eddie Albert is the master of ceremonies for the opening night telecast. FCC releases Docket 80-90 ruling, which creates thousands of new FM channels nationally. Connecticut gets 7 new channels that will ultimately become WQQQ 103.3 Sharon, WKZE 98.1 Sharon (sister to WKZE 1020), WZBG 97.3 Litchfield, WPKX 97.9 Enfield, WNLC 98.7 East Lyme, WBMW 106.5 Ledyard and WWRX 107.7 Pawcatuck. 1985 WMMM 1260 goes all comedy for a time.
1986 WTNH-TV channel 8 is sold for $170 million. WTWS (now WHPX) channel 26 begins as first commercial TV station in New London County. In the 1990s this station become WHPX, the Pax Network affiliate for Connecticut. W13BF channel 13 in Hartford begins as Connecticut's first Low Power TV station, originating own programming; station's efforts enable it to win carriage on several cable TV systems in CT, through cable systems are not required to carry LPTV signals.
1987 WBCT channel 43 Bridgeport (now WSAH) is telecasting as nationals first woman-controlled TV stations headed by the late Laurel Vlock of Woodbridge.
1988 WMMM 1260 Westport, WXCT 1220 Hamden, WFNW 1380 Naugatuck and WLVH 1290 Manchester all have all-business formats, but format does not survive. WFNW 1380 goes on to be all Portuguese station during the 1990s and to this day.
1989 WCUM 1450 Bridgeport becomes first all Spanish station in Fairfield County. WMMW 1470 Meriden broadcasts all-motivational format for a time. W28AJ channel 28 West Haven becomes first low power TV station in Southern Connecticut originating own programming. WLVH 93.7 (now WZMX) broadcasts all-weather format, the NOAA public service band all weather station, for about a year while legal details of sale of WLVH are worked out by attorneys.
1991 Michael Harrison, who in 1990 founded Talkers magazine, the bible of talk radio today, hosts talk show on WTIC 1080 Hartford, helping WTIC transform from music station to talk-news station.
1992 Barney is introduced to PBS after being discovered by CPTV programming VP Larry Rifkin on a video rented from the Prospect, CT Video Store on Super Bowl Sunday. He sees the love his four year old daughter has for Barney, and brings Barney to television on PBS. ESPN radio network is launched, in Bristol.
1993 WVIT channel 30 begins nightly 10 p.m. newscast telecast on another channel, rather than its own. The WVIT newscast is telecast on WTXX channel 20, one of the first such arrangements in the nation. WCNX 1150 Middletown (now WMRD) begins all-traffic format in December, just before beginning of what will turn out to be the snowiest winter in Hartford since weather records have been kept.
1994 Play-by-Play telecasting of the University of Connecticut women's basketball is introduced on CPTV and UConn Women's Basketball becomes the highest rated program in public television history nationally.
1995 WTVU channel 59 New Haven begins telecasting after holding an FCC Construction Permit for 42 years. The original CP was granted in 1953. The station begins with a Lease Marketing Agreement with WTHX channel 8. The initial broadcasts include daily wall-to-wall coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial, relayed by satellite from KTLA channel 5 in L.A.
1996 Telecommunications Act of 1996 is passed, allowing one company to own as many as 8 stations in large markets, and a wave of consolidation of ownership begins. These clusters are formed in Connecticut by the early and mid 2000s: -Clear Channel Communications owns WWYZ 92.5, WKSS 95.7, WPKS 97.9, WKCI 101.3, WPHH 104.1, WHCN 105.9 and on AM WAVZ 1300 and WELI 960 in New Haven and in Hartford WPOP 1410. -Cumulus owns WEBE 107.9 Westport, WICC 600 Bridgeport, WRKI 95.1 Brookfield and WINE 940 Brookfield. -Infinity owns WTIC 1080, WTIC-FM 96.5, WZMX 93.7 and WRCH 100.5. -Cox owns WPLR 99.1 New Haven, WEZN 99.9 Bridgeport, WEFX 95.9 and WNLK 1350 Norwalk and WKHL 96.7 and WSTC 1400 Stamford. -Hall owns WCTY 97.7 Norwich, WNLC 98.7 Easy Lyme, WKNL 100.9 New London, WICH 1310 Norwich, and WILI 1400 and WILI-FM 98.3. -Citadel owns WSUB 980 Groton, WXLM 102.3 Mystic, WQGN 105.5 Groton and WMOS 104.7 Montauk, Long Island which is marketed as New London. 1996/1997/1998 WDRC 1360 and owner Buckley Broadcasting acquire 3 AM stations and set up a statewide network of AM stations, WDRC 1360, WSNG 610, WWCO 1240 Waterbury and WMMW 1470 Meriden. This provided a wider coverage area and wider audience for one of the best known morning drive talk hosts-Brad Davis, familiar to the 1960s generation as the host of the TV bandstand show on Channel 3's "The Brad Davis Show". WADS 690 Ansonia becomes Radio Amor, first all Spanish religious station in Connecticut.
