|Broadcast area||Central Connecticut|
|Frequency||1080 kHz (HD Radio)|
|Branding||WTIC NewsTalk 1080|
|Affiliations||Boston Red Sox Radio Network|
CBS Radio News
|Owner||Audacy, Inc. |
(Audacy License, LLC)
|WRCH, WTIC-FM, WZMX|
|Founded||December 17, 1924|
First air date
|February 10, 1925|
Call sign meaning
|Founded by the Travelers Insurance Company|
|Repeater(s)||96.5 WTIC-FMHD2 (Hartford)|
Public license information
|Webcast||Listen live (via Audacy)|
WTIC (1080 kHz "WTIC NewsTalk 1080") is a commercial AM radio station in Hartford, Connecticut. It is owned by Audacy, Inc. and airs a news/talk radio format. The station's studios and offices are located on Executive Drive in Farmington. The transmitter is located off Deercliff Road in Avon, Connecticut. WTIC is the primary entry point (PEP) for the Emergency Alert System (EAS) in Connecticut.
WTIC is a Class A, clear channel station powered at 50,000 watts, the maximum permitted for U.S. AM stations. It has a non-directional signal in the daytime. To protect the other Class A station on AM 1080, sister station KRLD in Dallas, WTIC uses a directional antenna at night, when radio waves travel farther. The signal can be picked up throughout Southern New England and parts of Vermont, New Hampshire and New York by day. With a good radio, WTIC can be heard over much of the Eastern United States and Eastern Canada at night.
WTIC features both local and syndicated shows. The station is an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox Radio Network. The station features local newsbreaks, as well as news from CBS News Radio. WTIC's newsroom has more than a dozen newscasters and reporters, and is staffed 24 hours a day.
WTIC is the second oldest radio station in Connecticut, after WDRC, which went on the air in 1922. It was first authorized on December 17, 1924, and began a series of test transmissions later that month. The station began regular programming with a debut broadcast on February 10, 1925. The call letters reflected the station's ownership by the Travelers Insurance Company.
The station was among the first affiliates of the NBC Red Network, carrying its schedule of dramas, comedies, news, sports, soap operas, game shows and big band broadcasts during the "Golden Age of Radio". By the 1930s, WTIC was powered at 50,000 watts, originally at 1060 kilocycles. In 1941, when the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA) went into effect, WTIC moved to its current dial position at 1080 kHz.
WTIC is known for its historic time tone, which is a broadcast of the Morse code letter "V" every hour on the hour, which has been in place since 1943. This makes it one of the oldest continuously broadcasting radio time tones in the world. WTIC employs a GPS master clock system that fires the custom-built time-tone generator shortly before the top of the hour, timed such that the final tone of the sequence occurs precisely on the hour (even though everything else heard on the station is on a 10-second delay), and listeners have been setting their watches to WTIC for many years. The notes of the sequence were pitched to mimic the famous opening sequence of Ludwig van Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, whose "short-short-short-long" rhythm matches that of the Morse code letter "V". The Morse code letter "V" for Victory was selected during the height of World War II.
Main article: Bob Steele (broadcaster)
WTIC's original studios were in the Travelers Insurance Building at 26 Grove Street in Hartford. Grove Street was later renamed Bob Steele Street in honor of longtime WTIC personality Bob Steele, who spent 66 years on WTIC, most of them as the morning drive time host. He joined the station in 1936. At one point, nearly a third of all radios in the Hartford area were tuned to Steele's wake up show. Even after retiring from weekday mornings in 1991, he continued hosting Saturday mornings until his death in 2002 at age 91.
In 1940, WTIC began experimenting with FM radio, putting W1XSO on 43.2 MHz on the air. It later became 96.5 WTIC-FM. In 1957, it added a TV station, Channel 3 WTIC-TV. As network programming moved from radio to television in the 1950s, WTIC-AM-FM switched to a full service, talk radio and middle of the road format of talk shows, popular music, news and sports. In the 1960s, WTIC-FM started playing blocks of classical music in the afternoon and evening, eventually ending its simulcast of 1080 WTIC. By the early 1970s, WTIC began playing more music and became more of an Adult Contemporary full service format, though talk remained evenings.
In 1973, Travelers Insurance announced it would divest its broadcasting properties. Channel 3 was sold to the Post-Newsweek Corporation (now the Graham Media Group) in 1974, switching its callsign to WFSB. WTIC-AM-FM were sold to a group of its managers, doing business as the "Ten-Eighty Corporation". Also in the 1980s, some more talk shows were added to WTIC's line up. In the 1980s into the 1990s, as fewer listeners tuned to AM radio for music, WTIC added more talk programming, eventually eliminating the music shows.
In 1991, Bob Steele decided to retire from hosting weekday mornings. Tom McCarthy had already begun doing the early part of the morning shift and took over the entire 5:30 to 10 a.m. time slot. In 1998, CBS Radio acquired WTIC-AM-FM. The acquisition ended WTIC's 70-year affiliation with NBC Radio; since then it has aired CBS Radio News updates. Its former television sister had been Connecticut's CBS affiliate since 1958.
In December 2008, the station made several programming changes. Former WTNH-TV anchor Diane Smith was dropped from the morning show she hosted with Ray Dunaway. Smith later joined the University of New Haven journalism department. "Sound Off Connecticut" hosted by conservative Jim Vicevich had an hour added to his show. The station continued to carry Rush Limbaugh at noon, but the afternoon drive personality, vocal liberal Colin McEnroe, was dismissed and his time slot replaced with a three-hour local and national news roundup.
On February 2, 2017, CBS Radio announced it would merge with Entercom. The merger was approved on November 9, 2017, and was consummated on the February 17.