WKSS

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WKSS
WKSS logo.png
City of license Hartford - Meriden, Connecticut
Broadcast area central Conn., southern Mass., and northern Long Island, N.Y.
Branding Kiss 95.7
Slogan All the Hits
Frequency 95.7 MHz (also on HD Radio)
95.7-HD2: Dance Music
First air date Nov.-Dec. 1948
Format Top 40/CHR
ERP 16,500 watts
HAAT 268 meters
Class B
Facility ID 53384
Callsign meaning KiSS
Former callsigns

WMMW-FM 1948 - 1960

WBMI 1960 - 1971
Owner iHeartMedia, Inc.
Sister stations WHCN, WPOP, WUCS, WWYZ
Webcast Listen Live!
Website www.kiss957.com

WKSS is an American radio station operated by iHeartMedia, Inc. in the Hartford - New Britain - Middletown, Connecticut radio market (as measured by Nielsen Audio). It broadcasts from its original transmitter site in Meriden, Conn. and is licensed to two cities, Meriden and Hartford, a rare circumstance in the United States.

Using a mainstream Top 40 format, the station is currently branded as Kiss 95.7 with the slogan "All the Hits." Its studios and offices are co-located in downtown Hartford at 10 Columbus Boulevard with all of the other stations iHeartMedia owns in the market: WHCN, WPOP / WUCS, and WWYZ.

Technical[edit]

Overview[edit]

WKSS transmits with frequency modulation (FM) at 95.7 MHz using a directional antenna with an effective radiated power of 16,500 watts. The signal is nulled to the southeast to protect WFOX in Norwalk, Conn. which uses the adjacent frequency 95.9 MHz. The station has a 50 kW equivalent signal at 268 meters above average terrain.[1] The station broadcasts from the West Peak of the Hanging Hills in Meriden on a tower with former sister station WMRQ.

Coverage Area[edit]

At 60 dBu, the station's primary contour is contained almost entirely within the borders of Connecticut, covering nearly all of Hartford, Middlesex, and New Haven Counties as well as the adjacent portions of Fairfield, Litchfield, New London, and Tolland Counties.

At 50 dBu, WKSS remains listenable in most of the rest of Connecticut including east into Windham Co. and past Norwich, Conn.; southeast past New London, Conn.; south into the northern portion of Long Island, New York; southwest past Bridgeport, Conn.; to the west past Danbury, Conn. into Dutchess and Putnam Counties, N.Y.; and north over nearly all of Hampden Co., Massachusetts including the city of Springfield and almost all of its suburbs.

At 40 dBu, the fringe of the signal can be traced east into western Rhode Island; most of the eastern half of Long Island to the south; Greenwich, Conn. and Westchester Co., N.Y. to the southwest; west to Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; northwest to Columbia Co., N.Y. and Pittsfield in Berkshire Co., Mass.; north to encompass nearly all of Hampshire Co., Mass; and northeast into Worcester Co., Mass.[2]

History[edit]

Licensed as WMMW-FM to the Silver City Crystal Company, 1945 - 1960[edit]

Silver City Crystal Co., Manufacturer of Crystal Oscillators for Broadcast Equipment[edit]

During World War II, the Silver City Crystal Co., the first licensee of the station that would become WKSS, was one of at least 150 American enterprises that designed and manufactured quartz crystal oscillating devices that use the mechanical resonance of a vibrating crystal of piezoelectric material such as quartz to create an electrical signal with a very precise frequency, making the timing of a clock or watch as well as the tuning of broadcast transmitters and receivers consistent and reliable. Since tuned circuits, the predecessor to the oscillating crystal, would allow frequencies to drift by as much as 4 kHz, crystal devices and the broadcast equipment in which they were installed became essential components of the military build-up during the war because they could maintain constant communication and coordination in the field.[3]

Station Origins[edit]

As the wartime ban on licensing new stations was lifted, the Silver City Crystal Co. applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for construction permits for AM (amplitude modulation) and FM radio licenses in Meriden. The FCC authorized the station that would become WMMW (AM) on October 8, 1945.[4] And during the week of December 31, 1945 - January 4, 1946, it authorized WMMW-FM, the station that would become WKSS twenty-five years later.[5]

The launch of WMMW, which was assigned to operate at 1470 KHz, was delayed by hearings before the FCC involving companies that also held licenses for nearby stations that operate on that same regional frequency: a construction permit for WLAM in Lewiston, Maine held by the Lewiston - Auburn Broadcasting Corporation and an existing station, WSAN in Allentown, Pennsylvania, owned and operated by the Lehigh Valley Broadcasting Co.[6] Ultimately WMMW (AM) began broadcasting on June 8, 1947.

