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WTIC (AM): Wikis


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City of license Hartford, Connecticut
Broadcast area Hartford, Connecticut
Branding NewsTalk 1080
Frequency 1080 kHz
First air date February 10, 1925
Format News/Talk
ERP 50,000 watts
Class A (Clear channel)
Facility ID 66464
Transmitter coordinates 41°46′39″N 72°48′17″W / 41.7775°N 72.80472°W / 41.7775; -72.80472
Callsign meaning Travelers Insurance Corporation (former owners)
Affiliations CBS News
Owner CBS Radio
Sister stations WRCH, WTIC-FM, WZMX
Webcast Listen Live

WTIC (1080 AM) is a 50,000-watt radio station operating out of Hartford, Connecticut, broadcasting news and talk radio. Its signal, located at 1080 kHz, can be picked up throughout southern New England by day and over several states as well as parts of Canada by night. It is currently operated by CBS Radio.

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 a fraction of a second before the top of the hour, timed such that the final tone of the sequence occurs precisely on the hour, 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 very first few stations in the world to achieve that power level. The transmitter, affectionately referred to as "old number one" was the very 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.

Perhaps 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 only with his death on December 6, 2002 at the age of 91. Steele continued to broadcast a Monday-Friday morning show for WTIC well into his seventies; 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, novelty songs, silly jokes, and a regular "Word of the Day" segment - even long after WTIC itself had abandoned music for a focus on news/talk) remained virtually unchanged throughout its entire history, making it perhaps the longest-running radio program in history to have never undergone a significant format change.

The station continues to enjoy strong popularity. However, 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.[1] The station airs a sports show in the early evening which usually is a warm up to Red Sox baseball or UConn Huskies basketball. The station is also the broadcast home for the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League

WTIC's call letters stand for the station's original owners, the Travelers Insurance Corporation[1]; however, the station no longer has any affiliation with that company.


  1. ^ Collins, Michael. "Time Line For Connecticut Broadcasting". Connecticut Broadcaster's Association.  

External links

  • Northeast Airchecks, with an aircheck of their switch to 50,000 watts in 1929
  • 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 1970's, 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.
  • Query the FCC's AM station database for WTIC
  • Radio Locator Information on WTIC
  • Query Arbitron's AM station database for WTIC


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