WTIC, a class A station on a clear channel, 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.
Originally founded in 1925 and transmitting on 500 watts for the first 4 years (the 1929 program announcing the retirement of the transmitter is not only known to survive, but also available online), WTIC began 50,000 watt operation on August 2, 1929 making it one of the first few stations in the world to achieve that power level. 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.
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.
The station remains popular. In December 2008 the station made major programming changes—co-host Diane Smith was dropped from the morning show she hosted with Ray Dunaway, which covers local affairs from a relatively moderate perspective. The libertarian edged Sound Off Connecticut hosted by conservative Jim Vicevich had an hour added to the show. The station continued to carry Rush Limbaugh at midday, but the afternoon drive personality, vocal liberal Colin McEnroe, was laid off and his timeslot replaced with a three hour local and national news roundup. The afternoon time slot was given to former Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland in September 2010. Rowland resigned from the station on April 3rd 2014 amid a second corruption scandal. The station airs a sports show in the early evening, which usually is a warm up to Red Sox baseball or UConn Huskies basketball. WTIC's call letters stand for the station's original owners, the Travelers Insurance Company; however, the station is no longer affiliated with Travelers.
Goldenage-WTIC.org In the late 1960s, with declining listenership at night, WTIC management decided that there was a market for long-form shows that could be packaged and sold to sponsors. Two of those shows were "The Golden Age of Radio" and "A One Night Stand with the Big Bands." They were broadcast monthly through the mid 1970s, and can be heard here, thanks to a project created by former WTIC personality, Dick Bertel, and former WTIC engineer, Bob Scherago. Check this site regularly as we are adding to the collection of old WTIC programs.
WTIC Alumni website A site that was created by Bill Clede and carried on by David Kaplan featuring pictures, audio, information and trivia about the old WTIC AM/FM/TV before its sale by the Travelers in 1974.