Changes At WDRC

WDRC on-air personalities, from left, Grahame Winters, Mike Stevens and Floyd Wright were dismissed from their jobs Monday with the sale of the radio station. (Courant File Photos / July 7, 2014)

Connoisseur Media became the new owners of former Buckley-owned radio stations in Connecticut Monday, making termination of most of the WDRC FM personalities, the general manager and the program director the first order of business before announcing plans for a new format for the state's oldest radio station.

Word of which on-air personalities were let go spread fast via social media and phone calls. By late afternoon Connoisseur Media CEO Jeff Warshaw confirmed the names of four on-air personalities who were dismissed: show hosts Mike Stevens, 'Rockin' Ron Sedaille, Floyd Wright and Grahame Winters who also served as program director.

During a telephone interview Warshaw declined to comment further about staff dismissals.

Other sources said those let go included Buckley family member and Vice President/General Manager Eric Fahnoe.

“Out at Big D. Been a great 30 years plus,” wrote Stevens on his Facebook page shortly after he learned he would not be staying on. '“Good luck to the new folks”

“Unfortunately I didn't make the cut with the new company,” wrote Winters on Facebook. '“ had a great ride at the Big D.’’

“In life, one door closes another opens,’’ wrote Sedaille on his Facebook page after the dismissals.

Hanging on to his WDRC AM show was veteran personality Brad Davis.

A press release distributed late Monday confirmed that representatives of Buckley Broadcasting and the Westport-based company officially closed on the sale for an undisclosed amount Monday before meeting with staff individually. The sale also included other Buckley Connecticut stations WMMW AM in Meriden, WWCO AM in Waterbury and WSNG AM in Torrington.

“We were blessed for 57 years to run these radio stations,'“ said a subdued Fahnoe after leaving the Bloomfield-based station for the last time. “I hope they continue the legacy of being an institution in Hartford. “

The release said some Connoisseur employees will be “elevated’’ including Southern Connecticut Connoisseur General Manager Kristin Okesson who will oversee the Hartford stations. Okesson oversees WPLR, WEZN, WFOX, and WYBC. WYBC is owned by Yale Broadcasting;Connoisseur Media operates under a joint sales agreement.

Warshaw would only say that the station’s programming will be classic ‘70s and ‘80s music without disco. He also said morning hours will feature music and personalities will carry the airtime afternoons.

Connoisseur was founded in 2004 by Warshaw and Mike Driscoll. The company owns 40 stations in 11 markets across the country including WPLR, WYBC, the Fox and star in Milford, Connecticut.

WDRC AM is considered the oldest radio station in Connecticut, begun in 1920 in New Haven by Franklin Doolittle Radio Corp., eventually relocating to Hartford and then to its current location in Bloomfield.

Buckley Broadcasting became part owners in 1957, eventually taking over the entire station in 1959, establishing itself as the premiere rock-and-roll station in the 1960s and 1970sm eventually spotlighting “oldies” in later years.