Man From Mars Productions
24, 1930 - WDRC closed its studios at the Hotel
Taft in New Haven and moved the equipment to Hartford.
5, 1930 - At 5:00PM, WDRC greeted its new audience
with live music programs from studios in the Corning Building at
11 Asylum Street. The transmitter was housed at 783
Blue Hills Avenue in nearby Bloomfield. WDRC became the
76th affiliate of the CBS Radio Network.
11, 1930 - CBS officially welcomed WDRC to its
roster with a nationwide hookup from 10:30-11:30PM. Governor John
H. Trumbull and Hartford Mayor Walter E. Batterson were among the
speakers. The Guy Lombardo and Ben Bernie orchestras were featured
1931 - The licensee name was changed from Doolittle Radio
Corporation to WDRC Incorporated.
- Franklin M. Doolittle
asked the Federal Radio Commission for authority to increase power
from 500 to 1,000 watts. He submitted a detailed financial statement
indicating WDRC made a net profit of $34,787.96 in 1932 on
its investment of $5,000.
September 23, 1933 - Power was increased to 1,000
13, 1934 - A routine FRC license renewal application
revealed that WDRC Incorporated was owned as follows:
New Haven Broadcasting Co., of Hartford, 50%; Sam Pickard,
of Rye, NY, 22.4%; Lawrence W. Lowman, of New York, 22.4%.
Lowman was an executive with CBS.
27, 1934 - The FRC authorized an increase to 2,500
watts day, 1,000 watts night.
1934 - A new transmitting station was built at
785 Blue Hills Avenue in Bloomfield,
40 feet from the original structure.
1935 - The station began utilizing a new 310-foot
tower at the Bloomfield transmitter site. Click
for photo; note 3 towers.
every well-dressed 1934 Plymouth needed - a WDRC license
Smith newspaper ad: October 1, 1935.
10, 1936 - Daytime power was increased to
shot of WDRC's building at 750 Main Street in Hartford; Traveler's
Tower is to the right.
1936 - New England sustained $100 million damage
in a series of deadly floods. WDRC provided coverage
by candlelight when heat and lights went out in downtown Hartford.
for a photo of 1936 flood coverage.
- Doolittle received permission to operate W1XSL, one
of twelve "Apex" AM high frequency stations on an
experimental basis. It was built on the west peak of Meriden
Mountain and operated at 40,300kc (40.3mc) with 1kw of power.
16, 1936 - WDRC moved from 11 Asylum Street
to new studios in the 16th floor penthouse of the Hartford
Trust Company (later Connecticut Bank & Trust) building at
750 Main Street in Hartford.
1936 - WDRC featured Joseph Blume and his
Famous Blue Room Ensemble. Click on ad (below right)
for a larger view. Blume's son, Jerry, would be a staff announcer
for photos of 1936 studios
14, 1937 - Bloomfield renumbered Blue
Hills Avenue so WDRC's transmitter property became
26, 1938 - W1XSL changed its name to W1XPW.
1938 - WDRC operated daily from 7:00AM to
1:00AM. It's slogan was "The Advertising Test Station in
the Advertising Test City."
a display of WDRC logos
over the decades click on the image to the right.
Advertising Test Station in
the Advertising Test City
30, 1938 - The station aired what became one of
the most infamous broadcasts of all time - The Mercury Theater's
production of War of the Worlds on CBS. Directed by,
and starring, Orson Welles, the hour-long drama about an imaginary
invasion of New Jersey by Martians genuinely terrified the
nation. The front page of the next morning's Hartford Courant
detailed the extent of the local reaction but never mentioned
WDRC by name. The article merely said: "Upon
learning from a local broadcasting company that it was a play,
[a Courant telephone operator] repeatedly explained it
to callers, but in many cases so frenzied was the hysteria,
she was unable to convince them it was fictional and not real."
to read more about War of the Worlds.
9, 1939 - The FCC granted WDRC's application
to use a 100 watt transmitter developed by Dr. Edwin H. Armstrong
to conduct tests of ultra high frequency modulation. The authorization
included tests from 86,000 to 400,000 k.c. and frequency width
up to 200 k.c.
13, 1939 - At a cost of $20,000, Doolittle put
America's first commercial FM station on the air at 2:39PM,
as experimental station W1XPW. It was on the air from
3PM-12M, airing classical music, and later simulcasting WDRC.
All FM promotion and production was supervised by announcer
Bob Provan (right).
for photos of Meriden Mountain
1939 - W1XPW began operating on a regular
schedule at 43.4 MHz. The transmitter and 90 foot steel mast
were atop Meriden Mountain (elevation
1939 - Announcer Jack Zaiman read a sportscast
over W1XPW. It was relayed, without wires, to FM stations
in Albany, then to Schenectady, then back to Hartford, all
without static. No one heard the broadcast except for the
engineers at each station because there were few FM sets in
27, 1939 - The Federal Communications Commission approved
an AM power increase to 5,000 watts day and night; construction
on a multi-tower directional array began.
4, 1939 - W1XPW participated in another frequency
modulation triple rebroadcast. W2CR in Yonkers, NY broadcast a program
which was picked up and rebroadcast by Major Edwin H. Armstrong's
station W2MN in Alpine, NJ, then picked up and rebroadcast a third
time over WDRC's FM sister station atop Meriden