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Man From Mars Productions

Jim Harrington
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In February 2007 Jim Harrington answered a series of questions about his years as an air personality at WDRC AM/FM in Hartford, Connecticut.

Q: OK, tell me about the childhood radio influences that convinced you to go into the biz.

A: I grew up in a small town in southeastern New England. It was a time when television was unsophisticated and radio was still magical. I remember listening to WPRO which was THE undisputed radio giant in that area. Salty Brine, Charlie Jefferds, Dave Sennett, Joe Thomas, Dick Robinson (who I became friends with at WDRC) and Andy "Big Ange" Jackson were the radio 'stars' of my youth. As I began to pay more attention to radio, I discovered other great stations like WBZ in Boston, WABC in New York and even WKBW in Buffalo. I became a fan of Jeff Kaye, Dick Summers and Dan Ingram.

WDRC's Jim Harrington
WDRC's Jim Harrington

My very first non-paying job in radio was on "Youth Keeps In Touch" on WALE in Fall River Massachusetts. My first paying job was in the summer of 1967 at WCOD-FM in Hyannis Massachusetts (it's first year on the air). My first 'rock' job was doing weekends on WKFD in North Kingstown Rhode Island (500 watt daytimer with a great signal). I worked at WPRO-FM in Providence for a short time (they were easy listening at the time), then WGIR when I attended Saint Anselms (I didn't graduate from St. A's...I was in too much of a hurry to get into the 'biz'. As a matter of fact, I ended up getting my BA just this past year, from Thomas Edison State College in Trenton NJ which, by the way, is a great school. Nothing like a little 35 year pause between semesters, huh?). From WGIR I went to WSAR, then WICE and then on to THE BIG D.

Q: You found yourself jocking at WICE where, I believe, Bob DeCarlo was not only PD but an institution. In January 1970 he left for Big D. Was that a surprise?

A: Bob was a superior talent and the PD responsible for really 'discovering' me. I haven't seen him in years but I can tell you that he was a great guy. When he went to WDRC I was disappointed. I loved working with him; he taught me a great deal. A couple of months later, my patron saint of radio, Charlie Parker called and before I knew it, I was working with Bob again at WDRC.

Q: Did Bob have anything to do with your getting a job in Hartford?

A: I don't really remember. I know that I became much more aware of the station when Bob took the job. Don Berns, who had worked part time at DRC, was the evening jock at WICE and he used to say great things about Charlie and the station.

Q: Do you remember the interview process? What were your first impressions of Charlie Parker?

A: It started with me slicing and dicing an aircheck in the WICE production studio. I can remember thinking that that tape would never get a full time job in radio. When I was summoned to Hartford by Charlie, I was a nervous wreck. After all...it was with THE Charlie Parker. By this point in my career, I KNEW of Charlie. His reputation preceded him. But I wasn't with Charlie five minutes before I was totally mesmerized by this amazing man. He put me totally at ease...and I think I was hired that very afternoon. I can remember thinking that I was going to make more money than my old high school principal (Who needed college right?).

 
  WDRC FM program schedule - June 15, 1970

Q: You were hired initially to do midnight to 6AM on WDRC FM, replacing Terry Woods who had moved to the midday shift. Whose idea was it to bill you as "J.K. Harrington," and why didn't that last?

A: It was a time when J.J. Jeffrey was a star at WRKO and using your initials was 'cool.' I think Charlie had the good sense to suggest that I use my full name. Looking back...I'm glad he did.

 

 

Q: In those days Charlie was still trying to feel his way around an FCC requirement mandating that FM stations could only simulcast AM stations 50% of the time. Given the limited overnight audience did it make a lot of sense to have two different overnight shows on WDRC?

A: You know, I never really thought about it! I guess it did. Charlie's 'A Team' was on the AM and it probably made more sense.

Q: At first Dik Haddad was across the glass enclosure doing the same shift on Big D 1360; did you guys interact much?

August 1972 - (l-r) Richard Varsell, WDRC's Jim Harrington and Martin Fleming
August 1972 - WDRC's Jim Harrington (center) presents a check representing proceeds of a rally club autocross to (l) Richard Varsell of Williams Ford Sports Rally Club and (r) Martin Fleming of Camp Courant
 
  A: As you know, with the old studios at 750 Main, we sat facing each other. You couldn't help but interact with the guy facing you on the opposite side of the control room. But you did have to concentrate on what you were doing.  
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