New Haven’s Doolittle Radio Corporation signed on WPAJ-AM in 1922. It became WDRC-AM in 1925. In 1930, Doolittle successfully petitioned the Federal Radio Commission to move the station to Hartford.
In 1926, the station became an NBC affiliate. It switched to CBS in 1930.
WDRC signed on the nation’s first commercial FM station, which started as experimental station W1XPW, in 1939. It aired classical music and later simulcast WDRC.
The station pioneered the use of FM to relay programming to other cities. In late 1939, a sportscast was relayed to stations in Albany, then to Schenectady and back to Hartford using FM signals. It was an important link in The Yankee Network, which used FM radio to feed programming to New England radio stations.
W1XPW became a separate entity in 1940, with its own staff and airing its own programming. The FCC granted the station commercial status in 1941, giving it the call letters W65H. It became WDRC-FM in 1943. The station became WFMQ-FM in 1955 and was sold to General Broadcasting Corporation. The station became WHCN-FM.
Buckley-Jaeger Broadcasting purchased WDRC-AM and an FM construction permit in 1959. The new WDRC-FM signed on in 1959.
Meanwhile, the decline of network radio programming led WDRC to devise a new programming strategy. It dropped CBS in 1960, expanded its local news department and adopted a successful Top 40 music format.
In 1967, WDRC-FM began airing separate programming at certain times. As the Top 40 format continued on WDRC-AM during the 1970s, WDRC-FM adopted an album rock format in 1978 as “D-103.”
By 1980, WDRC-FM flipped to an adult contemporary music format. The AM station evolved toward an oldies format. By 1986, WDRC-AM was affiliated with a syndicated oldies format and the FM station adopted an oldies format.
WDRC-AM switched to adult standards in 1991 before flipping to a news/talk format in 1993.
As of 2014, the AM station is part of a talk simulcast which includes four Connecticut stations branded “The Talk of Connecticut.” WDRC-FM’s oldies format has evolved to a “classic hits” sound.
In March 2014, Buckley Broadcasting announced the sale of WDRC-AM-FM and the other stations of its “Talk of Connecticut” simulcast to Connoisseur Media.
Learn a lot about WDRC’s history, listen to audio and look at pictures on WDRCOBG.com.
Sources: Wikipedia (WDRC-AM), (WDRC-FM), WDRCOBG.com, Hartford Radio History