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WTIC (AM) studios moving out of Hartford

        It's been interesting to hear the on-air staff this week at WTIC
(AM) complain and make fun mercilessly of the management decision to move
the studios out of downtown Hartford. They're being consolidated with the
other Hartford CBS stations in a suburban Farmington office park building.
IMO, it's pretty unusual to hear such a steady pounding of on-air remarks
criticizing a radio station's management.

        The move is imminent, although the local program hosts seem to be
vague about exactly when, for reasons I can't figure out. They certainly
have been talking plenty this week about the move. Sunday is August 1, so
maybe that's the trigger date.

        Ever since it was announced last year, the WTIC folks have been
making fun of the move on the air. Last fall, some Hartford community
leaders protested and even held a demonstration. The Hartford Courant wrote
about it, so it became a public topic right away.

        Some of the hosts refer almost always to the move as moving to "the
swamp" in Farmington. Afternoon co-host Colin McEnroe today was hilarious.
He said everything's gone from the old place on the 19th floor of the Gold
Building except the barest essentials of equipment. WTIC-FM moved a couple
weeks ago. The sandwich machine vanished the other day. Today the regular
computer was pulled out and the water cooler was removed. It's like being
on a star base knowing the resupply ship is never coming, he said. He told
his audience that the water cooler going out made him believe that
management wouldn't be satisfied until "we have to drink our own urine." He
claimed the mosquitos out at the swamp are as large as house cats. He
called the office park in Farmington the Toxic Fill Office Park.

        During morning drive, I heard Bruce Stevens (filling in this week
on mornings) appear to go out of his way to point out that he could see how
the traffic was moving around downtown Hartford out the window. The sports
guy was doing his AM drive reports from the golf course for the local PGA
tournament and none of the audio cuts would come in, and he blamed the
"breaking down" of the station in preparation for the move to Farmington
for the technical glitches. But the bean counters win in the end.

        The station is going to the building where CBS already has
consolidated its other Hartford stations. It's long been the site for
WRCH-FM (and was for a long time also home for WRCQ (AM) ). The WRCQ
four-tower antenna array is just over there--in the swamp.

        I suspect that as soon as Monday WTIC will not broadcast from
studios in downtown Hartford for the first time since it went on the air in
1925. It's basically only been three places--the Travelers Insurance
Company tower; next door to it in the channel 3 TV building they put up in
the '50s, and now across the street from the Travelers Tower since the
early 1970s. Time will tell if the relocation changes the station's on-air
"personality" in any subtle ways. I will bet that the hosts won't continue
an on-air tradition by proudly proclaiming occasionally that they're
broadcasting "from high atop the first floor of Farmington Office Park." On
second thought, maybe they will. To make fun of it.