12 Reach Connecticut Broadcasters Hall of Fame

The 60th annual convention of the Connecticut Broadcasters Association (CBA) this week featured more than an array of informative seminars for radio/tv sales, news, programming, production, engineering, and technology professionals.  The attention-grabber was the first-ever induction ceremony for the newly launched CBA Hall of Fame. The honorees were a who’s who of broadcasting history in the state, including some very familiar names, and some less so.  Earning their place in the Hall of Fame were NBC Connecticut anchor Gerry Brooks, WFSB anchor Denise D’Ascenzo, WDRC talk show host Brad Davis, FOX 61's Al Terzi, WWUH general manager John Ramsey, WMRD sportscaster Bill Glynn, Radio Cumbre Broadcasting president/CEO Pablo de Jesus Colon Jr., NBC CT engineer Joe DiMaggio, Cox Radio's Rick Ferguson. Recognized posthumously were WTIC sportscaster Arnold Dean, WCCC and WHCN veteran Boyd Arnold, and WMRD’s Ed Henry.Medallion Front Color

“The Connecticut Broadcasters Association has served the common interests of radio and television broadcasters in our state since 1955 and, ultimately, the Connecticut community statewide,” Klarn DePalma, chair of the Connecticut Broadcasters Association, said in announcing the group of inductees earlier this year. “We have created this ‘Connecticut Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame’ to honor remarkable individuals for their long and particularly distinguished service to the broadcasting industry and to the people of Connecticut.”

Boyd Arnold was one of the founders of the Hartford Radio Association and a longtime board member. He was a partner and VP/GM of Beck-Ross Communications’ WHCN(FM), and later, for Marlin Broadcasting’s WCCC(FM). A mentor for numerous radio professionals, Boyd was involved with the Connecticut Broadcasters Association for as a board member, treasurer and president.

In addition to his TV work at WFSB and NBC Connecticut, Gerry Brooks began his career as news director for WAVZ(AM) radio in New Haven, and as a reporter for WMAS radio in Springfield, Mass. He then worked as sports director at WPOP news radio in Hartford while also serving as weekend sports Anchor for WVIT and provided color for University of Connecticut basketball games on the Connecticut Radio Network.

Pablo de Jesus Colon Jr. pioneered Hispanic radio in Connecticut. He spent two decades at WLVH in the roles of radio announcer, PD, sales manager and executive vice president. In 1989, he co-founded Radio Cumbre Broadcasting, WCUM in Bridgeport, and today is its president and CEO.

Denise D’Ascenzo is a nine-time Emmy Award and seven-time Associated Press-winning journalist who also has earned distinction as the longest serving news anchor at a single TV station. She came to Channel 3 in 1986 and is host of “Advancing Medicine.”

Brad Davis began working at a radio station in Chicopee, Mass., in 1956. He was hired by Channel 3 (then WTIC) to host “The Brad Davis Show” for 11 years. Prior to joining WDRC, he also did radio work at WTIC-AM. And, since 1977, he has continuously hosted his own early morning talk show on WDRC that now also is heard on WMMW Meriden, WWCO Waterbury and WSNG Torrington, on the Talbroadcastersk of Connecticut network.

Arnold Dean, joined WTIC-AM in 1965, was its sports director and the originator of the station’s nightly sports talk program, and did play-by-play for a range of live sports broadcasts. He also hosted music shows on the station.

Joe Dimaggio began his engineering career at WVIT in 1968. When he started in the industry he worked on 16mm and black & white film as a camera operator. He has done everything from lighting shows to operating master control, and then to his long career in engineering management.

Richard Ferguson retired in May 2006 after more than 40 years in radio. He served as chief operating officer and later as EVP of Cox Radio starting when Cox acquired NewCity Communications, a radio group he co-founded and led as president/CEO. He was a member of the Cox Radio Board from 199cba7 through 2006, and continues to consult. He has also served multiple terms as chairman of the NAB. Prior to founding NewCity Communications, he was president of Katz Broadcasting Co.

Bill Glynn of Wethersfield is the “voice” of high school sports and minor league baseball in Connecticut. He began his broadcasting career with WMRD in Middletown (originally WCNX).

Ed Henry hosts “Polish Melodies Show,” which airs every Sunday on WMRD and WLIS(AM), Old Saybrook, for 65 consecutive years.

John Ramsey, of West Hartford, entered the industry as a part-time announcer at the University of Hartford’s WWUH(FM) in 1970, and became a broadcast engineer in 1978. He currently is general manager of WWUH and is secretary of Chapter 14 of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, president of the Torrington Community Radio Foundation (licensee of WAPJ-FM in Torrington), and is the webmaster for HartfordRadioHistory.com.

Al Terzi has news anchored at three of Connecticut’s TV network affiliates over the past 47 years. He began his career at WTIC as a staff announcer in 1968. He stepped down as a daily anchor last year, but still co-hosts the station’s weekly political show “The Real Story.”

Established in 1955, the Connecticut Broadcasters Association is celebrating its 60th year as a respected industry leader in legal, governmental, education and community issues on both the State and National levels. Members include broadcast TV stations, radio stations, vendors and companies with a business interest in broadcasting, educational facilities, and individuals with involvement in the broadcasting industry.

