Our History

The Beginning

The Idea and Construction

Dr. Iz Temkin and Attorney Sullivan, two long time boosters of the City of Torrington, decided in 1990’s that Torrington deserved its own radio station. The city had previously been home to two AM stations. One, WLCR, went out of business in the 1960s and the other WSNG (formally WTOR) was purchased by a Hartford area business and discontinued local broadcasting in 1996.

Temkin and Sullivan worked tirelessly for six years to convince the Federal Communications Commission to allow them to build a new, non-commercial FM station in town. Over the years, they faced many challenges including a competing applicant from another town.

Working with the Litchfield County Commission on Higher Education, Temkin and Sullivan helped that group submit an application which resulted in an FCC Construction Permit authorizing them to build the new station which would be located on the campus of UCONN on University Drive in Torrington.

Committees were formed in the areas of programming, management, fund raising and engineering to make sure that station got off to a good start and would become a community asset that the surrounding area could be proud of. Kurt Anderson from WMNR and John Ramsey from WWUH assisted the group efforts on a pro bono basis, Anderson assisting with FCC matters and Ramsey designing and building the actual station.

WAPJ Begins Broadcasting

Flipping the Switch

On March 17 WAPJ commenced broadcasting with a grand opening celebration broadcast live from the UCONN auditorium. Dedicated to providing the community with alternative and local programming, the station hit the air with an eclectic programming lineup produced by an all-volunteer staff. The broadcast schedule was Monday through Friday from 8am-12pm and 4pm-9pm dictated largely by UCONN’s operating schedule.

As the station grew, they were faced with limited space, limited operating hours and coverage issues due to a relatively low antenna.

Signal Improvements

Moving the Antenna

The station’s antenna was moved in 2000 from the UCONN Campus to the top of Highland Avenue to improve coverage. This location is one of the highest spots in Torrington allowing the signal to be heard throughout Greater Torrington and beyond.

Facility Improvements/Licensee Change

Moving the Studios

UCONN had been a great host for the station in the early years, but when it was determined that the school needed the space the station was occupying, the WAPJ license was transferred to the Nutmeg Conservancy of the Arts in 2001. The station relocated to studios located in Nutmeg’s newly renovated building on Main Street. The change allowed the station to increase its hours of operation and to grow physically. This new location allowed the station to feature both an air and production studio for the first time, allowing volunteers to practice while the station was on the air.

Facility Improvements/Licensee Change

On the Move Once Again

In 2004 the license was transferred to the I.B. and Zena H. Temkin Foundation and the station was relocated to 40 Water St. This location offered approximately 2,000 square feet of space and included a store front air studio, a production studio, a performance area and extensive office space.

Signal Improvements

Adding a Frequency

In 2005, the station was granted a license for a 10-watt translator on 105.1 FM to provide additional signal building-penetration in downtown Torrington.

Building the Audience/Licensee Change

Streaming Worldwide and Building the Future

During the summer of 2011, WAPJ started streaming live on the internet allowing the station to attract a worldwide audience for the first time.

In the fall of 2011, the Temkin Foundation donated the license to the Torrington Community Radio Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization created solely to operate WAPJ.

WAPJ today continues to provide the Greater Torrington area with up to 12 hours of unique and diverse programming a day produced by local community volunteers. The station is supported through a combination of listener contributions and business underwriting.