the broadcast industry's major air talent have spent time
behind a WDRC microphone. And certainly it had personalities
long before the pop music era began in 1960.
announcer Ray Barrett interviews renowned CBS reporter and
commentator Edward R. Murrow in the WDRC studios during
the late 1930s. (photo courtesy of Deborah
Naughton was a major celebrity during his 17 years at
WDRC (1942-59). He hosted several programs, but was
known mostly as the host of the morning "Yawn Patrol"
and "The Old Music Box."
World War II, many male announcers went into the service creating
numerous staff openings for women. Jean Kirwan was one of
them, becoming a WDRC engineer. Jean and Russ' courtship
was often the subject of the social columns in local newspapers.
he wrote a weekly column in The Hartford Courant's "Parade
On Youth" magazine called "Record Ramblings."
1958, Russ went around to high school glee clubs and recorded
them for airing on his "Shopper's Special"
WDRC dropped CBS and launched a pop music format, Charlie
Parker billed his airstaff as The Friendly Five (the
originals were Ron Landry, Art
Johnson, Jerry Bishop, Jim
Raynor and Gene Anthony).
When the staff expanded to six in September 1963, they were renamed
The Swinging Six. This particular group was the primary weekday
staff in 1966; "Long John's other brother," Don,
was the sixth, filling in for the regulars and hosting Saturday
and Sunday shifts.
The Swinging Six did tons of record hops around Connecticut.
hallmark of the early 1960s WDRC sound was a standard
intro that was played leading into Oldies But Goodies. The
underlying music was a Mercury Records release, Play
Those Oldies Mister D.J., recorded in 1963 by Anthony
and the Sophomores; the voiceover was by Jerry Bishop. The
song didn't go far on the national charts, but Big D listeners
remember it vividly.
Beach owns the distinction of being WDRC's first
all-night host (sort of). For a while in mid-1966, Sandy
kept the station on after the normal 1:00AM signoff time
each Saturday night.
something of a tradition to remain on the air all night
New Year's Eve. Long John
Wade did it in 1964 and 65; Bradley
Field did it in 1968 and 69. On January 1, 1970, Dik
Haddad became the permanent all-nighter as WDRC
began broadcasting "48 hours a day...24 AM and 24
Dick McDonough on 24-hour operation.