WTIC Alumni Site

      In Memory of and Designed by Bill Clede

David Wilkinson wrote and produced “The Broadcaster at 40”. There was a three-hour program on Wednesday night of the anniversary week and on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday each night was scheduled a one-hour program, each program exploring ten years of TIC history.





This summary is courtesy of listener Robert Paine.

Notes from “The Broadcaster at 40” – Program 3.
 The Third Decade – 1945-1955. 

    The 1945 WTIC-Hartford Courant Mile O’ Dimes campaign exceeded its goal by 2-1/8 miles with a total of $64, 071.80.
    On April 12, at 5:45 p. m., WTIC was airing the NBC network children’s serial, “Front Page Farrell.” A short time after the day’s episode began, came a bulletin that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had died at Warm Springs in Georgia. Many special programs were broadcast, and WTIC presented many symphonic works appropriate to a period of national mourning.
    On April 16, 1945, the new President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, addressed the Congress. A short time later, a meeting was convened in San Francisco and from the gathering, came the organization known as the United Nations.

    On May 7, 1945, the voice of NBC reporter James Stephenson (sp?) interrupted regular broadcasting.
    “An Associated Press bulletin just received from Reims, France, reports that Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Western Allies and Russia at 2:41 this morning, French time. That would be 8:41 a. m., Eastern War Time. However, there has been no official announcement by the Allied Supreme headquarters or from any of the Allied capitals. This is expected at any time, however, and will doubtlessly come simultaneously from London, Washington and Moscow.”
    In Hartford, Mayor William Mortensen spoke to a community jubilant with the excitement of V-E Day and, on the network, H. V. Kaltenborn commented on the victory.
    Back on the home front, an intensive WTIC Farm Safety Campaign  won the station the prestigious National Safety Council’s first annual Farm Safety Week Contest.
    The war in the Pacific came to a swift end in August with the dropping of atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On the 6th,WTIC’s foreign affairs analyst, Prof. Andre Schenker interviewed Conrad Bacon (sp?) of Middletown, a graduate of Northeastern University who, at the Oak Ridge, Tennessee plant, had worked on the development of the new weapon.
    Japan offered to surrender, but with the proviso that the country would be allowed to keep Emperor Hirohito as monarch and spiritual leader. Announcers Bernard Mullins and Bob Steele interviewed Hartford area residents from Main Street, near the Old State House and the Isle of Safety. Opinions were on both sides of the issue whether to allow the stipulation or to continue prosecuting the war until Japan surrendered unconditionally. One thing all agreed upon was the desire for the war to come to an end as soon as possible, but only with complete victory.
    On the evening of August 14, NBC interrupted programming, and newscaster Morgan Beatty reported from the network’s Washington DC newsroom. Exactly four minutes earlier, the men and women of the news corps were called from the paper-littered press room in the West Wing into President Truman’s private office.
    In those days, there were no direct broadcast lines enabling a reporter to go on the air. An individual had either to speak to the newscaster, who then would repeat the information, while another ran to a pickup point at the White House gate or in nearby Lafayette Park. Or, the reporter would make the made dash to one of the two locations himself. Ralph Howard Peterson was the NBC representative. At the conclusion of the press conference, Peterson spoke to Harkness on a private telephone circuit.
    “Just a moment: ladies and gentlemen, the President has just announced full acceptance of the unconditional surrender terms submitted to us by the Japanese.” More information about the surrender, including the appointment of Gen. MacArthur as Allied Supreme Commander, came from the network.
    Then came the sound of the WTIC hourly “V for Victory” tone – three dots and a dash, followed by the voice of announcer Bernard Mullins, who said, “Ladies and gentlemen, from the studios of WTIC in Hartford, we are proud to present on this great day of victory, the Governor of the State of Connecticut, Raymond E. Baldwin.”
    His Excellency addressed listeners in a talk that paid tribute to those who had given so much, had sacrificed so much, even their very lives.
    Local and statewide coverage continued and announcer Mullins switched to his colleagues Floyd Richards and Ross Miller, located at a “remote corner” near Main, Asylum and Pearl Streets.

    Hartford began the readjustment to peacetime living and prepared to welcome thousands of returning GI’s back into civilian life.

