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John Saville, WWYZ “Country 92.5” Waterbury/Hartford | March 21, 1989

From the Steve West collection comes this 23 year old tape just found in an old box. Honestly, I forgot that I even recorded this.

Here’s John Saville on his former night shift on Country 92.5, about six months after the station flipped to Country from AC. The station is using its original jingle package, one that I’ve been looking for for many years unsuccessfully.

Frankly, I’m amazed at how old this sounds. I was a huge fan of this station from the day it launched and I don’t remember there being a log of gold cuts in rotation, but this aircheck clearly shows two things: First, Country music, while only three years away from mainstream with artists such as Garth Brooks and Clint Black dominating the Country charts in ’92, was still playing many artists that were popular in the 70s and early 80s. Country really went a long way in three years to modernize itself. Second, WWYZ indeed did play a fair amount of Gold in rotation after launching. I can only speculate that perhaps it was partly due to a lack of product in the early days of the then new format, or it was by design, as in 1989, WWYZ had a virtual monopoly on the format. Country music was dead as a doornail in New England back in those days, and there was much resistance built up to the country ‘twang’. It’s possible that by playing a fair amount of familiar songs in rotation along with new music, WWYZ hoped to capture part of the AC audience which was by then being fractured by former Beautiful Music formatted stations going AC. All this is speculation by me, except the part about an entrenched disdain for Country music in New England. In 1989, as I recall, the only Country stations were WWYZ, WOKQ Portsmouth NH, WPOR in Portland ME and a couple of low powered stations in VT.

Comments and corrections are cordially invited.

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  1. Country stations in New England in 1989 included:

    97.7 WCAV-FM Brockton, just outside Boston, which ran country from 1983-1999.

    98.1 WCTK New Bedford/Providence flipped from AC to country in July 1989.

    97.7 WCTY Norwich, CT was country as early as 1981, and is to this day.

    1600 WIXY East Longmeadow/Springfield, MA: Country from 1981-1991, now WHNP

    Close Call Awards:

    WOKO Burlington, VT: April 1990
    WPKX Springfield, MA: May 1991


    • Zach, I was trying to think of WCAV’s calls when I wrote that. Still, 98.1 was AC WMYS for many years and it seemed like it was later that they changed. Thanks for the correction. WIXY Country 16… I shouldn’t have forgotten about that one, WAQY’s AM. They ‘stole’ the calls from Cleveland’s great AM Top 40 when they finally ditched the format. And, WPKX. I remember the day they came on the air. WWLP 22 did a special feature of them during their 6pm newscast the day they took to the air. We’re fast approaching the end date for WPKX on 97.9 as that station is scheduled to move to 100.9 and 97.9 is supposed to go all-Sports very soon. That’s a no-brainer, with Clear Channel owning both WPKX and WWYZ these days. Great response, thanks!


  2. No problem! A clarification on my earlier post, I spoke to Jim Reed and the launch date for WCTY Norwich was actually 1974, when it broke off from simulcasting sister station WICH as WICH-FM.


  3. I just thought of two more from 1989:

    WJJF Hope Valley, RI: Daytime only, was John Fuller’s first radio station, and was country from 1985 until sometime in 2002-2003.

    WHIM East Providence, RI: Country from 1966 until 1991, it was pretty much killed off by the arrival of Cat Country 98.1 WCTK.


  4. The jingles are from one or more of the JAM KUSA packages. I was at least able to ID the weather bed as from “America’s Country.” There were 3 packages from KUSA, so they could be a composite of all of them, since I’m having trouble matching the others with that package.


  5. I never met John, but he has a wonderful voice, we did speak 🙂


  6. Mary, John Saville is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met in this business. He is very passionate about country music, radio and physical fitness. I think he still works as a trainer in Branford, CT if you ever wanted to meet him.


  7. During high school and college, I helped out off-and-on at WWYZ as a promo kid (’90-’97), then an occasional overnight/weekend/holiday fill-in jock (’96-’98) and in local sales (’97-98) before moving to AC 95.7 WZID (Manchester, NH) — where I still am today, playing 80’s on Saturday nights and working for parent Saga on companywide interactive efforts.

    While I do not have a copy of the original WWYZ jingle package, I do have a handful of the packages from the 90’s. Station sounded so good those days. And John was responsible for the musical direction of the station during those early years in the 90’s when he created what country music was for Connecticut.

    Country 92.5 was an amazing station. John Saville was one of my early mentors. Taught me to be passionate about what you do. Have fun, enjoy the ride. Talk with listeners – they are real people. Be conversational… and play great music.


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