WTIC Alumni Site

      In Memory of and Designed by Bill Clede

 

Listener Memories

Often we get letters and email from listeners with their remembrances of the station. Here are several:

After graduating high school in 1969, I met an amateur radio operator named Robert York Chapman, now a silent key.

He told me a couple stories about the early days at WTIC. He used to visit the station in the late 20's and recalled how the transmitter, then on the roof of the Grove Street building, had a row of variable capacitors (as he remembered). The controls were high off the floor and he said they required constant adjustment. An engineer would go down the row with a long handled implement like storekeepers in the old days used to get cans and boxes from high shelves.

The other recollection involved a spring storm around 1927-29. The two towers on the roof had a wire antenna stretched between. The storm came and blew down the antenna. According to Mr. Chapman, engineers took a length of wire (apparently measured to frequency), connected it to the transmitter, threw it over the side of the building and broadcast from it until the antenna could be repaired.

Another story, I'm sure you're familiar with, occurred during the UFO era of the late 40's-early 50's. Announcer Bob Tyrol is reputed to have glued two 16-inch ET records to a spool of string and made like a yo-yo from a sixth-floor window. Apparently, the joke had an unexpected effect in that it scared a few Travelers secretaries to near the point of panic.

Ah - the good old days. Wish I could have seen some of them.

I was a listener to WTIC, starting around kindergarten ca. 1956. My family lived in Hartford for many years before moving to Niantic and Waterford.

I worked in radio in CT, at the old WIOF/W104 Great American Country in Waterbury in '76-'77.

We listened to Bob Steele, Jean Colbert, Plaza Pops, Americana, Mike Line and a number of programs the names of which I've forgotten. There was Robert E. Smith's Your Box at the Opera, and Theater of Melody. My mother told me that her father used to listen to Bunny Mullins read the 6 pm news in the late 30's-early 40's, I guess.

Other than this, the only connection I have is that, as a little boy in the 50's, I used to daydream about doing IDs for the station. It never happened. But I always wanted to work for WTIC. Well, such is life, I guess.....

73 de Bob KA3ZCI

Robert Paine


  I just happened upon your site ... by way of a Google search on 'WTIC'.  My Dad, Bob Spencer, was a technician on Avon Mt (called Talcott Mt.?) in the 50's.  In briefly looking through your site it was quite an experience to see names from then that sound familiar to me though I didn't find mention of my Dad.

    He brought me to the station for the first tv broadcast.  I remember cables running all over the place to temporarily patch things together for the first night.  I seem to recall the first thing broadcast was 'The African Queen" though I might not be right about that.  Not sure what year that was but I was born in '45 so I was pretty young.

    My Dad passed away in 1994 at age 78.  We lived in Simsbury back then and moved to Massachusetts in 1958, though I don't remember what years he was at WTIC.  Seeing your site brought back a lot of memories.  I'm not sure if technician was his actual job title though I do know he had whatever FCC license was required to run the transmitter.

        thanks,  Steve Spencer


I was on TIC radio and TV many times in the late 50's - not on staff but as talent for several religion series for the Greater Hartford Council of Churches. So many of the names and voices are familiar. During that time a friend, Gerry Dyar of Margolis Audio, and I produced the first Connecticut stereo broadcast. Left channel in AM, right on FM. Pat Particelli (is that the spelling) gave the O.K. for that test run.

I missed one name - at least I could not find it on the tech side of your lists. Around 1960-61 Harold Dorschug was the chief engineer for WTIC AM FM TV. He came from CBS New York. When he learned I was moving from Hartford to San Francisco he talked about CBS originating from one of the presidential conventions held at the Cow Palace. He wrote the CBS folk out here with all kinds of tech questions/issues - including air conditioning. The wrote back, "The whole city is air conditioned in the summer.

I also remember his quiet glee when his engineers cracked the code for the Zenith over the air test of pay-TV on channel 18. He said it was simple if you had some of the components of the massive Ampex VR-1000 to use.

One of my retirement hobbies is helping the California Antique Radio Association restore an old studio transmitter building in Berkeley on the edge (great ground) of SF Bay. It was, and is KRE. Three stations use the tower and a closet or two in the building. The association is restoring the stations to the 50's and will also use it as the state HQ of the association. The Wolfman Jack scenes in American Graffiti were filmed there. A few weeks ago it was tearing up ratty old carpet, next week it will be painting over decades of - year, graffiti.

"TIC" was kinda the station I grew up with - in the Ben Hawthorne and Bessy Bossy days.

