Station: 102.9 WDRC-FM Hartford, Connecticut
Featured Air Personality: Ken Gilbert
Contributor: Ken Gilbert
Date of Contribution: 08.12.2016
Aircheck Entry: 1,430
“Every hour Music Means Money on Big D 103, Hartford’s Oldies Authority…”
Every great radio station gets it start somewhere. Some made an abrupt format change that caught listeners unaware. Others made a slow turn. WDRC-FM was the natural blossom of its highly successful AM sister station. 1360 WDRC had a number of slogans over the years, “You’re never far from a friend”, “Where Your Friends Are” WDRC, Hartford’s Big D” and such. Some personalities would go on to become very well known, such as Dick Robinson, who opened his own broadcast school. But this isn’t about WDRC (AM). It’s about the FM side.
WDRC-FM entered the CHR wars in 1980 in stiff competition with 96.5 WTIC-FM (96-Tics). Over time, however, DRC began throwing in a few more Oldies into the mix. Ken Gilbert says he was the one who started “Jukebox Saturday Night” one Saturday in 1983. Soon the whole station followed suit.
…I was lucky with Juke Box Saturday Night. I was allowed to play whatever I wanted to. I had a producer that basically screened phone calls, found 45’s out of the WDRC Music Library room that was normally LOCKED! I had access to it. My Producer, Ron Sedaille (hope I got that name spelled right.) He would answer the request lines and my decision was to pick people to go on the air that were either uptempo, long distance as in Long Island or upstate NY, were just plain drunk and having a pig roast etc. You’ll find a lot of that in the stash you have. I could always know while listening to an aircheck if it was indeed a 45. You could tell from the que burns or an occasional clicking sound. I would always talk over the intro to cover it up. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it was just plain obvious. Not only did I play what the listeners wanted but what I liked and actually got requests from kids as young as 12 years old, thinking it was a new song, like “Devil With A Blue Dress On” from Mitch Ryder. It was always a fast paced show and after the show, Ron and I would take the cassette out and bring it to my car so I could think of a better way to present it for the next show. A ton of hard work and dedication made this show, one that you mentioned in an earlier aircheck. JBSN was brought on by Rick Buckley who decided to use the show name after another show at that time in NYC with the same name. You’ll find more as you struggle through the 3 boxes of cassettes you now have to re-live my moments at The Big “D” in Hartford CT. This was a show that actually had higher ratings than any other stations in CT. On one book, I came in with a 40 share in Danbury’s OWN BOOK! I guess that says something. It was all an intregal part of music, talent, contest’s on air phone calls and the drive to make it sound the best possible.
5 thoughts on “Ken Gilbert, “Jukebox Saturday Night, 102.9 WDRC-FM Hartford | 1984”
WDRC AM-FM was such a great radio station for 55 years until the clowns of the present ownership bought it from the family of the late Rick Buckley. it’s now just another boring worthless album rock waste of electricity, the kind you can hear in small markets anywhere in the country.
These days Big D 103 is all classic rock as 102.9 The Whale! (Gags) Barf out man! Yo! Gag me with a spoon!
The Whale came about after a disasterous cost cutting move where all the then-Classic Hits version of DRC-FM DJs were let go. New owner Connesour (sp) Media ran the classic hits format, jingles and all, jockless. When the ratings came out, DRC had fallen so far that something had to be done. I guess their motto is “don’t mess with success”. They essentially cloned their flagship station WPLR and put their morning show, Chaz & AJ on all their Classic Rock FM stations. So much for variety (and diversity).
& The jingles too!
Jukebox Saturday Night was indeed a famous show in New York City. That program was on WNEW AM Eleven Three-Oh. The program theme song, in that case was “Jukebox Saturday Night” by Glenn Miller sung by Tex Beneke. If I recall correctly, the WNEW show was hosted by William B Williams and or Mark Simone. But I did wonder how Buckley managed to use that show name. Apparently, WNEW Owner Metromedia didn’t claim a trademark on the name.