Fri Nov 20 12:32:57 EST 2009
Worcester was indeed a thriving radio market for many years. During
the '60s, WORC and WAAB both had Top 40 formats and were hotly
competitive; WNEB, the smallest of the bunch, held the CBS affiliation,
and was oriented toward older listeners; and WTAG, the kingpin, was
with NBC, had a full-service format, and a powerful regional signal
that went well up into New Hampshire and Vermont. It was arguably one
of the most prominent stations in New England, which adds to the
mystery as to why it would pass in the TV license.
As for the NBC affiliation, though WTAG was one of the first NBC
affiliates, it left the network in 1943, if memory serves, to join CBS
(formerly with WORC). It would have been during the time of its CBS
affiliation that the station started building its TV studio. WTAG
dropped CBS in the late fifties and was independent for several years
before reaffiliating with NBC around 1966. It remained with the
network through the Westwood One transition, returned to CBS in the
early nineties, and is now with Fox.
Dick Wright, the former GM of WTAG, got together with some his
colleagues and tried to buy the station from the T&G before the
newspaper was sold to the San Francisco Chronicle. Didn't happen,
Quoting Kevin Vahey <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
> Worcester was a thriving radio market up until 30 years ago. WTAG,
> WORC, WNEB and WORC all did well.
> People forget that Worcester was the second largest city in all of
> New England.
> The city tried many things, such as the downtown mall that failed and
> the Centrum that worked for awhile. The airport was and is a disaster
> which is sad because in another location it could be as big as
> Providence or Manchester as a regional airport.
> The Turnpike by-passing Worcester didn't help and is similar to how
> Philadelphia suffered when the NJ Turnpike was built. To this day
> Philly drivers have no direct slam dunk route to NYC.
> Providence was perhaps worse off than Worcester but turned things around.
> Who knows what the NY Times will do with the T&G. I suspect they may
> fold it and publish a Central Mass edition of the Globe if they can't
> sell it.
> Had WTAG-TV launched you can only wonder what the landscape would be
> like today. If they had become a NBC affilate which given the strong
> relationship TAG had with NBC I suspect that as ownership rules
> changed NBC would have bought the station and when channel 4 became
> CBS in 1995, NBC would have made a move similar to what happened in
> San Jose-San Francisco.
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