I may be the oldest living 'voice' on WTIC AM . . . Not the best day in my kid life. When I was in elementary school (Southwest) in the late 30' and early 40's WTIC had a March of Dimes booth at the Isle of Safety bus station next to the Old State House. School classes collected dimes all over the city. I was picked to bring a bag of dimes to put on the long white measuring counter. 'Mic fright' was a big bit of urban folklore in those days, we all knew reports of famous people (usually women) fainting. I didn't faint - but when interviewed I forgot to say the name of my class and teacher. Great disappointment back at Southwest. Sigh.... Anyway, I was on TIC about 1940 when I would have been nine. The next time was years later at Boy Scout camp. TIC sent a remote recording truck, lathes and all, up to Winsted to produce a program. After that was the series Colleges of New England (concerts) via a live phone line from Bates in Maine. I sang in the chorus. My room mate and I had a very low power AM transmitter in our dorm - it evolved into the college FM station a few decades later.

Would the TIC alums be interested in an eyewitness account of the day CBS announced closure of their UHF o&o, channel 18 in Hartford - it was the start of the WTIC-TV affiliation? Cutting to the close, I had a production meeting scheduled at channel 18 that day and on entering saw a trail of paper tears cascading from the bronze CBS eye logo on the lobby wall. More it you wish.

I remember Pat well, he didn't like my Latin! Seems I narrated the first stereo broadcast on AM and FM. It was a Bach Mass I think. I had a church history scholar coach me on the Latin and matched his pronunciation closely. Pat, who was a classics lover, stopped me in the hall and asked where I learned Latin. I said never, I was coached. Pat knew the church Latin for the the mass. My 'tutor' was a classicist.

George Conklin, Berkeley California


I recently came across the WTIC History Website and was  disappointed not to see my father's name and accomplishments listed there. [They are now!... Webmaster] He was Joseph Blume who lead an orchestra in the 1930's. The show was called "Joseph Blume and his Blue Room Echoes."  It was carried on the NBC Network and, believe it or not, was sponsored by Sweetheart Soap. As a matter of fact, when the show was first proposed, my father's name was Joseph Blumenthal.  An NBC V.P. came to Hartford and said, "Joe, we love the show, but your name it too long. From now on, we will call you  Joseph Blume."

By the way, my father was a charter member of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and loved to state proudly that he played for the opening of the Hartford Civic Center, Roof #1 and Roof #2!  He was born in 1900  -  He was very proud to have been born in the 20th Century.  He died in 1990.

Daniel Blume, West Hartford, CT


I must first say how much I enjoyed your web site, it brought back a lot of old memories.
 
I saw the pictures of Ranger Andy and I remembered I had two of his old albums. So I started searching and finally found them. I then took them out and recorded them on to two CD disc's. In my search I also found an old Slim Coxx album (again your web site had his name listed and I started to remember him from the old days when he use to perform on Sunday afternoons at on the Lake Compounce stage.) and recorded that as well.
 
I'd like to tell you a few quick stories if I may of my Memories of WTIC.
 
I remember going with my Cub Scout pack to be on the Ranger Andy Show, I remember it like it was yesterday. We piled into my grandfather's Ford station wagon for the trip from New Britain to Hartford.
 
When we arrived at the station we went inside and were lead into a room with folding chairs and a TV set where we were told to wait. Soon someone came and lead us into the studio where we would line up behind the set and were give our instructions on what to do and did a quick dry run. We were given the do's and don'ts like not to look up at the boom mic and not to race through our names, But we did all that anyway. When air time came everything went just like we rehearsed, but then it came time for the spokesman from our pack to give Ranger Andy his report. He stood up and in a strong clear voice gave all the information perfectly, but could not remember his Den Mother's name ( We all called her Mrs. L. ). What made matters worse was that the Den Mother was his own Grandmother. Ranger Andy was nice about the matter and told the boy to think about it and he would get back to him after the commercial break. The studio lights went dark and his grandmother raced over and gave him the info which he told the Ranger when the lights came back up. I'm sure you guessed by now I was that boy.
 
Another time I remember, as a surprise my parents planned a few days stay in Hartford where we would go sight seeing. We went to the capital, the museum and took a tour of Broadcast house. I remember my mother wanted to go to Constitution Plaza because in the afternoon Arnold Dean had a radio show where he would interview people on the Plaza.  It was my mothers favorite . My mother hoped see him and maybe get on the air.  Well we sat in the Plaza and sure enough Arnold did interview us. When he got to me I told him all about the surprise trip to Hartford, "Well" he said " that must have been a nice surprise." "Not really" I replied." I found out about it." " Oh really, how?" " I heard my Mom tell Father Reilly about it after mass last Sunday." As Luck would have it at the time  Father Reilly was listening to this whole story on his car radio.
 
Well I'm sorry about bending your ear with my old memories..
 
Thanks for the memories
 
Rick Boissonneau, New Britain, CT

 

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