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WNAB was started in 1947 in the post-WWII radio boom by the Gilmore family that still owns WATR. The call letters allegedly stood for, "We're Nuts About Bridgeport!" Some great talents were heard over the years on WNAB, including local talker Tiny Markle, and DJs Harry Luke, Ray Carroll, Jim Senich, Bob Hodgson, and Bob Terry, among others.
In the early 80s, WNAB was sold to Jonathan Hoffman of the Hoffman Fuel family, who changed the call letters to WJBX. "Jukebox Radio," as it was called, was not successful, and in 1989 the 1450 frequency in Bridgeport became the first radio station in CT to be acquired by broadcast entrepreneurs of Hispanic descent. The buyers were the "Father of Hispanic Broadcasting in Connecticut," Pablo deJesus Colon, Jr., and his wife Migdalia. They obtained the new call letters WCUM, for "Radio Cumbre," which means, "The Pinnacle," and took 1450 AM 100% Hispanic.
Pablo Colon entered radio as one of several program hosts who brokered time on local CT stations and sold their own commercials. He earned a reputation as the leading voice of Connecticut Hispanics, and became Vice-President and Program Director of 93.7/WLVH ("La Voz Hispana"), the first successful all-Hispanic station in CT. WLVH was sold in 1988, and in order to blow off the audience, the new owners rebroadcast NOAA weather for a year!
"Radio Cumbre" was instrumental in uniting and providing a voice of pride for the fast-growing Hispanic community in Bridgeport. Today, Bridgeport is 44% Hispanic, making it not only the largest city but also the largest Hispanic market in the state. WCUM made newcomers feel welcome and part of a larger community. Pablo editorialized and advocated for Bridgeport's Hispanic population, as a wall full of awards in the station lobby attests. He also hosted a cable TV show. The Colons started the highly successful "Gran Festival" in Bridgeport's Seaside Park, bringing in the major acts of the day and drawing many scores of thousand of fans.
The Colons continue to operate WCUM together with their son, Pablo III, and the family remains a pillar of the Bridgeport community to this day. In fact, Pablo, Jr. was a 2008 national finalist for "Hispanic Broadcaster Of The Year" not long ago.
Contributor Don reported:
"In the Class Of 1959 Warren Harding High School Yearbook (available in the WHHS School Library), there is a large innerleaf photograph of the WNAB transmitter shack and antenna at "Loco-mobile Point", 500 feet east of "Homa's Refreshment Stand" at/in the harbor of Bridgeport. At the time of Yearbook publication (May 1959), WNAB had recently moved its transmitter shack and antenna to west of Beardsley Park. The site was billed as "the new tall tower of WNAB", probably a 5/8 wave tower.
"In an early 1950's map of Bridgeport, the site at "Loco-mobile Point" is identified as WLIZ. The 1450/WNAB transmitter is located across Bridgeport harbor on Seaview Avenue, south of "Carpenter Steel Works."
WNAB Air Check: Wildman Steve Gallon, 1961, recorded by Cliff Mills:
Courtesy of Dennis Jackson.
Bob Gilmore: I had a part-time airshaft on WJBX 1450AM in 1986 and 1987 and it was quite enjoyable. WJBX had a great variety of oldies, and had a decent mix of the new stuff. WJBX replaced WNAB in Bridgeport in November 1985. It only lasted until 1989 before turning to a Spanish format. The current call letters are WCUM for Radio Cumber. The frequency killed WJBX with all of the noise at night. The 1000 watts just didn't cut it too well out of the Bridgeport metropolitan area on a local frequency. I did manage to pick the station up on skip in Maine one weekend. That was pretty neat.
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