WTIC Alumni Site

      In Memory of and Designed by Bill Clede



Ed Anderson: covered a visit by President Lyndon Johnson.
  In 1964, then President Lyndon Johnson came to Bradley Field for a conference of New England Governors.. The assassination ofAnderson Ed.jpg (2702 bytes) President Kennedy was in 1964 and things were very tender then. Holding the meeting at Bradley provided the most secure location. It was in an unoccupied corner of the airport with State Troopers all over the place. Security was the main word of the day.
  WTIC and Channel 3 decided to cover the event and I was named one of the participants. We went up to the airport. I was told I'd be positioned to do television coverage of Air Force One when it landed. But there was a camera set up not far behind me with Brad Davis also doing the TV coverage. That seemed strange. One of the producers told me to go up the lonely road by the empty barracks where the motorcade would pass. I had a radio to hear my on-air cue, a power pack for the microphone and earphones. I felt ready for a moon walk.
  Walt Clemens, our security guy at WTIC, a retired cop, was with me. And we just stood there waiting. Finally a state police car pulled up and Clemens went to talk with the trooper, then motioned for me to come down. The Sergeant told me to get into the car. I argued that this was my post waiting for the motorcade. The Sergeant said, "GET INTO THE CAR!" So Clemens and I got into the car.
  He took us around a bend to the end of the road where there was a schoolhouse. This was where the conference would be held. At the bend was a sawhorse and the Sergeant dropped me there and told me to stand behind the sawhorse. So I did. And he took off. There I was, standing alone, waiting for the motorcade. I got my cue and described the motorcade approaching. The President's car came right by me. Johnson was on my side and he looked out the window as he went by. I got a nice big wave from the President of the United States.
  The meeting lasted a while and I walked up to the schoolhouse. All the official cars were parked there. Finally someone came out with official word. Motors were started and people bustled about. Tom Eaton, our news director, came to me and said, "Now you go into the front seat of that car. That's the lead car of the motorcade." So I got in. Then a fellow came over with the biggest scowl I ever saw on his face. "What are you doing in that car?" he asked. Well I'm going to sit here and describe the run back," I answered. "Oh no you're not," he said. "Never in my whole career has a reporter sat in the front seat of the lead car. Get out of the car!" So I got out of the car.
  Then Eaton sent me back down the road to the sawhorse at the bend. There I was standing all by myself and I think it was raining by then, as I recall. I got my cue. The motorcade came by, passed, and left me standing there all by my lonesome. And that's the way it ended.

Ed Anderson worked with Bob Steele during the station's first TV broadcast of the Yale-Harvard crew race.

  It was a big thing. We had Yale and Harvard people listening so we wanted it to come off well. The main crew was set up at the finish line down by the bridge. The race ran downstream this particular year so I was sent up to the start at Bartlett's Cove. My main purpose was to report "They're off!" after the opening down by the bridge with Bob Steele. Bob told me this. As he started to open the broadcast, he opened his mouth, looked at the cue cards and couldn't say anything. The cards were upside down. That was quickly corrected.
  Then it came my turn at the start when someone gave me a cue to do a commercial. So I'm right in the middle of a commercial when someone starts tapping my shoulder and pointing that the race was starting. I’m in the middle of a commercial. So when I finished the commercial, I said, "Well, here they come down the river." It was sort of anticlimactic but that's the way it was.
J Back

