The Rock 106.9 WCCC: The End of an Era

WCCC is undoubtedly the heart of Hartford. Despite the station coming to an end, we still have the memories to celebrate. I can sit here and talk about corporate greed and unfortunate decisions, but it is simply not worth it. A year and a half ago, I spoke out on here about the format change to classic rock on the station. That was when I felt we, as a rock community, still had a fighting chance. I have to accept, with a heavy heart, that this battle is over. It would be of no use to fight back with anger and harsh words. What’s done is done. The fifth stage of loss and grief is acceptance and that is where I have arrived.

While it is disappointing to see many talented individuals out of work (especially at somewhere that they truly loved), I am beyond grateful that this area has been able to turn the dial to 106.9 for many years to hear not only the latest rock songs from bands new and old, but to hear the charm, charisma, and passion of dedicated DJs. I see radio as something that is slowly fading away, at least in regards to getting modern rock out there. Yes, I can turn to getting Sirius, but I love having that hometown connection with hearing my heroes such as Mike Karolyi and Miss Klonk on the air. I was actually starstruck when I met Miss Klonk for the first time at her famous Klonkaroke event. But these are the representatives of this generation, individuals who love rock music and care as much about the listener as they do about entertaining the masses. Mike Karolyi has that signature radio voice where when you hear it, you have a sense of comfort and excitement, leaving all of your day’s worries at the door.

The Rock 106.9 has introduced me to countless bands and songs over the years. It was through a tough time in my life that I heard Dead Sara’s Weatherman for the first time and as soon as I got home, I scanned the site’s Music Log to find out who this new, amazing band was. This is the same station that had the balls to play Steel Panther, turning me into a fan of that band for life. I will never forget how surreal Big Gig 2012 was. It will always be one of my favorite concerts ever. They went all out on it and knocked it out of the park.

WCCC was an era that changed the lives of many, those on the air and those who were listening. I listened live to the final minutes of the station with an emotional Mike Karolyi giving a heartfelt goodbye and one last song, Walk by Pantera. I felt anger and frustration at this moment and for several days after, those last few minutes felt like putting a pet down. I had to find a way to take that anger and frustration and turn it into passion by doing something productive. That is why I recently reached out to the bands that WCCC has supported over the years. I feel that the most fitting tribute I can give is from those that the station has given the spotlight to over the years. From the bottom of my heart, thank you WCCC for changing my life.

“The Rock 106.9 FM. WCCC has been a crucial part in building my name and music career in the CT. & MA markets. They were willing to take chances on new underground independent bands that sounded good like both my projects like Gargantua Soul and my current band Dead By Wednesday. But one hand washed the other, we fully supported the radio station back as well bringing Craig the Pornstar on stage live with Gargantua Soul at our Woodstock ‘99 performance. We also took him with us to Los Angeles, California when we flew to the Universal Studios to film the music TV show, Farmclub.com, where he met all of the Wu Tang Clan and hung out with all of Rage Against The Machine since we were managed by their tour manager. Things just got better and better and we all just got tighter and tighter together as a crew and a family. I have always supported them and always will even through their rough times, I tell people the deal. It’s sad to see them go and I wish them them all the best. Much love & respect! RIP WCCC ” – Opus of Dead By Wednesday

“WCCC was a part of my life since I can remember. In fact, I almost got fired from a job delivering auto parts cause I stopped at home (this was in the days before cell phones) and called in to the Mel and Frank show. It was a dumb idea, but as big fan, I kind of had to check in once in a while.” – Philip Labonte of All That Remains

“The first word that comes to mind with WCCC is loyalty. The reasons are fairly simple yet traumatic! On our first national tour as a band, Evans Blue had literally lost a drummer in the middle of the night and on April 1st (April Fools Day) he has taken off and we woke up to one less member. A few days later was our show in Hartford. With a new drummer being with us for only hours and playing our first show with 106.9, we hadn’t even considered not playing and realized the only way to do it was acoustically, Opening for TAPROOT ACOUSTICALLY! But we did and it would have been easy to dismiss us as a band that couldn’t keep it together on the road and forgotten about us but they didn’t. We got the support that night for sticking it out under unthinkable conditions (at the time) and even through member changes in the future with our singer, they also didn’t turn their back and played new songs when it was a battle all across the rest of country to find a little faith in us. It means a lot to a band like us and it will never be forgotten.  From my brothers and family in Evans Blue, Thank you!” – Joe Pitter of Evans Blue

