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WCCC
City of license West Hartford, Connecticut
Broadcast area Hartford, Connecticut
Frequency 1290 kHz (also on HD Radio)
Format Classical
Power 490 watts day
11 watts night
Class D
Facility ID 25073
Owner Marlin Broadcasting Of Hartford
Webcast Listen Live
Website beethoven.com

WCCC (previously WTMI) is a classical music station branded as Radio Beethoven at AM 1290 in West Hartford, Connecticut. The station is owned by Marlin Broadcasting of Hartford, LLC, operating as a class D AM station operating with 490 watts during the day and reducing power at night per FCC rules. WCCC is one of the few remaining commercial classical music stations in the US. One of the things that makes WCCC notable is that it carries the programming of its co-owned webcast station, beethoven.com. While many radio stations in the US stream their audio on the web, this is one of the few cases, and perhaps the first, where a stand-alone webcaster had a full time radio station carrying its programming. WCCC is the only commercial station licensed to West Hartford, CT (USA) and was the first station in the state to adopt HD radio digital technology in April 2005.

   In December, 2009 WCCC added "Imus in the Morning" to their line up.

History of WCCC

WCCC AM signed on for the first time on October 26, 1947. The station was licensed to Greater Hartford Broadcasting, Inc., owned by the Savitt brothers, Bill (a well known Hartford jeweler) and Maxx. As was common in those days, the studios were located at the transmitter site which was on South Quaker Lane near Talcott Rd in West Hartford. The entire station was housed in a small brick building with “WCCC” in big neon letters on the top adjacent to the 220’ tall AM tower. WCCC was considered a “full service” station and offered news, farm reports, sports and the popular music of the day. Although one of the lowest powered stations in Hartford, WCCC’s 500 watt signal was strong enough to encompass the entire “greater Hartford” area which in the late forties consisted of the city of Hartford plus the neighboring towns. Early staff included Ralph Della Silva, Harry Larkin, Betty, Joe Girand, Eve Mink; Continuity, Ray Dower; National Sales Manager, Walt Neilson; Program Director, Bob Sherman; Music Director, and Irene Dolan; Traffic Director. The engineering staff consisted of Thomas York; engineer, Edward Reid and Gil Ford; control engineers, John Rameika; transmitter engineer, and Howard Wessenberg; chief engineer. As the station grew in popularity and more and more area businesses realized the value of radio advertising, WCCC needed more space and moved its studios in the early fifties into the Hotel Bond in downtown Hartford, one of the finest hotels between New York City and Boston. Located on the twelfth floor of The Bond was the largest ballroom in the state of Connecticut. Offering a breathtaking view of Bushnell Park, the Park River and the state Capitol building, the room attracted a wealthy clientele and some of the biggest musical performers of the day including Count Bassie, Ella Fitzgerald, Cole Porter and Frank Sinatra. Many of these artists were interviewed live on WCCC. The station was in the basement, which Savitt would refer to as the “lower mezzanine level." WCCC was one of the first stations in the state that had music and news, and they sold "T N T" to our advertisers, which was time news and temperature, which was a big thing on the radio in those days. The call letters WCCC stood for “We Cover Connecticut’s Capitol”. Many of the stars come down to the hotel's Blue Room to visit WCCC; Eugene Normandy, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Rosemary Clooney. Bill Savitt was a very savvy businessman with a knack for promotion. According to newspaper accounts, by 1950 he was running over 400 spots a week for Savitt Jewelers on WCCC, and the same amount on four other competing Hartford stations! Later he would become one of Hartford’s most prolific TV advertisers. The WCCC studios were located along the left-hand side of a basement hallway, within aroma-reach of The Bond’s downstairs kitchens. The largest room featured a glass paneled wall from which visitors could view whatever was happening during studio usage. The studio contained a grand piano and an RCA cutting lathe for making 10, 12, and 16-inch disc recordings. The studio had a doorway that led to a much smaller step-up studio that also had a doorway that led into the control room. Each room had windows looking onto each other. The small studio was used for newscasts and/or celebrity seating during live interviews. However, nearly all of the on-air originations emanated from the control room. It had an RCA console with RCA rim drive turntables: 2 facing the large studio and one on the opposite side. The announcer sat in a roll-about chair at the console mike and behind him were storage slots holding acetate discs filled with locally produced commercials plus factory made vinyl discs supplied by ad agencies. Above the shelving were two Magnecord PT-6J tape recorders. In the mid sixties WCCC moved its studios and offices to 11 Asylum Street in Hartford and changed to a hugely popular "All Request" format which was simulcast in part on WCCC-FM. AM 1290 was one of the few stations in the country ever owned by a record label, in this case Elektra (1960s). Sy Dresner purchased the station in the early Seventies and by the mid-Seventies the station had switched to a rock music format. National commentator Paul Harvey was heard on WCCC for close to two decades. In 1980, the station was moved to 243 South Whitney Street in Hartford. For a brief time in the early eighties WCCC ran a talk format. In 1998 Marlin Broadcasting purchased the station from Sy Dresner's Greater Hartford Communications Corporation and moved the station to 1039 Asylum Avenue in Hartford with an Active Rock format.

In 1990 the station lost its lease on the AM tower site on South Quaker Lane in West Hartford and constructed a new tower at its FM site on Avon Mountain in West Hartford to allow both AM and FM stations to utilize the site. This necessitated the change in city of license from Hartford to West Hartford.

Howard Stern started his radio career as a morning host at WCCC in the late seventies (he also met his first producer, Fred Norris, at the station). He returned to WCCC (via syndication) in 1995 before leaving radio for satellite broadcasting in 2004. Other notable hosts over the years were Bob Crane, Fred Norris, Ivor Hugh, Rusty Pots, Stoneman, The Ozzman, The Lich, Sebastian, Picozzi and the Horn and Country Paul Payton.

In 2002 WCCC stopped simulcasting its sister FM station and started an all classical format originated by beethoven.com, a Marlin Broadcasting subsidiary co-located at the Asylum Avenue studios.

WCCC used the call letters WTMI between 2002 and February 1, 2007. Formerly those call letters belonged to an FM station in Miami, Florida, USA. Beethoven.com originated as a part of that Miami classical FM station on 93.1.

For six months in 2005 WCCC originated programming each Saturday morning from West Hartford center.

In 2005 WCCC started carrying various West Hartford sporting events live on the air, including hockey, softball, basketball and football from both Conard and Hall High Schools.

In April 2007 the programming of WCCC was added to the HD-2 channel of sister station, WCCC-FM (106.9 MHz). This was possible using the new HD Radio technology which allows a properly equipped FM station to transmit three or more separate audio programs on a single frequency. In this case WCCC-FM will continue with its Active Rock format on its main channel, and will carry Beethoven Radio on its HD-2 channel.

References

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