Bill Clede: It was an advantage of radio that you could not see where someone was when you heard him or her speak. On television, you know, there was always the window in the background with the obligatory capitol dome behind every reporter in Washington DC. With radio, only your words and background sounds give clues to location or activity. That's why radio drama was so great. The images generated in your own mind are always better than those caught on film or videotape.
  Consider also that the important part of one's broadcast is the information, the substance of the report. When I covered a ski race in northern New England, I'd feed a report back to the station by phone. In this case, I would identify where I was. It's like the dateline on a newspaper story.
  The Sony TC-110 cassette recorder we used then had an interesting quirk. A patch cord from the auxiliary output jack ended in two banana clips. I'd unscrew the mouthpiece on the phone in the hotel room and take out the cheap microphone, clip the banana clips to the contacts and push the record (but not the motor) button. That activated the recorder microphone, for which I had substituted a high quality broadcast microphone, and fed it into the phone line. With this arrangement, I could record a brief interview with a newsmaker, cue up the tape to the beginning, and pause there. Once I phoned the station and the call was going into the recorder, I'd hit the Record button and voice the opening of my report leading into the interview. Then hit Play. The Record function stopped as the cassette was played into the phone line. When I heard the out-cue, I'd hit Record again and voice the ending of the report.
  Of course, nowadays they have more sophisticated equipment that does the same thing but costs a lot more money.
  Now, the reason for all this background is to lead up to a confession.
  That tape recorder was my constant companion. Wherever I went, it went. And it recorded audio interviews everywhere that I'd bring back and insert into outdoor shows. I had to be careful not to claim I was in the place being discussed. The credentials of the person being interviewed were what carried the weight. Once, I was at an outdoor writer conference, sitting in a cabin beside a lake in northern Saskatchewan, talking with Louisiana expert Hurley Campbell about fishing in the Mississippi River delta, where the mighty river flows into the Gulf of Mexico.
  That always struck me as funny.
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Arnold Dean: One of my favorite memories came during "Sunday Showcase" which was a breeding ground for break-ups. Bobadean3.jpg (15592 bytes) Scherago was at his ingenious best donning makeshift costumes, changing my music sheet ("I'm In The Mood for Love" became "I'm in the Nude For Love"), the song from Porgy and Bess ("I Loves You, Porgy" became "I Loves Your Porgy"), etc. So we became pretty silly and I was always on the edge of breaking up.
  Time for the 12 o'clock news so Alan Sagal (one of our wonderful friends who is so missed) came into the studio and sat down next to me. When he threw it over to commercial I noticed it was a doughnut spot for Donlevy's Back Room. You know, vocal at beginning, live read for :45 and you are supposed to hit the vocal at the end. No problem, I had done their spot often. Oops! It was new copy. Unfortunately we had been so busy raising hell I had to read it cold ... much to my regret. It seems that Donlevy's had a one-day sale on dickies. The very word "dickies" got a snort from Alan which didn't help me in my fragile state. But the copy continued "you'll find dickies available in every style ..... dickies to suit any taste ......in every size ....... and color, .............". With each phrase in that sentence Sagal was laughing harder. And he had the most infectious giggle ever. By the time I got through that line there was no pretense. He had his head in his left hand while he was pounding the table with his right. Of course I was laughing right along with him (had to be sociable, you know). Real subtle, weren't we. I can't imagine that anyone would have any idea just what was so funny about that copy. Yeah, sure!
  When I finally got through it I turned off my mike and Alan said, "Leave the studio". I said "No way, I want to hear the rest of the news". He said, "I won't say another word till you leave the studio". After about 30 seconds of dead air I realized he meant it and left. To his credit he got through the cast without laughing anymore though his voice did seem an octave or so higher than usual.
  I had gone to church that morning and it paid off. God was with me. Not one member of the cadre of overseers heard the spot or ever mentioned it. I don't know if I was saved but at least my job was!

The recent passing of our wonderful friend Bob Downes reminded me of the first time I really got to know him.
  Joining the WTIC-AM-FM-TV3 staff in 1965 was daunting. I was suddenly working with a couple hundred new people and struggling to sort out names and faces. At the time we had music sheets stamped by the record library to be filled in with the date the show ran and the names of the program's announcer and engineer. After one of my first shows I was completing the form and had to ask, "Bob, what is your last name?" Without changing expression he said, "Morency". I pointed up toward the fourth floor which was then ruled by Paul Morency and he said, "My uncle." So I signed Bob Morency on that music sheet ... and many more!
  Finally someone - either Larry Kenfield or Bob King in the record library - took mercy on me and explained. It was typical Downesy humor: It was done with a straight face, no one was hurt and we all got a lot of laughs out of it, me most of all.

Since I now work with young people to whom "the old WTIC" is legendary I am frequently asked what it was like.
  I can't think of a better example than this one: I reported for work one afternoon and was due to relieve Bruce Kern in the TV booth at 3 p.m. On my way through the announcer's office someone told me that after a decade-plus at WTIC Bob Ellsworth had resigned. When I got to the booth I asked Bruce whether he had heard the news. He hadn't so I filled him in. His reaction? "Hah! I always knew he was a 'floater'!"
  Bruce would be shocked at the profession today. Now many announcers change jobs before the emissions sticker on their cars expire. I think the new definition of a "floater" would be someone who leaves within his first year on a job. After that he is a station veteran! And even radio station ownership is almost on a "du jour" basis.
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Dewey Dow: As almost everyone in CT knows, Bob Steele was a stickler for correct pronunciations. On this particular day, I was working the early morning shift, preparing Bobddow.jpg (100846 bytes)'s first newscast to air around 6:00 am. He asked me how to pronounce the name of someone whose name appeared in the script I had just handed to him. "Not sure," I said. "Well, find out," Bob replied. When I gingerly suggested that the guy was probably sleeping at this hour, Steele said, "Then wake him up and ask him how he likes his name pronounced." And so I did.J  Back

