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From the archives of John “Cadillac” Saville, who was the WDRC-FM Morning Man during the mid-2000s, this is the complete 35th Anniversary Reunion Broadcast from WDRC AM/FM held over the weekend of August 19 & 20, 1995. The 35th Anniversary ostensibly refers to the date of the start of the Top 40 format at WDRC (AM) 1360 Hartford, which from the mid-1980s through the early 2000s was remembered on the FM side in its Oldies incarnation as “Big D 103”.
HartfordRadioHistory.com describes early WDRC this way:
WDRC (AM) was the first station in Connecticut. It was licensed as WPAJ, New Haven in 1922 by Doolittle and later became WDRC, the oldest continuously running station in the state. The first studios were at 817 Chapel Street in New Haven. Later WDRC moved into the Taft Hotel.
Contributor Robert Paine: “What I’ve read from the Courant and, perhaps The Times, is that CBS wanted the station to move to Hartford to fill in the gap between Springfield and New York City. I don’t know the details of the time line but the station did move fairly quickly. The signal coverage tests, etc., took awhile but the physical move was apparently accomplished in somewhat less than (I think) two weeks. The New Haven studios, at the Hotel Taft, were closed and a lot of long days and nights were put in readying the studios and transmitter. I believe that not all the work was finished by the time the station signed on in early December.”
On October 4, 1930 WDRC petitioned the Commission to move the station to Hartford from New Haven. Owner Doolittle Radio Corporation had obtained an option for a lease for studio space on the third floor of the Corning Building at 11 Asylum St. in Hartford. In addition they had arranged to purchase several acres of land at 783 Blue Hills Ave. from Mrs. G.J. Maher for the transmitter site. Previously they had conducted a transmission test from the Bloomfield site with satisfactory results. A newspaper article about the planned move stated that a 500 watt transmitter would be installed and that new equipment would cost at least $50,000.
On December 6, 1935 WDRC Celebrated its five year anniversary by announcing the lease of the entire sixteenth floor of the Hartford-Connecticut Trust Building on Main St.
May 10, 1936 was the date of the formal opening of the new WDRC studio facility at 750 Main Street in Hartford. The culmination of two years rebuilding and replacement plan encompassing WDRC’s studio, transmitter and antenna. In October 1934 construction of the new WDRC Bloomfield transmitter building and tower began. In December, 1935 the station began to broadcast from Bloomfield. At the time the Executive staff included Walter Haas, Secretary and studio director, William Malo, sales manager, Italo A. Martino, VP and CE, Robert Provan and Harvey Olson, announcers and Stirling B. Couch, program director.
WDRC moved to Hartford in November 1930. On or about Dec. 5, 1930, it signed on from new studios in the Corning Building at 11 Asylum Street (the same building used by WCCC in the sixties and seventies). The CT State Register in 1931 has WDRC, owned by the Doolittle Radio Corp, operating on 1330 KHz with 500 watts.
WDRC was purchased by Buckley Broadcasting in 1959. Several months later, in 1960, the station launched its heritage Top 40 format.
This series of airchecks takes a look back at the Deejays, Newsmen and the music & format of the Top 40 era of AM 1360. Ironically, this was simulcast on Oldies WDRC-FM 102.9, known at the time as “Big D 103”. Rather than writing a complete history of the Top 40 years, it’s best if you just listen to the entire weekend, or select portions of it using the player at the top of this page.
Contributor John Saville has been selected as Connecticut’s best wedding DJ for several years in a row but the state’s largest dj and wedding trades. He is a longtime broadcaster working for iHeart Media’s WWYZ “Country 92-5”, “The River 105-9” WHCN and WKSS “Kiss 95-7”. Caddyman was recently interviewed by Dennis House on WTNH NewsChannel 8’s “Connecticut Style” magazine. You can watch the video below