“If Absolom of old were a hermaphrodite, that is how thoroughly and hopelessly I am about to date myself. I remember when I was new to the national scene and working with my record company reps, I overheard the astounding fact that there was only one viable rock station in the whole of New England area that wasn’t under the thumb of the corporate giant: Clearchannel media. The same company that is to thank for the otherwise inexplicable degree of exposure of all things Nickelback-like. Yes, kids. Every time you ask why music today sucks, it is Clearchannel you can thank. Anyway, I heard the reps say “Well, it’s actually good, so Karolyi will play it if he has room.” The beacon of light was established from that moment in my mind. In the following years and many, many visits to the Hartford area I began to ally myself with Karolyi and his lieutenants, off-air getting the latest battle reports from the venerable “Craig the Porn Star” and “Nervous Rex” These guys were as close to a real life heroes for art and virtue as you are going to get outside of a Tolkien novel. I watched them bravely battle on against impossible odds, despite massive pay cuts and the hard choices of forced layoffs. They were so dedicated that it seemed some personalities were working for free. They supported music of integrity in any form and went out of their way to show it even if an artist was not in their listening area. These guys had an, at times, inconvenient level of integrity. If they didn’t like a single of mine, they wouldn’t play it! I wish that I still lived in this strange world I described where a program director instead of a national mandate directed the programming or that the personalities were personable and everything worked the way you’d think it does and there is variety of choice around the nation. But I travel the nation and know it is not so. I begin to question if this memory were a white elephant, if the many, many dear friends and fans of Hartford region were a delusion and the force of the mythic WCCC ever existed. Its times like this I pick up the phone and call Rex to say, “I’m thinking about you buddy! How’s everybody else doin’?” Because real, genuine people can never really lose in their endeavors. Even if they put down the sword, their past contributions and ongoing commitment are a lifelong obligation and I consider myself lucky to call them “my good friends”.” – Hurt

“Hartford, The Webster and WCCC. Three things that were near and dear to Nonpoint’s hearts. Every time we saw an east coast date and saw Hartford, I knew that we were visiting the station and they would come to the show. Always killer to see that WCCC Hummer outside the Webster. Did not matter when we went there, the support of that station always made a Hartford show not only a concert, but an event. How sad it was when we heard that WCCC would close its doors. That a relationship was going to be gone and radio support would be gone with it. We got messages upon messages from friends and fans always giving us the reports of how much WCCC played us. We could not have been more grateful that a ten plus year relationship was so strong. Now that WCCC has closed it doors, Hartford will never be the same but our fan base there will always be strong and that we have to thank WCCC for. To all of the people that worked there, we can’t thank you enough for the support you gave Nonpoint. You gave us a dedicated fan base, life, and even our last show there was amazing despite you not being an active rock station anymore. It was amazing because of the years of your support. Still our favorite WCCC event was the paintball contest with the fans, Fiver Finger Death Punch and Drowning Pool. Hope that someday again you will open your doors in the Hartford area.” – Nonpoint

“I’m so thankful to everyone at WCCC for believing in Beware of Darkness and spinning our music. You are the most important players on our team, literally delivering our music to people and fans. Every time we get a spin on the radio, it’s a dream come true. Just know how important you have been to the success of this band. So thank you.” – Beware of Darkness

“There are few stations who have done so much for rock music – WCCC is on that list and will forever remain that way. There goes fucking rock music in Hartford. RIP.” – Candlebox

“Lansdowne, among countless other emerging acts, benefited from how inclusive WCCC was. From building our base with nationals to on-air features, we were proud and humbled to be associated with such a strong rock brand.” – Lansdowne

“WCCC is and will always be a great rock radio station. It’s sad to see them closing their doors after all these years. They have supported Theory of a Deadman since day one and it’s tragic to see yet another great company shutting down. Hartford is one of our favorite cities to play, the fans are great and so was THE ROCK. We wish everyone over there the best of luck and hope to see you soon!” – Tyler Connolly of Theory Of A Deadman