It appealed immediately to advertisers, reporting that it was already operating highly profitably with its first monthly billing reaching $135,000, all from local businesses.[7] Within a few weeks, it was busy producing a series of tributes to Connie Mack, the celebrated Major League Baseball manager,[8] as he and his Philadelphia Athletics descended on Meriden to honor the sixty-third anniversary of "The Grand Old Man of Baseball" playing his first game as a professional player there (on July 1, 1884) with a parade, banquet, and exhibition game against the Insilcos, the city's semi-pro club.[9]

Although the first on-air date for WMMW-FM has been conflated with WMMW's birth on June 8, 1947 over the years, the FM signal did not actually begin to broadcast until November or December 1948. Throughout the intervening months, the Silver City Crystal Company kept applying for and receiving extensions to the WMMW-FM construction permit. By the start of the new year 1949, however, WMMW-FM was on the air.

Studios and Offices[edit]

Together with WMMW (AM), the station's first studios and offices were located inside a four-acre industrial site in Meriden along Parker Avenue inside a former pump house at 122 Charles Street. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Meriden Curtain Fixture Company Factory since 1986, the pump house and the adjoining factory buildings were built in 1892 by the Charles Parker Co. When WMMW and WMMW-FM were there, however, the complex was home to the Silver City Glass Co. and its offspring, the Silver City Crystal Co.

Management by the Schultz Family[edit]

The principal owner of the Silver City companies was Carl A. Schultz (1895 - 1961), a native of Oslo, Norway and veteran of World War I.[10] His son Carl W. "Buzz" Schultz (1923 - 1989) managed the stations.

Licensed as WBMI to Business Music, Inc., 1960 - 1971[edit]

Change of Call Letters, Divorce from WMMW (AM), and Transfer to Business Music, Inc.[edit]

During the week June 16–22, 1960, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorized the Silver City Crystal Company's request to change the call letters from WMMW-FM to WBMI.[11] On August 30, 1960, Silver City sold WMMW (AM) to Meriden Radio, Inc.[12] And on July 27, 1961, ownership of WBMI was formally transferred to a new firm led by Buzz Schultz called Business Music, Inc. (not to be confused with Broadcast Music, Inc., the music licensing company that commonly uses the acronym BMI).

Conversion to Multiplex Stereo Broadcasting[edit]

On May 1, 1962, WBMI became one of the first stations to broadcast in stereo after the FCC standardized the multiplex system.[13]

City of License becomes Hartford - Meriden[edit]

On March 21, 1963, Business Music, Inc. applied to the FCC for permission to change the city of license for WBMI from Meriden to the combination of Hartford - Meriden.[14] When the commission granted this unusual request on October 30, 1963, it also waived the requirement that the station's main studio be maintained in Meriden.[15]

As Beautiful Music Station WKSS, 1971 - 1984[edit]

Meriden Era Ends with Sale to Communico, Inc., 1971 - 1977[edit]

On May 1, 1971, Communico, Inc. acquired WBMI from Business Music, Inc. for $426,500.[16] It changed the call letters to WKSS on May 23, 1971[17] and during the week June 20–26, 1971 relocated the station from 122 Charles Street in Meriden[18] to the 1893 Queen Anne style Borden-Munsill mansion in Hartford which faces the South Green Historic District from 2 Wethersfield Avenue (at the intersection with Wyllys Street).[19]

Insilco Emphasizes Personality Engagement, 1977 - 1981[edit]

