WELI
Frequency960 kHz
BrandingWELI 960 AM and 96.9 FM
Programming
FormatTalk radio
NetworkFox News Radio
AffiliationsPremiere Networks
Compass Media Networks
Ownership
Owner
WAVZ, WKCI-FM
History
First air date
October 1935; 87 years ago (1935-10)
Call sign meaning
Yale University's popular nickname "The Eli", the station being in the university's home city.
Technical information
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID11933
ClassB
Power5,000 watts
Transmitter coordinates
41°22′14″N 72°56′15″W / 41.37056°N 72.93750°W / 41.37056; -72.93750Coordinates: 41°22′14″N 72°56′15″W / 41.37056°N 72.93750°W / 41.37056; -72.93750
Translator(s)96.9 W245DK (New Haven)
Repeater(s)101.3 WKCI-HD3 (Hamden)
Links
Public license information
WebcastListen live (via iHeartRadio)
Website960weli.iheart.com

WELI (960 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to New Haven, Connecticut, and serving the New Haven and Bridgeport areas. It broadcasts a talk radio format and is owned by iHeartMedia, Inc. The studios are in Radio Towers Park on Benham Street in Hamden. It shares facilities with sister stations WKCI-FM and WAVZ. Transmitting towers for WELI are also at this location.

WELI is powered at 5,000 watts, non-directional by day. But to protect other stations on or near 960 AM from interference, at night it uses a directional antenna with a four-tower array.[1] Programming is also heard on 215 watt FM translator W245DK at 96.9 MHz.[2]

Programming

Weekdays begin with a news and interview show, "The Vinnie Penn Project," simulcast on co-owned WPOP 1410 AM in Hartford. The rest of the weekday schedule includes nationally syndicated talk shows, mostly from Premiere Networks: The Glenn Beck Program, The Sean Hannity Show, The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, The Jesse Kelly Show, Coast to Coast AM with George Noory and This Morning, America's First News with Gordon Deal from Compass Media Networks.[3] World and national news comes from Fox News Radio with WELI newscasters supplying Connecticut news for both WELI and WPOP.

On weekends, WELI airs syndicated shows including At Home with Gary Sullivan, Sunday Night Live with Bill Cunningham and Somewhere in Time with Art Bell, as well as repeats of weekday shows. WELI Sports Director George DeMaio Jr. hosts a Saturday morning show.

History

Early Years

WELI signed on the air in October 1935; 87 years ago (1935-10). It originally was a daytimer on 900 kilocycles, powered at 500 watts and required to go off the air at night. The station was owned by the City Broadcasting Corporation, with studios at 221 Orange Street in New Haven.[4] With the station located in the same city as Yale University, whose sports teams are nicknamed "The Elis," the station chose WELI for its call sign. Over the years, the station broadcast live Yale Bulldogs or Elis sports, since many of its listeners have been Yale students, faculty and alumni.

With the enactment of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA) in 1941, WELI and most other radio stations, were required to move to a different frequency. It switched to 960 kHz, getting night time authorization. It was powered at 1,000 watts by day, 500 watts at night. WELI was a network affiliate of the Mutual Broadcasting System, carrying its dramas, comedies, news and sports during the "Golden Age of Radio."[5]

Shows in the 1930s, 40s and 50s

In its early decades, WELI had local musicians play live music. A weekly program Poetry and an Organ, broadcast in the late 1930s, starred organist Don Raphael.[6][7] Other musicians heard regularly on WELI in the 1930s and 1940s included organist Marion J. Reynolds, who was the station's musical director since its first day, pianist Margaret Shepard, the Esther String Trio, the Continental Trio directed by violinist Sy Byer, Ray Block's Swing Fourteen, and Charles Magnante's accordion quartet.[8] The Polish Eagles Radio Show, featuring Polish language and Polish instrumental music and hosted by Victor Zembruski, aired every Sunday on WELI during the 1950s.[9] The station's singers included Millicent Scott, Edith Jolson, and Louise DeMars. Dick Carlson hosted the record request and dedication show Danceland Ballroom.

