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Some of 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.

Here chief announcer Ray Barrett interviews renowned CBS reporter and commentator Edward R. Murrow in the WDRC studios during the late 1930s. (photo courtesy of Deborah Barrett Hatic)

Ray Barrett and Edward R. Murrow

audio - September 24, 1955Russ 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."

During 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.

From 1947-1951, he wrote a weekly column in The Hartford Courant's "Parade On Youth" magazine called "Record Ramblings."

In November 1958, Russ went around to high school glee clubs and recorded them for airing on his "Shopper's Special" morning program.

Five of The Swinging Six

When 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.

audio - May 18, 1965 The Swinging Six did tons of record hops around Connecticut.

audio A 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.

Sandy 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.

It was 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 FM."

ad for Sandy Beach's all-night show

audio - December 31, 1969 Dick McDonough on 24-hour operation.


The changing faces of Dick Robinson

Dick Robinson - 1964
Dick Robinson - 1966
Dick Robinson - 1973
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