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For many years in the 1940s and 1950s central Connecticut youth had a voice in the media thanks to a unique collaboration between WDRC and The Hartford Courant newspaper. Each week during the school year, the radio station aired a Saturday morning program called Parade of Youth.

The radio program shared the name of a tabloid supplement which appeared in each Sunday's Courant. The first Parade of Youth was published November 24, 1935 by a Washington, D.C. newspaper syndicate. Originally a four-page publication, the Courant greatly expanded Parade of Youth in later years. It was a place to learn what Connecticut high school students were doing and a forum for young people to express their ideas on issues of the day.

Correspondents from each school earned the standard byline rate - 15 cents per inch - to write news and feature stories about their peers. Courant education editor James F. Looby started advising Parade of Youth in 1937, and was appointed its editor in 1939. He held that post until his retirement in 1975. The tabloid was discontinued shortly after.

Hartford Courant - April 27, 1942
The Hartford Daily Courant
April 27, 1942

 The Hartford Courant - November 22, 1947
The Hartford Daily Courant
November 22, 1947
Hartford Courant Education editor James F. Looby, founder of WDRC's Parade of Youth.
Courant Education editor James F. Looby

WDRC's longtime involvement with The Hartford Courant began in earnest in October 1944 with the inauguration of live broadcasts from the newspaper six nights a week. There was obvious cross-promotional value for both parties.

The radio version of Parade of Youth began in 1947. It aired Saturday mornings at various times through the late 1950s. While James F. Looby was the usual host, WDRC personnel were regular guests.

Each week half a dozen Connecticut high school students gathered to discuss various topics in front of a live studio audience. Over the years, thousands of teenagers took part.

Mary Coleman prepares a deejay progam on WDRC in February 1949

In the photo (right) panelists discussed "What Does America Mean To Its Youth" in October 1951. In the front row are (l-r:) Abert Jacobucci of Holy Trinity High School, Gloria Labesky of Holy Trinity High School, and James Mora of Berlin High School. In the back (l-r:) are WDRC program manager Harvey Olson, James Gould of Berlin High School, Claire Fortin & Edward Lucas of Hartford Public High School.
WDRC's Parade of Youth panel on October 28, 1951
WDRC's Parade of Youth panel
on October 28, 1951

The Hartford Courant - February 12, 1949

An important feature of the Parade of Youth was WDRC announcer Russ Naughton's recurring Record Ramblings column which appeared in print from July 27, 1947 to April 25, 1954. He wrote about new recordings of the day and the artists who performed them.

It should be noted that for many years The Hartford Courant also distributed PARADE, "The Weekly Picture Newspaper," that was first published on May 31, 1941. In 2008 it is still a going concern, appearing in more than 400 newspapers.

Over the years there were other opportunities for young people to appear on WDRC. The photo and article to the left appeared in The Hartford Courant on February 12, 1949, reporting on the disc jockey debut of the teenage daughter of Hartford's mayor.




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