Wednesday, February 10, 2016

February 10 Radio History

In 1925...WTIC-AM in Hartford, CT signed-on.

WTIC AM dates back to 1925 when it came on the air with 500 watts of power from the 6th floor of the Travelers 26 Grove St bulding in Hartford where there were seven studios, most or all with control rooms. The station was licensed to the Travelers Insurance Company ("TIC") and had studios in downtown Hartford.

The 1931 CT State Register shows WTIC, owned by Travelers Broadcasting Service, operating on 1060 Khz with 50,000 watts, the most powerful station in the state.  The transmitter, referred to as "old number one" was the first 50,000 watt transmitter ever manufactured by RCA and has serial number 001. This RCA 50 transmitter was the first high power commercial transmitter to use 100-kilowatt tubes, the first to use mercury-vapor type rectifiers throughout, and the first capable of true 100 percent modulation of its full rated 50-kilowatt carrier output.

By 1941 they had changed frequency to 1080 khz.  WTIC is now owned by CBS Radio.

Bob Steele
WTIC is known for its historic time tone, which is a broadcast of the Morse code letter "V" every hour on the hour since 1943. This makes it one of the oldest continuously broadcasting radio time tones in the world. WTIC employs a GPS master clock system that fires the custom-built time-tone generator shortly before the top of the hour, timed such that the final tone of the sequence occurs precisely on the hour (Even though everything else heard on the station is on a 10-second delay), and listeners have been setting their watches to WTIC for many years. The notes of the sequence were pitched to mimic the famous opening sequence of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, whose "short-short-short-long" rhythm matches that of the Morse code letter "V". The Morse code letter "V" for Victory was selected during the height of WWII.

WTIC's best-known personality was Bob Steele, who started with the station in 1936 and stayed with WTIC for his entire sixty-six year career, ending with his death on December 6, 2002 at the age of 91.

Steele continued to broadcast a 5:30 - 10:00 AM Monday-Saturday morning show for WTIC for fifty-five years, scaling back to Saturdays only after September 1991; by the time of his last broadcast in November 2002, he was only heard on the first Saturday morning of every month. Despite WTIC's various format changes over the years, Steele's show (which featured musical standards, farm news and prices early in the morning, novelty songs, silly jokes, horrible puns ("...and the weather for Mexico City is chili today, hot tamale") and a regular "Word of the Day" segment - even long after WTIC itself had abandoned music for a focus on news/talk remained unchanged throughout its run, making it perhaps the longest-running radio program in history to have never undergone a significant format change.

In 1959...Link Wray performed his controversial instrumental "Rumble" on ABC-TV's "American Bandstand." Many radio stations had refused to play the record only because of the danger implied in its title.

In singer, Lionel Cartwright Ohio, was born. He was famous for the song "I Watched it on the Radio".

In 1964...Johnny Holliday starts at 1010 WINS

In 1989…Hockey broadcaster Dan Kelly, best known for his radio play-by-play coverage of the St. Louis Blues for more than two decades, died of lung cancer at 52.

In 1996...“The New” WKTU officially debuts at 103.5 FM.

After dropping its previous Country format, WYNY then began stunting on February 5 at 6am with a simulcast of WRCX/Chicago. On February 6, at 6 AM, the simulcasting switched to Mainstream Urban-formatted KKBT/Los Angeles. On February 7, at 6 AM, the simulcasting switched to Talk-formatted WLUP/Chicago. On February 8, at 6 AM, the simulcasting switched to AC-formatted KIOI/San Francisco. On February 9, from 6 AM to 6 PM, the simulcast switched to Alternative-leaning Top 40 WXKS-FM/Boston. At 6 PM, the simulcasting of sister stations ended.

On February 10, the station changed its call letters back to WKTU and returned to a dance-based CHR format; WKTU's first song was "Gonna Make You Sweat" by C&C Music Factory. The station instantly skyrocketed to number one in the Arbitron ratings, although in the decade since, they have cooled down considerably. Drag performer RuPaul co-hosted mornings with Michelle Visage, Lisa Taylor and Freddie Colon around this period, further helping their ratings. Sean "Hollywood" Hamilton and Goumba Johnny followed in mornings from 1998-1999.

By 2002, the moderate amount of rap played on the station was gone and the station evolved into more of a Hot Rhythmic AC.

In 2004...Rick Dees announced he was leaving the morning show at KIIS-FM, Los Angeles, after 22 years at its helm. (Video is from 2007.)

In 2015…"NBC Nightly News" managing editor and anchor Brian Williams was suspended by the network for six months without pay following an internal review of comments he made on the air about his experiences in the early days of the Iraq war. In June, NBC announced that Lester Holt would be the new anchor of "Nightly News" and Williams would transfer to the company's cable channel, MSNBC.

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