Phil Henry: I was thrilled to find that someone had actually put together a website for WTIC AM-FM-TV alumni. I used to listen to the stations as a kid growing up in Torrington. Later, I attended college at Columbia University in New York and worked at the campus radio station, WKCR-FM. When I graduated in 1967, I applied to the hallowed WTIC at Broadcast House. I remember being interviewed by Paul Kuntz, then News Director, Tom Eaton, VP for News, and Bob Tyrol, VP and General Manager. Hardest job interviews I ever had! After the “compulsories” of writing, reading and presentation, I was hired provisionally as an intern. That lasted for a year, when as a 23-year-old male I began to smell the draft checking me out (This was at the height of Vietnam).
I took the calculated risk of enlisting for three years in the Army as a Broadcast Specialist, like Robin Williams in “Good Morning Vietnam.” I did basic training at Ft. Dix, N.J., and then went to the Defense Information School at Ft. Benjamin Harrison, IN, for Broadcast Specialist training . During my basic training, WTIC Cameraman Bob Dwyer and newsman Paul Kuntz followed me around producing a Documentary highlighting those young men who volunteered for Vietnam. ( I had a copy on 2” reel-to-reel videotape but lost it. Anyone remember it?)

After some stateside duty, I went to AFVN Radio and TV in Saigon from 1970-71. I thoroughly enjoyed that assignment and made friends I keep to this day.

I got out in l971 and after some waffling and ‘seventies Hippiness, came back to the fold and worked in News at WTIC until the sale in ’74, when I elected to go to WFSB-TV where I produced Newscasts for Pat Sheehan. That didn’t work out, so I went back to Indianapolis to WIBC-AM 1070 Radio, a powerhouse full-service station. I covered Courts, crime, and politics (sometimes interchangeably) for fourteen years. I left in 1991 when they were sold (again).

I changed gears and got into the Hotel Business as a marketing and catering rep for awhile. Later I freelanced at lobbying and PR. I was involved in a serious pedestrian/car accident (as the Pedestrian) in 2000 and became disabled. I am currently living in a Retirement Home in Rialto, CA, where I am being treated at the nearby Loma Linda VA Hospital for Prostate Cancer.

Things are OK… I’m enjoying old friends and new, but limited opportunities. Feel free to drop me an E-Mail at .

Phil Henry
WTIC NEWS 1967-‘68, 1971-74

Jim Hopkins: I started at the station by calling one afternoon and telling Katie (Dimlow) Mahoney that I wanted to talk to whoever in the station did the writing. She said, "You mean continuity?" And I assured her that was exactly what I meant.
  She passed me along to Allen Ludden. Told him I was an English major looking for a job. He said he majored in English, too, and suggested that I come in and see him...even though there wasn't any job there. His assistant at the time was Mary Cass.
  After a meeting or two with him and one with Pat, I took the job that wasn't there. The matter of money only came up once when Pat asked me if I would work for maybe twenty-five bucks a week. I pointed out that I'd be happy to PAY HIM if I could afford to...just to prove I could do the job. I started the following Monday and at the end of the first week, I got a blank pay voucher. Allen told me to take it in and ask Pat what I should put in the space provided. He said $50. I pointed out to him that the voucher asked for the weekly figure. He said he knew that. So that's what my salary was...fifty a week. I was very pleased with myself.
  I have a lot of pleasant memories from those days. But summing up briefly, I succeeded Allen when he went to New York with Password...also continued to do some work for him while he was program manager for WCBS. Later ghost wrote two perfectly awful books for him.
  I left the station in 1955 to do freelance commercial writing and such...but they asked me to continue writing commercials and counselor talks for the Putnam & Company-sponsored Emile Cote Glee Club. Happily they paid me about 70% of my salary to do that, so it was relatively easy to boost my income substantially on the outside, so to speak.
  Incidentally, at the time I left we were coming down the television home stretch...working in a practice studio out back on the sixth floor of the Travelers.
  Fast forward through a number of ad agency jobs and ultimately opening my own shop at the start of 1971. (By the way, one of my first hires was the late Noel Olivieri, Ernie's son.)
  Married in 1956, four kids, widowed in 1990, wound the shop down in 1992 and here we are back to free-lancing anything anybody wants written. I guess you'd say I'm semi-retired, or words to that effect.
J Back