On February 17, 1977, Insilco Broadcasting purchased WKSS for $1,689,500[20] and in 1978 installed Tom Durney as general manager, his first such position. To oversee programming and operations, he recruited Dick Bertel, a broadcaster well-known in Connecticut after having worked on-air since 1956 for the formerly combined facilities of WTIC Radio and Channel 3 (then WTIC-TV, now WFSB) in Hartford.[21] Augmenting the instrumental beautiful music with some light vocals, personality-driven engagement, and a news and sports department, Bertel hosted the weekday AM drive program "Good Morning, New England" and filled the schedule with other popular hosts including Jim Perry (also the chief engineer), Mike Ogden, Jon Stevens, Steve Vallensky, Greg Williams, Roxanne Dorey [Flanders], Bob Ellsworth, Jim Austin, Douglas Richards, and Scott Vowinkle (known on-air as Scott Evans), a few of whom were also veterans of WTIC. While Durney and Bertel's strategy included attracting a significant share of the station's audience from market powerhouse WTIC (AM) (which was transitioning from a Middle-of-the-Road (MOR), music and information format into pure news/talk), WKSS' chief rival then was WRCH, another FM outlet playing beautiful music in Hartford.

Marlin Broadcasting Years, 1981 - 1984[edit]

On January 26, 1981, Insilco sold WKSS to Marlin Broadcasting for $2,200,000[22] and transferred Durney to New Orleans to be the vice president and general manager of WQUE,[23] WGSO, and the Insilco Sports Network (appointing him less than a year later to executive vice president of the company's entire FM division). In response, Marlin's president Howard "Woody" Tanger elevated Bertel to be vice president and general manager of WKSS, a position he held while continuing to host the morning drive program.[24] Adopting the slogans "The Good Music Station with Personality" and "A Kiss is More Than Just a Kiss," WKSS performed well in the ratings and in revenue share while owned by Insilco and Marlin, making it possible in 1982 to move from the mansion to a fourteen-story office building located in downtown Hartford at 60 Washington Street (at the corner of Buckingham Street), occupying street-level offices and state-of-the-art studios that afforded stunning views of the state capitol building. (Built in 1966, the building was imploded by the State of Connecticut on January 28, 2001 due to an asbestos health hazard.)

As Top 40 Station WKSS, 1984 - Present[edit]

While WKSS itself remained competitive in its market, by the early 1980s audience interest in other beautiful music stations across the country was eroding steadily. In October 1984, Tim Montgomery and Bob Mitchell, who would later go on to become an influential radio consultant, formed Precision Media to purchase WKSS and flip its format to Top 40 as "95.7 Kiss FM" with their 1st slogan as "Connecticut's hot rockin' hitradio, the new 95.7 Kiss FM." In the Fall of 1989, "95.7 Kiss FM" became "Kiss 95.7" and began shifting toward a Dance-leaning CHR format along with their 2nd slogan as "Connecticut's 10 in a row power station, Kiss 95.7."

Kiss 95.7 also was famous for the biggest party in the state each year known as the "Boo Bash" which featured artists such as Pink, C+C Music Factory, Rob Base and many more. It was ticket only entrance. Other events like Summer Kickoff followed but never materialized into the annual event that was Boo Bash.

In the early days following the adoption of the Top 40 format, WKSS airstaffers Jeremy Savage, Marcus Wainwright, Curtis Monday, Jonny Howe, Albie Dee, T.J. "Rock 'N' Roll" Wright, Tommy Casey, Sky Michaels, Robin King, and the legendary Cadillac Jack were some of the most prominent announcers of the era, while programmers such as Jefferson Ward, Christopher Walsh, Larry Hryb (Currently the Director of Programming for Microsoft's Xbox LIVE service), Johnny Dowd (Jay Beau Jones), Steven McVie, Tracy Austin, Ricky Vaughn and many others have also called WKSS home at one point or another. WKSS is frequently a stepping stone to bigger markets for up and coming jocks.