Member radio and TV stations also participate in Connecticut Broadcasters Association public service campaigns supporting the work of the Connecticut Department of Public Safety’s Office of Statewide Emergency Telecommunications – Emergency Alert System (EAS) and AMBER Alert programs, among other efforts.

Highlight videos for the 12 inductees:


Hartford's WPOP Goes Back to the Future with News, Talk Format

The goal, in the latest format change among local radio stations, is to become “the go-to station for news, weather and traffic” in the Hartford market.  WPOP, with a lengthy local history that features incarnations as a pop music station, all-news station, and sports talk station, has again assumed the moniker of “NewsRadio 1410 WPOP”, last used nearly two decades ago. Owned by iHeart radio, which has hired a new program director due in the Capitol City from a major market in the coming weeks, the newly rebranded station aims to make the transition to a news format that responds to and reflects the preferences of the local audience, according to Dave Symonds Sr., Vice President of Programming for iHeart Radio in Hartford.logo new WPOP

“There is a huge upside to the format change.  We did a lot of research and there was a high degree of dissatisfaction with the non-sports news talk programming” available in the Hartford market, Symonds said.  Regional Market President Steve Honeycomb added"It’s been almost 18-years since the all-news format was heard on WPOP 1410AM. We’re excited to bring back News Radio 1410 WPOP, an iconic brand and station focused on News, Traffic and Weather to serve the Hartford community, in the iHeartMedia line-up.”

The new WPOP-AM line-up will, at the outset, include mostly syndicated national programs including a daytime focus on financial news and The Vinnie Penn Project, which has been heard on WELI in New Haven since 2011.  The program will now be heard 6-9 AM on both stations, with an additional hour, 9-10 AM exclusively on WPOP.

“There are a lot of shared issues in New Haven and Hartford,” Symonds points out.  The program will originate in New Haven on some mornings, in Hartford on others. iHeart radio stations in Connecticut, formerly Clear Channel stations, include KC101, KISS95.7, The River 105.9, Country 92.5, 97.9 ESPN, and 960 WELI and WAVZ  in New Haven.

The new station's programming line-up will include: The Vinnie Penn Project    6-10 a.m. The Financial Exchange    10 a.m-12 p.m. Bloomberg  Radio               12:00p.m.-3 p.m. Howie Carr                            3-6 p.m. (based in Boston) Mark Levin                            6-9 p.m. America Now                        9 p.m.-12 a.m.

Most recently, the station had aired a sports/talk format including Fox Sports Radio content. Years ago, from 1956-1975, it was a pop music station, the inspiration for the station’s call letters.  The station routinely battled WDRC for the rock’n’roll music audience, before FM radio came to dominate that format.  In August 1972 it was announced that TV entertainer Merv Griffin's company, January Enterprises Inc., was buying WPOP for $2.75 million. Griffin, who came to town to visit the station, took control the following March, according to published reports.  Just a few years later, the music died on WPOP.  On June 30, 1975, WPOP abandoned music programming in favor of the new (and ultimately short-lived) NBC Radio News and Information Service.  But a news station in Hartford was born.

The station maintained an all-news format, which included local news/talk programming, for more than two decades, before the switch to sports talk programming in 1997 (first ESPN, than FOX in 2012).  Among the local newscasters who spent time at WPOP in its all-news heyday are Gerry Brooks, Scott Gray, and Joanne Nesti, whose careers blossomed at other radio and television stations in the market.  Numerous WPOP veterans went on to broadcast news careers around the country.

Those interested in hearing the new format can tune into News Radio 1410 WPOP on the station’s website, www.newsradio1410wpop.com, and through the iHeartRadio mobile app. Hartford is part of Nielsen radio market No. 52. WPOP is a 5 kW day/night station on 1410 kHz.

The Hartford market currently has other locally originated and syndicated news and talk programming.  Connecticut-based Connoisseur Media purchased a group of stations in the state including the WDRC-led “Talk of Connecticut” stations, anchored by the weekday morning locally originated Brad Davis Show.  The remainder of the broadcast schedule on WDRC-AM (as well as simulcast on WMMW Meriden, WWCO Waterbury and WSNG Torrington) consists of nationally syndicated programs, including Kilmeade & Friends, Dave Ramsey, The Savage Nation, The Schnitt Show, The Lars Larson Show and Overnight America.wpop newsradio

WTIC-AM 1080 broadcasts the local Ray Dunaway show and Jim Vicevich program weekday mornings, before moving to nationally syndicated programs, including Rush Limbaugh, for the remainder of the broadast day.

WNPR, part of the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, has locally originated talk programs including Where We Live, weekday mornings at 9 a.m. hosted by John Dankosky, the Colin McEnroe program each afternoon, and Faith Middleton’s long-running talk program weekday afternoons.

There is no word yet on whether WPOP will have local news reporters, as WTIC and WNPR, or news programming beyond local newscasts during the syndicated talk shows.  Those decisions will be made, officials say, as audience feedback to the new format is evaluated and the new program director settles in.  Although iHeart Radio has news and talk formatted stations in other markets across the country, Symonds said the approach taken for WPOP will be “customized for Hartford.”

[Logos for WPOP in its news formats - new logo above left, 1980's logo lower right.]