Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Nights At WICC And WJZZ-FM

WICC had a sister station, WJZZ-FM; true to its call sign, it had a jazz format and what we called “Phase II” of its second-year operation was live broadcasting from some watering hole in downtown Bridgeport. The “Pink Elephant Lounge” in the Hotel Barnum, if memory serves.

WJZZ was located in what could have been a janitor’s closet at the WICC complex in Fairfield, Connecticut. A large closet, certainly, but the entire operation was in just that one small studio, into which were three turntables and two large Ampex studio tape machines the size of an apartment washing machine. Plus a control board.

So we did this remote broadcast from the Pink Elephant. I don’t know why the announcer there didn’t have a radio so he could hear us giving him his cue, but he didn’t. He was in a phone booth instead, and I was on the other end, in the WICC newsroom. Then the fun began, with FM’s studio door open.

When Dave Brubeck’s show ended, the FM announcer shouted “GO!” and I’d hit the “press-to-talk” switch on the phone, tell the Pink Elephant announcer “GO” and he’d start talking on his mic, hang up the phone and walk across the stage, introducing the act with the only mic assigned to the show.

Meanwhile, on the AM side between the FM studio and the newsroom, the hits just kept rolling. Everything sounded so smooth on both sides.


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