WTYD now playing oldies

New London — A local radio station with a light rock format has changed to oldies in hopes of capturing listeners left behind by the recent format change of another regional station.

WTYD, at 100.9 FM, changed at noon Friday to WKNL-FM “Kool 101,” playing ’50s and ’60s hits by the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Elvis and the Rolling Stones among other artists. For the past five years or so, it was playing soft rock by such artists as Celine Dion or Michael Bolton.

“They left a pretty sizable audience on the table,” said James Reed, vice president of Hall Communications of Norwich, which owns the station, about the former WVVE-FM “The Wave.” The New London-based station recently changed over from an oldies format to classic and hard rock, becoming WAKX.

“With our (former) format, we were finding more people wanting oldies, and when The Wave disappeared, that demand increased,” he said.

TYD targeted an audience of 25 to 54, but the new format is aimed at a smaller audience of 35 to 54, Reed said. Hall also owns nostalgia station WNLC-FM at 98.7, a former New London-based operation that was WTYD’s AM “sister” station for years; WICH-AM 1310, oldies and talk radio; and WCTY-FM 97.7, country.

Hall had planned to occupy a Bank Street building for occasional live broadcasts on both NLC and the former TYD. But Reed said the company has purchased a Broad Street building that formerly housed Godfrey Business Machines to convert into new studios for both WNLC and WKNL. He said the studios should be ready by this summer, depending on how quickly construction is completed.

Once that move is made, the company will vacate the former longtime WNLC/WTYD studios on Foster Road in Waterford.

WKNL will have three on-air personalities, including Bill Reese for morning drive time and Danny O’Brien, formerly with WCTY, in the afternoon. Reed said he will be hiring another person.

The former WTYD-FM went on the air in 1970, known as “Tide 101” for years with a “beautiful music” format for about 20 years of nostalgia and standards. It changed to soft rock about 10 years ago.
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