|Broadcast area||Central Connecticut|
|Branding||WTIC NewsTalk 1080|
|Slogan||Connecticut's Local Radio Station|
(HD Radio via WTIC-FM-HD2)
|First air date||February 10, 1925|
|Call sign meaning||W Travelers Insurance Company|
Westwood One Network
Boston Red Sox Radio Network
CBS Radio News
(Entercom License, LLC)
|Sister stations||WRCH, WTIC-FM, WZMX|
|Webcast||player.radio.com Listen Live|
WTIC (1080 kHz "WTIC NewsTalk 1080") is a commercial AM radio station in Hartford, Connecticut. It is owned by Entercom and airs a news/talk radio format. The studios and offices are located on Executive Drive in Farmington, Connecticut with other radio stations. The transmitter is located off Deercliff Road in Avon, Connecticut. WTIC is the primary entry point (PEP) for the Emergency Alert System (EAS) in Connecticut.
WTIC is a Class A, clear channel station powered at 50,000 watts, the maximum permitted for commercial AM stations. It has a non-directional signal in the daytime. But to protect the other Class A station on AM 1080, KRLD Dallas, also owned by Entercom, WTIC uses a directional antenna at night, when radio waves travel farther. The signal can be picked up throughout Southern New England and parts of Vermont, New Hampshire and New York by day. With a good radio, WTIC can be heard over much of the Eastern United States and Eastern Canada at night.
Weekdays begin with Mornings with Ray Dunaway with newscaster Joe D'Ambrosio. Late mornings feature Jim Vicevich and afternoon drive time is hosted by Todd Feinberg. The rest of the schedule is made up of syndicated shows from Rush Limbaugh at noon, Clark Howard and Sean Hannity in the evening and Coast to Coast AM with George Noory overnight. For decades, WTIC has been part of the Boston Red Sox Radio Network.
Saturday mornings begin with a local news and talk show hosted by Steve Parker. Other weekend shows are centered on money, health, gardening, home repair, cars, law, pets, computers, veterans and travel, some of which are paid brokered programming. For three hours on Sundays, Glen Colligan hosts the WTIC Tag Sale where listeners offer household items for sale. Syndicated weekend hosts include Bill Cunningham and Ric Edelman.
Local newscasters are heard at the beginning of most hours while WTIC carries CBS News Radio overnight, followed by a brief Connecticut news summary. WTIC's newsroom is staffed 24 hours a day with more than a dozen newscasters and reporters. It maintains a news and weather sharing agreement with its one-time sister station, CBS affiliate WFSB (channel 3).
On February 25, 1925, WTIC first signed on. It was the second radio station in Connecticut, after WDRC, which went on the air in 1922. By the 1930s, WTIC was powered at 50,000 watts, originally at 1060 kilocycles. In 1941, when the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA) went into effect, WTIC moved to its current dial position at 1080 kHz.
WTIC was owned by the Travelers Insurance Company, from which it got its WTIC call sign. It was among the first affiliates of the NBC Red Network, carrying its schedule of dramas, comedies, news, sports, soap operas, game shows and big band broadcasts during the "Golden Age of Radio."
WTIC 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 Ludwig van 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 World War II.
WTIC's original studios were in the Travelers Insurance Building at 26 Grove Street in Hartford. Grove Street was later renamed Bob Steele Street in honor of longtime WTIC personality Bob Steele, who spent 66 years on WTIC, most of them as the morning drive time host. He joined the station in 1936. At one point, nearly a third of all radios in the Hartford area were tuned to Steele's wake up show. Even after retiring from weekday mornings in 1991, he continued hosting Saturday mornings until his death in 2002 at age 91.
In 1940, WTIC began experimenting with FM radio, putting W1XSO on 43.2 MHz on the air. It later became 96.5 WTIC-FM. In 1957, it added a TV station, Channel 3 WTIC-TV. As network programming moved from radio to television in the 1950s, WTIC-AM-FM switched to a full service, middle of the road format of popular music, news and sports. In the 1960s, WTIC-FM started playing blocks of classical music in the afternoon and evening, eventually ending its simulcast of 1080 WTIC.
Changes in ownership
In 1973, Travelers Insurance announced it would divest its broadcasting properties. Channel 3 was sold to the Post-Newsweek Corporation (now the Graham Media Group) in 1974, switching its call letters to WFSB. WTIC-AM-FM were sold to a group of its managers, doing business as the "Ten-Eighty Corporation." Also in the 1970s, some talk shows were added to WTIC's line up. In the 1980s, as fewer listeners tuned to AM radio for music, WTIC added more talk programming, eventually eliminating the music shows.
In 1991, Bob Steele decided to retire from hosting weekday mornings. Tom McCarthy had already begun doing the early part of the morning shift and took over the entire 5:30 to 10 a.m. time slot. In 1998, CBS Radio acquired WTIC-AM-FM. After being an NBC Radio affiliate since its early days, WTIC switched to CBS Radio News for its world and national news coverage.
In December 2008, the station made several programming changes. Former WTNH-TV anchor Diane Smith was dropped from the morning show she hosted with Ray Dunaway. Smith later joined the University of New Haven journalism department. "Sound Off Connecticut" hosted by conservative Jim Vicevich had an hour added to his show. The station continued to carry Rush Limbaugh at noon, but the afternoon drive personality, vocal liberal Colin McEnroe, was dismissed and his time slot replaced with a three-hour local and national news roundup.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1935 page 24
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1942 page 114
- Ramsey, John. (2012). Hartford radio. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Pub. ISBN 978-0-7385-7666-4. OCLC 756576789.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1975 page C-32
- Courant.com "Bob Steele Throws Last Punch Line" by Jon Lender, Oct. 1, 1991
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 2000 page D-79
- Grant, Steve. "Colin McEnroe, Diane Smith Laid Off By WTIC-AM". Hartford Courant.
- CBS Radio to Merge with Entercom
- "Entercom Receives FCC Approval for Merger with CBS Radio". Entercom. November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- Venta, Lance (November 17, 2017). "Entercom Completes CBS Radio Merger". Radio Insight. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- Official website
- Northeast Airchecks, with an aircheck of their switch to 50,000 watts in 1929
- 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.
- 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.
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WTIC
- Radio-Locator Information on WTIC
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WTIC