“Truly the end of an era. The Rock 106.9 has closed it’s doors. How do you ever take off the number one preset on your radio? Are the sinners not wanted anymore? Radio will never be the same in CT. Rock concerts hosted by the coolest station around won’t feel the same, they always brought the party ten-fold. Just hearing them introduce the bands would get you pumped! They were all outgoing, outspoken, funny as hell, and just badass In my eyes. Those guys were genuine people that said what they thought. Real people, true fans of rock music and to me, themselves, were like rockstars. As far back as I can remember, I’ve always listened to WCCC. Anytime heading north from home in Milford was an enjoyable trip because you finally started getting nice clear reception on my favorite radio station. When my band, Down Monday and I first writing and getting the band together we would say how AWESOME it would be if we were ever to get some play on WCCC. That was like one of our highest hopes actually. Not even national radio or worldwide, WCCC. In my own little world, that was the coolest thing I can think of. When we were in the studio recording the album we saw the flyer that they were holding the “Homegrown” competition. A contest where fans get to vote for the best song from the local bands including some killer prizes and incentives for the winner. At the time, I was kind of keeping the band quiet. We wanted to take our time writing and in the studio so that when we did come out, it was with a bang. But with that opportunity popping up, we really had to press to get a good mix of the a song to submit something. We chose the song “I Know” because we figured that was probably the best song for the station. You never know how people are gonna take to your music but it was great to have that opportunity to get exposed to so many people that we may not have way before we planned on even coming out. We did not ultimately win the competition, but we were fortunate to win the second of three rounds. With that we had the privilege of being the featured artist on “Hit or Diss”. We were getting really good traction on the voting poll and it was kind of cool and funny to see people for one giving us a lot of love on The Rock’s Facebook page and also on the other hand to see a bunch of people blasting us with these guys are “cookie cutter” and “Nickelback wannabes” to the point where they were actually giving the station shit as if it was their fault we were getting votes. You can’t help but to take it as a compliment. It was really cool to hear our tunes played, to have “I Know” and “Make Believe” on Hit or Diss. And to have a few talks and interviews on air, as well as playing a few shows on behalf of the station. Not because we were friends with them, but because they dug our tunes! We were fortunate to befriend some great people from the station because of our music which means so much more to us. On behalf of me and my band Down Monday, we will forever be honored and be grateful for our brief stint on the radio. The badass legacy that all the staff, fans, and bands that The Rock WCCC created. We salute you and thanks for the memories!” – John Ryan of Down Monday

“WCCC was a huge reason we loved coming to Hartford, they supported us since day one. They were bringing New Rock and All Rock to Hartford. We always felt excited to play there knowing the rock army was strong in Hartford. A piece of the rock community has been lost and it’s so sad to see this. People need to unite before this happens everywhere. We hope we can still bring the Rock to Hartford, but it will definitely be more challenging for bands without such a powerful rock station supporting the artists.” – Rick DeJesus of Adelitas Way

“We grew up listening to rock music on WCCC. I gained my love for guitar and rock by listening to Karolyi, Stephen Wayne and company over the years. The music coupled with the individual personalities of the staff made the station a favorite to listen to. Recently, WCCC’s Miss Klonk hosted and promoted our release party for our newest album “Wake Up!”. They mentioned the event several days leading up to the event and they helped us have one of the best events we’ve ever been a part of.  Thank you for supporting the music scene and getting the music heard. Having our shows promoted on “What’s Going On?” helped get our name out there and helped start the band in the right direction. We have nothing but love for you all at WCCC and wish you all well in all your future pursuits. You will be missed.  -Jimmy Sixx of Fatgrip

“Words can’t express how sad we are to hear that 106.9 WCCC is no more. From the amazing fans, great staff, and memorable Xmas Acoustic shows, WCCC has been pivotal in catapulting Pop Evil to the next level. Hartford, CT and 106.9 will always have a place in the hearts of all of us members in Pop Evil!” – Pop Evil

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