Bill Houston, 1380 WNAQ Naugatuck, CT | September 1, 1985
The Top 40 format at this station was the final local hit music format before a switch to Country, simulcast with WNEZ Manchester (CT), and then a change to a Business format that ultimately left the station with zero local advertising. Bill Houston was heard at WJDM Elizabeth NJ, WHLI Hempstead, NY out on Long Island and Paul Sidney’s legendary 92.1 WLNG Sag Harbor. We have airchecks of all three.
The history behind this small market station is still a bit unclear. According to hartfordradiohistory.com:
WOWW in Naugatuck started broadcasting as a daytime only station with an easy listening music format in the late 1950s.
WOWW-AM, originally on 860 khz, changed their frequency to 1380 and became a 24 hour station in 1968. It became WNVR (Naugatuck Valley Radio) in the late 1970s, then WNAQ, and is now Spanish language WFNW.
The quality of this recording is outstanding. In fact it’s so good, it may be the best AM stereo off-the-air recording ever made! The processing here was unique and this is what’s responsible for the great sound heard on this aircheck.
Again, from the hartfordradiohistory.com site:
The technical plant was improved concurrent with the sign-on: new board, six cart machines, processing, Sennheiser MD-421 microphones. Tom Osenkowsky served as CE for a period of time. Tom had 1380 sounding like an FM! That was the cleanest AM signal I ever heard. Part of the genius was to isolate the 421 from the rest of the audio chain. The 421 went into a UREI-LA-4A in the rack. Music was separately processed. The combination then went into a Durrough DAP 310.
One side note, however. The MUSIC indeed, does sound like an FM station. But the jock’s microphone does not. This is the only thing lacking, separate mic processing to bring up the dynamics.
This aircheck was recorded by our contributor, who has indexed all his recordings and burned most of the master copies to CD.
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR
Bob Gilmore is a professional engineer and has built several radio stations from the ground up. In fact, Bob Gilmore built the studios you see on ESPN!
Bob Gilmore hosts and roasts some of North America’s most celebrated broadcasters every few years at the end of the Summer. The “Tri-Annual Radio BBQ” is the highlight of the year for all of us. Last time he hosted it, he built a custom studio, installed a restored “Stereo Statesman” audio board (he did the restoration on that, too!), and broadcast the event on WRMI Shortwave along with the “Totally 70s Radio Network”.
Bob has been a contributor to Airchexx.com since 2012