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.