Connoisseur Media flipped Classic Hits 102.9 WDRC-FM to Classic Rock “102.9 The Whale” around 10:30 this morning. The launch came after a brief loop of the Brass Bonanza theme song of the NHL’s defunct Hartford Whalers.
The flip comes following the demise of Classic Rock 106.9 WCCC-FM last summer and Connoisseur’s shift of WDRC-FM from pop-leaning Classic Hits to Rock leaning, which alienated many former listeners while not doing anything to bring former WCCC-FM or other new listeners aboard. “The Whale” gives the station a fresh start without the now destroyed WDRC-FM branding.
Chaz & AJ based at sister Rock 99.1 WPLR New Haven remain in mornings. Allan Lamberti moves from afternoons to middays, former WCCC PD Michael Picozzi joins for afternoons, and former WCCC host Klonk takes nights.
Update 1/11: Connoisseur now has 1029TheWhale.com live with a splash page claiming “Hartford’s Classic Rock is back online & in HD-2. Coming Soon.” However, we’re not sure we buy that as anything other than a decoy as the company has also registered some additional domains: 1029Boom.com, 1029TheBigD.com, 1029TheBull.com, ElGato1029.com, and Radio1029.com. Besides the fact that the last brand is already used in the Hartford market, why would a company go out of its way to register decoy domains for a pending HD/online launch? We’ll keep watching this one for further movement.
Original Report 1/8: The defunct Hartford Whalers aren’t returning, but it may be time to strike the Brass Bonanza again.
When Connoisseur Media took over Classic Hits 102.9 WDRC-FM Hartford last summer it quickly revamped the station with a Classic Rock lean as opposed to the Pop lean it was known for. However, even with the flip of Classic Rock 106.9 WCCC-FM to Christian AC “K-Love” weeks later, the revamped WDRC-FM has shown little momentum ratingswise.
So of course when that happens it becomes time to rebrand. Connoisseur has registered 1029TheWhale.com for the station. With WCCC-FM gone will ditching the “DRC-FM” branding be enough to allow the station to become the only Rock oriented station focusing primarily on Hartford? Both Saga’s “Rock 102” WAQY Springfield, MA and Connoisseur’s 99.1 WPLR New Haven (whose Chaz & AJ morning show is simulcast on WDRC-FM) are heard throughout parts of the Hartford market, but do not target it primarily for sales.