WELI also had Italian language shows. George Mazzacane's 2-hour-long L'Ora Italiana, aired on WELI for seven years until his death in 1943, included Italian opera records and news about Italy and Italians relevant to the local Italian American community.[10][11] George Padovini and Luigi diFant presented news in Italian.[12]

Other local shows regularly heard on WELI in its early years included What Are You Reading? with Elida Sterling, about novels, Stories of the Stars with Lewis Doolittle, about astronomy, and Theater News on the Air about live performances. WELI also aired many local sports games and tournaments, including tennis, golf, basketball, and baseball. Meet the Eagles was hosted by Will Cude, the goalie of the local professional ice hockey team, the New Haven Eagles.

Clear Channel Ownership

In 1984, Clear Channel Communications, the forerunner of iHeartMedia, acquired WELI.[13] For much of the 1960s and 70s, WELI had a full service, middle of the road format of popular adult music, news, talk and sports. But with Clear Channel ownership, the station scaled back its music programming, adding more talk shows. By the 1990s, WELI had made the transition to an all-talk station.

Jerry Kristafer was the host for The WELI Morning Show from 1998 until 2008 when he moved to WDRC-FM 103.3 in Hartford.[14] The show was replaced by the syndicated Imus in the Morning show from WABC New York City.[15] In 1998, WELI again began broadcast college football games of the Yale University Bulldogs.[16]

WELI had carried The Rush Limbaugh Show from noon to 3 p.m. for many years. Limbaugh died in February 2021 and WELI aired repeats of Limbaugh's show for several months. When it was discontinued in June 2021, the station replaced it with The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show. Other national shows formerly heard on WELI include The Mark Levin Show, The Savage Nation with Michael Savage, The Laura Ingraham Show, Kim Komando Computer Show, Dr. Dean Edell, and Jim Cramer's Real Money Talk.[17][18][19]

References

  1. ^ Radio-Locator.com/WELI
  2. ^ Radio-Locator.com/W245DK
  3. ^ "960 WELI - New Haven's News, Weather & Traffic Station".
  4. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1937 page 58
  5. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1942 page 114
  6. ^ "New Haven" (PDF). Radio Daily. December 2, 1937. p. 6. Retrieved February 24, 2022.
  7. ^ "New Haven" (PDF). Radio Daily. February 11, 1938. p. 3. Retrieved February 24, 2022.
  8. ^ "WELI: New Haven's Own Station" (PDF). Retrieved February 24, 2022. ((cite magazine)): Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  9. ^ "Polish Eagles Show" (PDF). Broadcasting, Telecasting. March 29, 1954. p. 86. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  10. ^ Trotta, Liz (1994). Fighting for Air: In the Trenches with Television News. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press. p. 37. ISBN 9780826209528.
  11. ^ "George Mazzacane" (PDF). Broadcasting. February 15, 1943. p. 45. Retrieved February 24, 2022.
  12. ^ "WELI: New Haven's Own Station" (PDF). Retrieved February 24, 2022. ((cite magazine)): Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  13. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1987 page B-53
  14. ^ Maryellen Fillo (December 22, 2007). "Change at the Morning Mike at WDRC-FM". Hartford Courant. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  15. ^ "WELI Adds Imus". All Access. Retrieved January 4, 2008.
  16. ^ Rubin, Sam (2006). Yale Football. Arcadia Publishing. p. 120. ISBN 9780738545325.
  17. ^ "NEWS/TALK 960 WELI ON-AIR SCHEDULE". Archived from the original on 13 August 2002.
  18. ^ "NEWS/TALK 960 WELI ON-AIR SCHEDULE!". Archived from the original on 12 March 2005.
  19. ^ "960 WELI". Archived from the original on 13 February 2009.