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The Hartford Daily Times - December 12, 1930

Click for enlargement

November 24, 1930 - WDRC closed its studios at the Hotel Taft in New Haven and moved the equipment to Hartford.

December 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.

December 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 performers.

March, 1931 - The licensee name was changed from Doolittle Radio Corporation to WDRC Incorporated.

June, 1933 - 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 watts.

The Hartford Daily Times, Tuesday, December 2, 1930, p.23
The Hartford Daily Times,
Tuesday, December 2, 1930, p.23


Aerial shot of WDRC's building at 750 Main Street in Hartford; Traveler's Tower is to the right.
Aerial shot of WDRC's building at 750
Main Street in Hartford; Traveler's
Tower is to the right


Click for photos of 1936 studios


February 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%. Pickard and Lowman were both CBS vice presidents.

April 27, 1934 - The FRC authorized an increase to 2,500 watts day, 1,000 watts night.

October, 1934 - A new transmitting station was built at 785 Blue Hills Avenue in Bloomfield, 40 feet from the original structure.

December, 1935 - The station began utilizing a new 310-foot tower at the Bloomfield transmitter site. Click for photo; note 3 towers.

1934 WDRC license plate frame

(Left) What every well-dressed 1934 Plymouth needed - a WDRC license plate frame!

(Right) Kate Smith newspaper ad: October 1, 1935.

January 10, 1936 - Daytime power was increased to 5,000 watts.


The Hartford Courant, October 1, 1935
The Hartford Courant, October 1, 1935


March, 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. Click for a photo of 1936 flood coverage.

1936 - 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.

May 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.

September 1936 - WDRC featured Joseph Blume and his Famous Blue Room Ensemble. Click on ad (right) for a larger view. Blume's son, Jerry, would be a staff announcer from 1959-63.

September 14, 1937 - Bloomfield renumbered Blue Hills Avenue so WDRC's transmitter property became #869.

January 26, 1938 - W1XSL changed its name to W1XPW.

mid 1938 - WDRC operated daily from 7:00AM to 1:00AM. It's slogan was "The Advertising Test Station in the Advertising Test City."

For a display of WDRC logos over the decades click on the image to the right.

ad in The Hartford Daily Courant - September 21, 1936

Advertising Test Station logo
The Advertising Test Station in
the Advertising Test City

Orson Welles
Orson Welles

October 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."

Click to read more about War of the Worlds.

January 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.

May 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).

W1XPW transmitter building on Meriden Mountain
Click for photos of Meriden Mountain

October 1939 - W1XPW began operating on a regular schedule at 43.4 MHz. The transmitter and 90 foot steel mast were atop Meriden Mountain (elevation 1,000 feet).

November 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.

late 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 use.

December 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 Mountain.

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