1997 WHCT channel 18 Hartford, dark since 1991, resumes telecasting and resumes Connecticut's first full power all Spanish TV channel, WUVN. WVIT channel 30 is transferred to NBC, making is an NBC owned and operated station again, channel 30 had been an NBC O&O from 1956 - 1959. WMMM 1260 Westport is transferred to Sacred Heart University and becomes first NPR talk AM station in Connecticut. In 2000 the call letters are changed to WSHU-AM. WFSB channel 3 is transferred by Post Newsweek to Meredith Broadcasting. WPOP 1410 becomes ESPN affiliate full time, and becomes Connecticut's first all sports radio station. Quinnipiac University launches WQUN 1220 Hamden, Connecticut's first university owned commercial AM community radio station, the idea is conceived by veteran New York anchor Lou Adler, now associate professor at the university. WQUN serves as a lab for students and a service to the community. WTIC 1080's veteran news director, Walt Dibble, who was the dean of Connecticut radio newsmen, dies; Associated Press established a special annual news award with his name, honoring him. Walt is the only broadcast journalist on the list of the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists Hall of Fame; earlier in his career he was at WDRC, Hartford, WAVZ New Haven and WICC and WICC-TV Bridgeport.
1998 WTNH channel 8 begins High Definition telecasts on WTHN-HD channel 10., It is the first in Connecticut. By the mid 2000s, most full power Connecticut TV stations are broadcasting in HDTV as well as analog, and all stations have their HDTV channel assignments.
1999 Keith Kountz becomes the first black person to become primary anchor of evening news on a TV station in Connecticut: WTNH channel 8. WEBE 107.9 Westport and WICC 600 Bridgeport are sold to Aurora Communications for an incredible $66 million.
2000 WDZK 1550 Hartford is transferred to Disney Radio and becomes the first children's format radio station in Connecticut.
2001 WTXX channel 20 and WCTX channel 59 swap networks: channel 20 becomes the WB affiliate and channel 59 becomes the UPN affiliate. On channel 59, a new 10 p.m. newscast with the channel 8 news department is created.
2002 Amber Alert system begins operation, coordinated by the Connecticut Broadcasters Association, in which all radio and TV stations in Connecticut can broadcast special emergency announcements in the event of an abduction of a child, and the lift of the child is in danger. Bob Steele dies. He had joined WTIC radio in 1936 and became the dominant morning host in CT. In the 1970s Bob Steele had more listeners than any station in Los Angeles. In recent years he continued to broadcast on WTIC 1080, on the first Saturday morning of every month.
2003 WGCH 1490 Greenwich is sold and becomes the flagship station in the Business Talk Radio Network. WFSB channel 3 Hartford acquires Low Power TV channel 67 in Springfield, MA which becomes WSHM-LP, and this station, carried on western Massachusetts cable systems, carries local advertising, and in September 2005 started carrying local newscasts for western Massachusetts.
2004 WAVZ 1300 New Haven starts broadcasting liberal talk radio, with the Air America radio network. It is the first liberal talk station in Connecticut.
2005 WSUB 980 Groton goes all Spanish, becoming the first all Spanish station in the New London market. WINE 940 joins ESPN becoming the first all sports station in Fairfield County. WTMI 1290 W. Hartford, all classical, becomes the first HD AM radio station in Connecticut; on FM in 2005, these stations are broadcasting in HD: WWYZ 92.5, WKSS 95.7, WPKX 97.9, WPLR 99.1, WEZN 99.9, WKCI 101.3, WPHH 104.1, WQGN 105.5, WHCN 105.9 and WCCC 106.9. WFSB channel 3 announces plans to leave Constitution Plaza in downtown Hartford and build a new complex in Rocky Hill.