Tim Quinn’s Amazing Run

I grew up with Tim Quinn. His voice was usually the first I heard in the morning from my sophomore year in high school until Friday morning when he delivered his final newscast on WICC after a 36-year run.

No one in radio had better pipes or a quicker wit than Quinn. He is a national voice that decided to stay local. I met him my senior year in high school in 1976 during a two-week internship at WICC and The Bridgeport Post. He was a young man in the radio business talking to a teenager interested in a communications career.

His was the voice I heard during the long lines and short tempers of the gas shortage in the late 1970s. When Gov. Ella Grasso, the first woman governor in the USA elected by the people, died in 1981 from cancer his voice notified me with the following words: “The suffering is over for Ella Grasso. She has died.”

He was there for the organized crime hits, the sweet-and-sour Mayor John Mandanici, the court fight between Mayor Lenny Paoletta and Police Superintendent Joe Walsh, the L’Ambiance building collapse that claimed 28 lives in downtown Bridgeport, the election of the city’s first woman mayor Mary Moran and her subsequent municipal bankruptcy filing in federal court, the election of the city’s youngest mayor Joe Ganim, his successes and downfall, and a whole bunch more.

Quinn moved me in ways I could not have imagined. After I screwed up 10 years ago and appeared before a federal judge to say so in 2001, Quinn’s words about me on the morning newscast are indelible: “Lennie Grimaldi will be writing his next book in a prison jumpsuit.”

Son of a bitch, after hearing that, I had to write something before that happens, even if it sucks. In 2002, I wrote Connecticut Whistle Stops, a journey of the towns along the train line from Greenwich to New Haven. Yeah, I know, you never heard of it.

Quinn had the ability to rip out your throat with a question or observation, but in his later years at WICC he stopped asking the tough questions. Whether it was mayors Joe Ganim, John Fabrizi or Bill Finch he fundamentally decided every time he had them on for the regularly scheduled first Monday of every month it was an insufferable exercise in slowpitch softball.

Here, let me lob it to you; if you lie I don’t care. He never ever challenged them because he wanted to make sure they kept coming on the show. Worse yet, if a caller challenged the mayors he’d cut them off.

There was also a time he’d only interview advertisers during his Coffee Break chat. Not Quinn’s fault, orders from corporate.

And that in the end is why Quinn was let go after a marvelous career at WICC: it had nothing to do with his talent, and everything to do with his salary as Cumulus Media, the station’s mega communications owner, had to cut back with declining revenues in this sucky economy in this most cold-blooded of industries.

I don’t know if Quinn wants it, but it would not surprise me to see him land in a high-profile job. He’s that good.



  1. Ben Franklin’s relevant quote for 2009: “those things that hurt, instruct”. I feel the pain and I’m learning fast.

    BEST WISHES to Tim Quinn, Brian Smith, David Smith and Paul Pacelli. If radio were an Olympic Event, you’d all have Gold Medals!

    However, Clark Howard remains a syndicated PUKEHEAD.

  2. Best Wishes to Tim Quinn; had a firm understanding of the issues, movers and shakers in his listening area and the state. The station will suffer without him. It is said that the people who look at the bottom line only factor in salary and ratings, not talent, goodwill, advertiser loyalty or potential for creating a new and better news vehicle. The best thing about WICC was keeping people informed about what is happening locally and in the state, and their ability to do that was just reduced significantly by losing Quinn.

    HereWeGo–I actually live in the hundred acres wood 😉

  3. National pipes Tim has … indeed … worked with him many years ago when I needed to cast a voice who sounded like a “radio announcer,” and no one would be better at *this.* … Cumulus and other conglomerates, so few companies owning so much media; out-of-town controllers, pulling strings, pulling content away from local–“local” communities, “local” interest, “local” news; and worse yet … “local” talk radio … the heyday of WICC in the ’80s remember? … Tim and Tiny Markle, Dave Feda and Ron Ropiak, the wonderful Ray Gardella was GM, Gary Peteres the PD and Jack Becker … WDJZ–Russ Knight–voices for the community–places for the community to talk it out–and *that* is why I said earlier, OIB fills such a niche … it is a different world.

  4. Lennie

    If u have to leave the Bridgeport bloggers hanging for a whole weekend, u have to leave on a more controversial note than WICC. How ’bout who is gonna be our next mayor if the erection were tomorrow?

  5. Great reminiscences about days gone by. How about some discussion about the present state of affairs and the future of this city? Local radio and local newspapers seem to be going away.

    Time to stop dreaming about what was and worrying about what’s to come. In a good economy we would be doing the opposite, stopping worry of the past and dream of what we can become. Welcome to the changing world!!!

  6. Tim Quinn was an institution, a part of Bridgeport’s proud history. I feel like I grew up with him too. He was a true professional and will be missed. Now WICC will bring in some outsider who won’t know who the mayor was prior to Finch and who won’t be able to pronounce Geduldig or Iranistan and who won’t understand or appreciate Bridgeport’s many cultures. Too bad. Really too bad.

    The sun is bright and warm today and I am trying to be optimistic about our future. Mayor Finch gives his state of the city address before the BRBC this week. Lennie–did you get a free ticket??!!?? Wonder if it will be the same ole speech or if he’ll have some words of wisdom or optimism. We can really use a good dose of both.

    The employee morale at City Hall and the Annex is worse than anyone has ever seen. It’s not so much because of the economy or the layoffs, it’s because of the tone of this administration. Most of the dept. heads don’t value the employees, especially those of us who have been around the block a few times. There’s still so many really good, experienced employees. If they were recognized for their knowledge and ideas, it could make a difference. But people like Feeney, Carroll and Sherwood are so defensive about their own lack of knowledge that they won’t give anyone a chance. They put people down in an attempt to make themselves look good. It is so out of control. Finch is a bright guy, I don’t understand why he doesn’t see what’s happening and try to reverse it.

  7. No Joel I haven’t touched the stuff in over 20 years. Seriously though, those guys will walk right past you as if you were invisible. It’s like they think they’re better than everyone else. The arrogance is amazing.

    1. Funny thing Smoker … those guys are Fabrizi guys and I have never seen John walk by anyone without extending his hand and saying hello … you’d think they woulda learned something from their former boss.


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