About FOX61 WTIC
FOX61: A look back in time
1979 – Arnold Chase, whose father owned WTIC radio at the time, decides to build an independent TV station after seeing “The China Syndrome,” which stars Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas as broadcast journalists.
1983 – Arch Communications, owned by Chase, receives a construction permit. Chase originally wanted to use the call letters WETG to honor the late Governor Ella T. Grasso who had recently died. Another station had those call letters and Chase went with WTIC. WTIC had been used by what is now WFSB until 1974. The letters originally represented Travelers Insurance Company.
1984 – The station is constructed in One Corporate Center at 20 Church St. in Hartford, which is also known as the Stilts building, because the tower is on stilts over the base where the studios are located. The transmitter is located on Rattlesnake Mountain in Farmington.
The station is the first in New England to broadcast a stereo audio signal when it goes on the air September 17, 1984 with a gala event hosted by TV star Eddie Albert and veteran radio host Bob Steele, with former President Jimmy Carter in attendance.
Albert starred in two shows shown on the station, “Switch,” and “Green Acres.” The station also broadcasts reruns and syndicated programming. The station signs off the air at night with the traditional “Star Spangled Banner” and a dedication to Ella Grasso.
1986 – WTIC becomes one of the first Fox affiliates in the country as the network launches on October 9, 1986 with one program, “The Late Show” with Joan Rivers. However financial problems lead to litigation and eventually, the station is acquired by Chase Communications which owned the radio stations.
1987 – In April, WTIC carries the first night of Fox Network programming including “Married With Children,” and “The Tracy Ullman Show.”
1989 – “The News At 10” premieres on April 10, 1989. The thirty minute broadcast airs Monday through Friday anchored by Pat Sheehan and Beth Carroll with Rich Coppola on sports and Roger Griswold on weather. Not long after, it expands to the weekend.
1992 – Chase Communications merges with Renaissance Communications which owns several other stations around the country, including WTXX in Waterbury. WTXX is sold off to a non-profit religious group. WTIC begins identifying as Fox 61.
1994 – As the Fox Network acquires rights to NFL football, Fox 61 Sports premieres a thirty minute sports program at 10:30 p.m. Sunday night, bringing the total news programming to four hours a week.
1995 – In June the “News at 10” expanded to an hour show which included a long format interview segment, “Tonight in Connecticut.” Within several months, the format was changed and the newscast was extended to the full hour.
1997 – Renaissance Communications is acquired by Tribune Broadcasting.
1999 – The News At Ten is awarded its first Emmy award for Team Effort for coverage of the shootings at the Connecticut Lottery Headquarters.
2000 – Tribune and Times-Mirror, owners of The Hartford Courant and other papers, merge. The news department wins its second Team Effort Emmy for coverage of the funerals of the six Worcester Firefighters.
2001-2007 – WTXX is purchased by Tribune and moves its operations to the WTIC studios in Hartford in 2001. Fox 61 staff win numerous awards including the Mark Twain Award for station excellence from the Associated Press. The news team win several Team Effort Emmy awards including ones for coverage of OpSail 2000 and the efforts to save the Submarine Base in New London.
2008 – The Fox 61 Morning Show premieres on March 3 with Logan Byrnes, Rebecca Stewart, Joe Furey and Rachel Lutzker. The show runs two hours at first, and the following year, expands to four and a half hours. The 11 p.m. newscast was launched, as well as an 11 a.m. show.
2009 – Fox 61 merges operations with The Hartford Courant and moves to the Courant building at 285 Broad Street. The fully HD studio goes on air December 12, 2009.
2010 – Fox 61 becomes Fox CT as the analog to digital broadcast transition occurs. The station’s website, fox61.com is changed to CTNow.com. The station wins another Team Effort Emmy award for it’s coverage of the death of station employee, Alice Morrin, and conjunction with The Courant, focuses on coverage of domestic violence issues.
The 4 p.m. newscast debuted on August 23.
2011 – The weekend morning news premieres in January, airing from 7 to 9 a.m. It is later expanded to three hours, starting at 6 a.m. The weekday morning news program is expanded to start at 4:30 a.m., and two years later is expanded to start at 4 a.m.
2013 – The 5 p.m. news is launched and the station’s website is changed to FoxCT.com.
2014 – Fox CT and The Hartford Courant split operations when Tribune spins off its print properties. The Courant moves to different area in the building at 285 Broad St. and television operations are consolidated on the third floor.
2015 - The station goes back to FOX61 and FOX61.com.
2019 - The station expands its Morning News to run from 4am to 11am.