David H. Kaplan was engineering a music show that Doug Webster was hosting. Doug aired a news bulletin about a power  outage caused by a squirrel getting into a power transformer. He followed it up with: "The squirrel's name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin!"

  As part of my evening shift, twice a week I had to go to the Avon transmitter site and take readings in the small shacks at the base of each tower. After that, I would be finished with my work, and go home. One night, in the shack that did NOT have the telephone, the door blew shut, and the hasp on the doorframe  swung over it's counterpart on the door, effectively locking me in, even without a padlock through it. I was locked in a very small shack lined with copper, that had two small windows, and no one knew that this had happened. The staff at the station thought I had gone home, and my parents never knew what time to expect me out of work.The antenna tuning coils in that shack were rings of copper pipes that were taller than a man. The radio waves were so strong there that if I touched the ring of a 3-ring notebook I would get a burn.
  What to do? I considered finding something metal to throw on the coils and shut the station down, so the engineer that finally investigated would find me. However, I was able to break a pane of the window and just barely reach the hasp to open it and escape. It's an experience I will remember for the rest of my life! 
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Norm Peters (Polman): polman.jpg (16618 bytes)After Bill Hennessey left the stations (WTIC AM-FM-TV) I was assigned to the Sunday night weekend 11 o'clock news that he vacated. One of those nights as I was announcing the news on camera I noticed that one of the many light bulbs hanging from the ceiling to illuminate the TV news set was glowing brighter and brighter and brighter  --  and so did the floor crew notice it.  They seemed to know something I didn't as the bulb got red hot and brighter.  Right in the middle of the story I was reading it suddenly exploded with a loud bang, and not expecting that to happen, I lurched upward in my seat as I was trying to stay cool, calm and collected.  I could hear the crew silently snickering after the explosion, since they were aware it was going to happen.  Not too long after it happened I was saved by a commercial break that allowed me to collect my thoughts, nerves and composure.  During the break we all had to laugh about it, and subsequently continued on with the newscast as though nothing unusual ever happened.  The next day the crew played it back for me on videotape and for me to see myself almost jump out of my chair and see the look on my face as I continued on, was embarrassing, but admittedly very comical.
  Now, you might think that could never happen to anyone more than once in a lifetime, but let me tell you it did  --  for me.  The second time, I was working at a TV station in Springfield, Mass. many years later doing a newscast, when the exact same thing occurred.  However, as the bulb grew brighter it appeared to me that the crew there was taking bets on when it would burst.  This time I was prepared for the outcome, but evidently my nerves betrayed me again.  Yes, I jumped or flinched but it was not as apparent as the first time, after seeing that event on videotape again.  Here's the scary part.  Those light scoops didn't have covers over the bulbs as they had at 'TIC.  So, when the bulb exploded I was nearly showered with hot glass flying toward me.  I could actually hear the glass tinkling behind me as it hit the news set wall and fell to the floor.  After the newscast, the realization of the possibility that the glass could have hit my face or been embedded in my eyes was pretty frightening.  Needless to say, it wasn't long after, that those light scoops were covered with a diffusion material so there wouldn't be a repetition of the event.  They "saw the light."