After several years of a heated CHR war with rival station "WTIC-FM", which included longtime morning host Gary Craig briefly moving to WKSS, "95.7 Kiss-FM" eventually won the ratings battle, forcing WTIC to flip formats to Adult Top 40. Throughout the 1990s, they had several leans towards other formats, including dance and rhythmic for a time. Friday and Saturday Night Mix Show, "The Kiss Club with Chris Walsh & Robin King" were a staple during this era, but Chris also produced "The Kiss Klassics" on Sunday nights which ran from 1987-2001. Clubs such as 2001, Rumors, Avalon, Mirage, Stadium, Polyestas, Safari, etc were all part of what was an iconic run of live mix shows. When Chris left the station Rudy C was giving the reigns as the new mixmaster who can still be heard to this very day every Saturday night from 8-11 "in the mix". Rudy C also was known for the 12 Noon Workout with Mike McGowan and fitness instructor Judy Rodriquez which became a staple at lunch time in the late 90s 1997-2002. Other jocks who made their way through Kiss, Jordon, Skillet, Nate Thomas and GIna J who is now on rival WTIC.

The station was consistently top 5 in the 12+ Hartford Arbitron ratings until Infinity Broadcasting changed rhythmic oldies outlet WZMX to rhythmic top 40 as "Hot 93.7".

Kiss immediately fell out of the top 10 in the 12+ Hartford Arbitron ratings, where it stayed until 2005, when the station began to rebound under the strong guidance of Program Director Rick Vaughn and Assistant Program Director Jojo "Joey" Brooks. Stan the Man Priest kept the station strong from 2005-2012 upon his departure heading to Philly which was short lived. He took night man Prolifik with him who had strong ratings at the time upon leaving Hartford for Philly..

Currently the station is programmed by JB Wylde. Though kiss has changed over the years, it still has many recognizable names! Courtney from Kiss in the Morning, Walmart Jeff, Munchie, and longtime mixer Rudy C.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/fmq?call=wkss
  2. ^ http://radio-locator.com/cgi-bin/pat?call=WKSS&service=FM&status=L&hours=U
  3. ^ Thompson, Richard J. Jr. (2007). Crystal Clear: The Struggle for Reliable Communications Technology in World War II. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-10464-4. 
  4. ^ "Actions of the FCC". Broadcasting (Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc.). 1945-10-22. 
  5. ^ "12 FM and 10 AM Stations Authorized". Broadcasting (Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc.). 1946-01-07. 
  6. ^ "Actions of the FCC". Broadcasting (Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc.). 1946-10-14. 
  7. ^ "Operating at Profit". Radio Daily (New York, N.Y.: Radio Daily Corp.). 1947-07-24. 
  8. ^ "Coast to Coast". Radio Daily (New York, N.Y.: Radio Daily Corp.). 1947-07-07. 
  9. ^ "Connie Mack Returning to Scene of First Professional Triumph". Meriden Record (Meriden, Conn.: Republican Publishing Co.). 1947-07-01. 
  10. ^ "Carl A. Schultz Dies at Age 66". Meriden Record (Meriden, Conn.: Meriden Record Co.). 1961-10-10. 
  11. ^ "For the Record". Broadcasting (Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc.). 1960-06-27. 
  12. ^ "For the Record". Broadcasting (Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc.). 1960-09-05. 
  13. ^ http://wwuh.org/history/CTtimeline2.htm
  14. ^ "For the Record". Broadcasting (Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc.). 1963-04-01. 
  15. ^ "For the Record". Broadcasting (Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc.). 1963-11-11. 
  16. ^ "Changing Hands". Broadcasting (Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc.). 1971-04-05. 
  17. ^ "Station WKSS Goes on the Air". The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.). 1971-05-23. 
  18. ^ "Radio Station to Maintain Antenna Site". The Morning Record (Meriden-Wallingford, Conn.). 1971-07-03. 
  19. ^ "Old Mansion to House New Radio Station". The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.). 1971-07-01. 
  20. ^ "For the Record". Broadcasting (Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc.). 1977-03-07. 
  21. ^ Pannone, Olga R. (1978-09-17). "Dick Bertel Hosts Morning Show on WKSS". The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.). 
  22. ^ "Station Trading in 1980: $876-million Worth of Properties Changed Hands". Broadcasting (Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc.). 1981-01-12. 
  23. ^ "Fates & Fortunes". Broadcasting (Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc.). 1981-01-05. 
  24. ^ "Fates & Fortunes". Broadcasting (Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc.). 1981-10-19. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°33′40″N 72°50′38″W / 41.561°N 72.844°W / 41.561; -72.844