When Radio’s Voice Becomes A Whisper

WICC transmitters
WICC transmitters on Pleasure Beach.

Back in the day, Bridgeport was a radio town: WICC, WNAB, WDJZ, WEZN, all with newsrooms and most with regular talk shows to examine issues, events and public officials. NAB, DJZ and EZN are now gone or different animals. WICC remains with Jim Buchanan’s talk show weekdays 4 to 7 p.m. but no reporters on the ground. One of the radio lungs that fed coverage of the state capitol is now hushed, the Connecticut Radio Network, whose voices Steve Kotchko and Mark Sims informed for decades. There’s a price for news gathering and reporting, a price most radio stations cannot, or do not, monetize.

Tiny Markle
Tiny Markle was the dominant radio voice in the 1970s and 80s.

At a Saturday afternoon library forum Downtown, OIB commentator John Marshall Lee lamented the softening radio voices.

Hartford Courant scribe Chris Keating has more on this:

“This is the end of radio’s coverage of the state Capitol,” said Steve Kalb, a professor at the University of Connecticut and a former part-time reporter for the radio network. “There is nobody left. People come in and out, but there is no longer daily, consistent coverage by radio. It is a very big deal.”

The duo has come to know all the recent governors and scores of legislators through the years.

“I never met a guy nicer than Mark Sims,” said former state Rep. Stephen Dargan of West Haven. “Both of them are gentlemen. Both of them were very fair and good journalists. That’s a shock.”

Created in 1973, the Connecticut Radio Network is known to radio listeners across the state, and the voices of Kotchko and Sims are routinely heard on WTIC-AM in the Greater Hartford area and beyond.

The network said in a statement that local radio stations in Connecticut have been purchased by national corporations that have “diminished appetites for news and local programs.” The move to shutter the daily news operation, the statement said, “reflects that market shift.”

Full story here.



  1. The discussion at your event surrounding the absence of news for local consumption, along with the apathy from the Ct Post, has made it almost impossible for readers to stay abreast of local issues, elected officials, progress or lack of in cities and towns. Before the take over of the Ct Post by corporate entities, the reading public were always kept abreast of how their elected officials performed, or didn’t, there was the presence of a reporter at almost every meeting of the City Council, and major Board meetings. It gave voters the opportunity to be informed before casting a vote for officials seeking public office. There are so many disadvantages to the lack of public information it’s no wonder we have individuals holding office that don’t have a clue nor do they have to. Nobody’s watching! Thank’s Lennie for the blog, I’m aware that people all over the State read it. It’s as close to local information as it gets.

  2. Gone is the Jack Bennie show and Amos and Andy but so a so many more. Ed Bear Tough Tony WICC instant request and Flight 60 with Morgan Kaolian. I remember being on my dad’s boat and you could get fishing reports from Flight 60. We have lost so many things with the new technology. I met Tiny Marklet once in the 70’s damn he was tall. My cousin and I would listen to EZN and play chess.

    Old local radio how I miss it.

  3. Wow,Tiny Markle on WNAB,broadcasting from that little building across the street from Washington park.Now there is a great memory from years gone by.God I miss those days…

  4. Real people! Real facts and news!! Real discussions with fair and informed hosts!!! Voices telling stories with the listener judging the results? Questions being asked and responded to rather than a pivot, an ad hominen attack, or an attempt to deflect?? Voices and listening? Back in the day it was not about being physically attractive or dominant visually….intelligence, knowledge, and integrity shown through conversation kept folks informed in a manner that video sound bites fail to accomplish. I there a place for regular and targeted radio sessions these days? Who would you like to hear? On what subjects? At what length? With open call in? Time will tell.

  5. Good Post Lennie. It’s not just radio and newspaper news that has been silenced lately. WTNH News8, Connecticut’s ABC affiliate, is no longer available on Comcast in Fairfield County. The FCC and Nielsen designate the county as being part of the New York media market, so the NYC TV stations have the right to ask the cable carriers to turn off competing network signals. So what? Here’s what. Say what you want about the quality of WTNH’s news product, they do a good job keeping viewers informed about what’s happening (or not happening) in the state house, in the Governor’s mansion, and in our dysfunctional state government in general. Now the only ABC-TV feed that Comcast’s estimated 60,000 Fairfield County subscribers can watch is NYC’s WABC channel 7. Those viewers will certainly be well educated about what’s happening in Trenton and Albany, but not in Hartford.

  6. Back in the early 1980’s a black business from Westchester, NY, Harry Lawson, owned WNAB and they would broadcast City Council meetings. On a trip to WNAB to pickup a prize that I had won from a call in contest, during that time frame I sometimes would call in to their talk shows so when I gave my name the recognize my voice at the same time Mr. Lawson was walking by and he stop to talk to me and invited me to his office. He introduce me to Tiny Markle and Tim Quinn they were talking about how the business works and how they all had worked at different station at the same time.


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