    On September 2, 1945, opera fans received a special treat when the first edition of “Your Box at the Opera” aired. Hosted by Robert E. Smith, the program was a regular feature on WTIC until 1970.
    Fire brought grief to the Hartford community on Christmas Eve, as flames burst forth from the Niles Street Hospital. Ironically, just two weeks before the blaze, WTIC General Manager Paul Morency had issued a memorandum, calling on the station’s staff to “let your ingenuity and imagination run riot,” for a year-long presentation of fire-safety plans.

    1946 saw the station embark on a major fire-safety campaign, which brought national recognition and acclaim.   
In July, Frank Atwood, former assistant director of publications at the University of Connecticut, joined WTIC as Farm Program Director. Besides the Farmer’s Digest program, he continued to conduct the weekly Farm and Home Forum.
    Also in July, WTIC broadcast the description in the Connecticut River of LST-732, a Navy ship to be used as headquarters for Hartford units of the Naval Reserve.
    In March, WTIC’s first staff pianist, returned to the airwaves that year. Hired in 1925, she now hosted a program introduced by staff announcer Bob Tyrol, “…a good day to enjoy piano moods in ‘Songs of Acadia,’ with Laura Gaudet.”
    In 1946, WTIC was honored by NBC Radio, as the network observed its twenty-fifth anniversary. Through the facilities of NBC, listeners heard President Harry Truman address the opening session of the United Nations on October 23rd.

    Preparations were under way at the station’s Avon transmitting site for a new 50,000 watt transmitter, in 1947. WTIC celebrated 22 years of broadcasting on February 10. Woman’s Radio Bazaar hostess Betty Pattee and announcer Floyd Richards interviewed Walter Johnson, the first announcer hired by the station and then assistant general manager, and assistant chief engineer Herman Taylor, who had been with WTIC since before the station signed on in 1925.
    Mr. Johnson, who joined the station few days after the February 1925 sign-on, recounted WTIC’s early women’s program, “Shopping With Susan”, hosted by a Mrs. Patterson of West Hartford. He told of the time he received a phone call from Mrs. Patterson, saying she would not be able to broadcast next day due to illness. He took home some cookbooks, magazines and so on, and wrote a half-hour program. At the time, the station did not require program material to be prepared and on file a week in advance, so Walter Johnson was “Susan” for a day.
    Mr. Taylor recalled a night when due to a snowstorm talent failed to show for a program. He and another staff member, Bert Wood, entertained with Mr. Taylor playing the mandolin. Mr. Johnson observed it was a throwback to Taylor’s seafaring days.
    Live music programs were still being produced at WTIC in 1947. Ed Anderson announced a program featuring Rudy Martin and his orchestra, and later teamed with the station’s new director of women’s activities, Jean Colbert, a former network actress who joined the station that year.

    On August 4th, 1947, WTIC listeners first heard an enthusiastic “Yes!” to the question, “Is there a dreamer in the house? Well, then, let’s dream of a ‘Cinderella Weekend’.” Announcers Bob Tyrol and Floyd Richards then welcomed the studio and radio audience to the first broadcast of “Cinderella Weekend…from the air-conditioned Orchid Room from Ryan’s (Restaurant), 33 Pearl Street, right in the heart of Hartford.”
    The WTIC listening audience also heard for the first time November 8th, “It’s smart to Mind Your Manners,” with host Allen Ludden and announcer Bruce Kern. The program, designed to emphasize good manners among young people, was later heard over the NBC Radio Network. It earned a number of awards and was cited by Governor John Lodge for public service to the community.

    A Connecticut landmark reappeared on December 1, 1947. The Travelers Beacon brightened the city with the installation of powerful new lamps.

    In 1948, WTIC initiated a program to help farm youth in Southern New England. Developed by General Manager Paul Morency and Farm Program Director Frank Atwood, The WTIC Farm Youth Program made it possible for boys and girls on farms or in the country, to buy livestock, either dairy or beef breed. As the price of an animal was beyond the means of many, the program gave interest-free loans that came due when the animal was about two-and-a-half years old. Over the years, the Farm Youth Program gave many a young person get the needed start for a career in farming or in other areas of agriculture.

    The station no longer employed a regular staff of musicians in November 1948, but it was still interested in the furtherance of good music in the community. A gift of $30,000 was pledged to the Symphony Society of Greater Hartford to help finance the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, thus stimulating the interest in music and music appreciation, and creating an incentive in promising young talent.   
    The Hartford Symphony Orchestra made its network radio debut on Saturday, January 4, 1950, in a broadcast from the Bushnell Memorial. The broadcast represented the second program in the 1950 “Pioneers of Music” series on NBC. Moshe Paranov conducted the orchestra in this program before an audience of junior high and private school students from the area.

