By SCOTT FYBUSH
*In the space of just a few months, Hartford, CONNECTICUT has gone from being an unusual market with two family-owned broadcast groups to having none.
At 5:00 Friday afternoon, Marlin Broadcasting will pull the plug on the classic rock format at WCCC-FM (106.9 Hartford), ending almost 30 years of rock on that signal.
While it hasn’t yet been officially announced, it’s widely expected that the new owner of the 106.9 signal will be EMF Broadcasting, which will flip the station to a “K-Love” outlet, its first in Connecticut. The new Hartford K-Love will fill the gap between K-Love’s existing signals in the New York area (WKLV 96.7 Port Chester, formerly a Connecticut commercial license) and in southern Rhode Island (WKIV 88.1 Westerly), and it will mark the chain’s first big urban entry into New England, traditionally a tough region for religious broadcasters.
WCCC’s sale comes just weeks after the death of Marlin’s patriarch, Alexander Tanger, at age 94. It’s the second time just this year that the death of a longtime station owner has triggered a sale: Richard Buckley’s death, three years ago today, led to this year’s sale of WDRC-FM (102.9 Hartford) and its four AM sisters. Those stations are now in the hands of Connoisseur, which was reportedly a losing bidder for WCCC-FM and its sister AM station, WCCC (1290). It’s not clear what will become of that 500-watt daytime AM signal, which has been limping along with what’s left of the Radio Beethoven classical format, the last vestige of the Tanger family’s long commitment to commercial classical radio.
In Monday’s full NorthEast Radio Watch column, we’ll have more insight into what happens now in a Hartford radio market that’s down to just two big corporate players, where Connoisseur fits in with its lone FM, and what it all means for listeners in a town where the dial’s suddenly spinning very quickly.
Come talk about what’s happening in Hartford radio! We’re discussing the changes at WDRC-FM and WCCC-FM on the boards at the RadioInsight Community!