  I guess you might say that the only radio program I could call "my own," from the time I got there until the time I left 'TIC, was the Sunday morning religious show called "Hymn Time." I'm not too sure what I did to get that assignment, but I figured if I was going to have to read those hymns on a regular basis with the organ music behind me, I would do my best to make it sound as though they were read from a pulpit by a clergyman.
  As luck would have it, Bob Scherago was my engineer most of those mornings, and if you read some of the comments the other announcers in their remembrances wrote about him and his ability to make us laugh when the microphone was turned on, you can imagine what he did to me in the middle of a prayer I was reading. To elucidate, whenever I mentioned the word God, I could hear him through the double-paned glass window between us say, "YEYS??" He did that by starting with a low tone that built to a crescendo. I did everything I could to keep from laughing, of course, since I HAD to keep my composure, and it wasn't easy.
  He knew he had me the first time I had to shut off the "mike" so my obvious change in reading style wouldn't go on air.
  Bob's antics were relentless from there on. I guess it wasn't that noticeable to anyone listening, because if it was, the "fourth floor" would have been all over our case.
  After doing the Hymn Time show for so long a time (I was tempted so often to call it "Her Time" on the air), I had the questionable distinction of being named "The Reverend Peters" by Bill Marks and some of the engineers who worked "Mike Line" during the week. I guess that was from a few complimentary comments that came in over the transom on that program. It became embarrassing after a while, but I had to grin and bear it and let it bounce off. After all, what else could the only non-Christian on the announcing staff do? 
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Tony Sargent: One of my cherished recollections of WTIC Radio days(1959-61 for me) involves your '97 emcee, the inimitable Bill Hennessey. Bill worked across from me many evenings on the old two-sided RCA(?) mike hanging from a framework of pipes (the mike, not Bill, just for clarity) in the main radio studio. In this instance, he was doing the commercials (and PSAs) in my newscast.
  Before the show. he repeatedly rehearsed and admitted his uneasiness about a PSA from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. The agency's name is a mouthful and he was not sure he'd handle it gracefully.
  Down near the end of the spot, he very carefully delivered the line "Fill out the card and take it to the clerk at your local office of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service." A look of great relief spread across Bill's face at his success and he pressed on with the next line:" Do not mail the clerk...er, the CARD."
  I consider my delivery of the rest of that newscast at some level near the standards enforced by Bernie Mullins and other WTIC powers to have been among the highlights of a long career.

  Arel and Hennessy and I tried to break each other up during the 6 and 11pm radio news during a Donchian rug commercial. It ran, unchanged, for months. Halfway through was a line "If you've ever dreamed of owning a fine oriental..." When delivering that spot, each of us knew the guy doing the news would thrust his upper teeth over his lower lip, squint his eyes, ceoss his forearms and begin bowing on the other side of the mike. I still remember Arel's face reddening as an extra smile crept into his voice. He always avoided being broe\ken up but Hennessey was easier to trip up.

  Floyd Richards used to come in on Sundays to do the format and commercials for Robert E. Smith's opera show. We all knew the intro describing him as the "distinguished" host was somewhat immodest. Floyd once gagged on the term coming out with what sounded like "deestweengweeshed", an improbable lapse for an otherewise very accurate (and distinguished) announcer.

  On the TV side, I recall a live commercial in the 11pm news offereing a prize of a certain number of "sun-filled, fun-filled" days at Miami's "fabulous Fontainbleau Hotel". It rotated among us. Ken Allen kicked it in almost every imaginable way over a period of weeks. In fact, he presented so many possibilities that the rest of us began growing antsy about being chosen to do the spot. But we loved the new bucks its live TV fee added to otherwise modest salaries. J Back

Paul Sutton: One time when Dick Bertel was doing a 10 AM to 2 PM music show, I entered the studio shortly after he went on thesutton.jpg (9295 bytes) air. I wanted to retrieve the Hartford Courant from the waste basket where Bob Steele had thrown it. I did this many times before to do the crossword puzzle. This particular day of my announcing shift, I was scheduled to do the news at 11 o'clock. Dick was in the middle of reading a live commercial as I headed toward the waste basket in back of him and fished out the Courant. As I was heading out the door, he then got a look at what I had done, and remarked on the air: "is that what your using to do the eleven AM News?
  At this point, we BOTH went into uncontrollable laughter.
  Another story to relate was when I was doing my regular weekend shift on the Other Side Of The Day. This particular night I brought to work with me, my newly adopted Labrador Retriever, Perky, whom I must say, was behaving himself quite admirably just sitting and snoozing under that big round table where we used to sit. Back in those days, we used to read the local news prepared by the all-night news person. Well, this particular night I was sitting there reading a bunch of college football scores, when into the studio, walks Ralph Eno with my next local newscast. At this point, Perky leaps up and ferociously barks as soon as Ralph opens the door. I only regret that my timing wasn't working that night and I wasn't giving a score concerning the Yale Bulldogs.
  Fred Pearson managed to record this for all time on one of the many WTIC blooper tapes.
J Back



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