    Leonard Patricelli wrote and produced “Songs from New England Colleges,” sponsored by the Monsanto company of Boston. Bob Tyrol announced the program, which was engineered by Al Jackson and ran for four years. Averaging 23 visits each winter to colleges and universities around New England, the trio had some harrowing experiences, leaving for their destinations in snowstorms or returning in icing conditions. The program’s season lasted from October through March or April.

    1950 got off to an auspicious start, when the Mile O’ Dimes collected $86,724.40, a new record of over nine miles of dimes.
    One of broadcasting’s highest awards came to the station when on May 4, 1950, WTIC was the recipient of a George Foster Peabody citation, naming “Mind Your Manners” as the most outstanding program in the nation for young people. Another award came to the “Mind Your Manners” program, with the presentation of a first place award in the Fourteenth Annual American Exhibition of Education Radio Programs, conducted by Ohio State University.
    Yet another award, a Freedom Foundation honor medal, was presented to WTIC in 1951, primarily as a result of the station’s 1950 Election Night broadcasting, plus its consistent endeavor to encourage the public to exercise the right to vote. Other broadcasts which were considered in the awarding of the medal, were “Yale Interprets the News,” “Your Senator from Connecticut,” and the weekly United Nations feature in the “Radio Bazaar.

1951 found American GI’s in Korea. Southern New England’s 43rd Division was called up to active duty. The WTIC Special Events department set up equipment and Ed Anderson broadcast by transcription from the Morgan Street siding, the departure of Connecticut elements of the 43rd to Camp Pickett, Virginia.

    Working on a tip from NBC, WTIC stayed on the air past normal signoff on the night of Wednesday, April 10, 1951, to bring Southern New England the first word of Gen. MacArthur’s dismissal. Early next morning, Bob Steele was on the street with a portable tape recorder getting views of the man on the street.   
    It was a big step from the streets of Hartford to the brick surface that comprises the famed oval track known as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but Bob made it on May 25, (when your writer was an old man of six days old – and temporarily residing a few miles south of the Brickyard, in or near Camp Atterbury), to preview the 1951 Speedway classic and feedback interviews with drivers like Mauri Rose.

    After four years, eight months on the air, Cinderella Weekend bowed from the WTIC lineup, on May 1, 1953. In its time, 1,460 shows had been broadcast, with 146,000 people in the studio audience, and 578 people had received expense-paid weekends in New York City.

    On June 9, 1953, skies in Worcester, Massachusetts grew dark and dumped heavy rain and hail on the city. From the clouds emerged the black funnel of a tornado. A WTIC Special Events crew sped to the scene. Announcer Bob Tyrol, engineer Fred Edwards, program manager Leonard Patricelli and news director Tom Eaton were on the scene all night. Arriving back at the studios at six the next morning, they put together a special report, made up of recordings done during the long night.

    On June 25, 1954, WTIC microphones were at Bushnell Memorial Hall, when Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts delivered the Connecticut State Democratic Convention’s keynote address.

    Hurricanes Edna and Carol breezed through Southern New England in 1954, presenting addition challenges to the station’s Special Events crew. And it was in September that plans were announced to begin taking weather information from the newly-formed Travelers Weather Research Center.

    A few years earlier, in 1945, WTIC listeners heard Prof. Andre Schenker interview Conrad Bacon about his experiences working on the atomic bomb. Questioned about the practical application of atomic power for other than weapons, such as for the purpose of providing the power to take a vessel across the ocean, Mr. Bacon was optimistic that it would become reality in a few years.
    In 1954, that belief became reality when, at Groton’s Electric Boat shipyard, the nuclear submarine Nautilus was christened by First Lady Mamie Eisenhower. As the traditional bottle of champagne was presented to the bow, and the boat slid down the ways, its launch was described from the banks of the Thames River by WTIC’s Bob Tyrol, a not-so-old Coast Guard alumnus. (This writer, a three-year-old in the arms of his grandfather - who worked on the sub - recalls watching the black-hulled sub sliding down into the water.) 

Main  History   Reports   Events   Museum   Personalities   Technicians   Support  Listener Memories  Lost Alumni  Audio/Video