Author Archives: MaryEllen Fillo

WCCC Classic Rock ‘Walks’ For The Last Time

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There were jokes and stories and tears, and at the end of the day Friday WCCC 106.9 Classic Rock was no more.

wccc_optAT 5:05 p.m. the K-Love network, owned by new WCCC owners Educational Media Foundation, launched its Christian music format, marking the end of another radio tradition in Connecticut.

But first, WCCC made sure Connecticut got one last taste of “The Rock”  in a five-hour final tribute to all of its personalities  and staff, and the rock music the station  delivered over decades.

WCCC’s current stable of talent along with those of the past, including “shock jock” Howard Stern, who got his big break at WCCC, entertained and reminisced, leaving a final rock-solid memory behind.

For the story go here.

Area Radio Stations Say “Hello” “Goodbye”

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Seems an unlikely coincidence but Hartford is in the midst of a trio of radio parties to celebrate or lament changes in the industry in the Hartford area .

On Thursday, Connoisseur Media, which recently purchased WDRC and Buckley Broadcasting’snewdrc other  stations in Connecticut, held at party at the Gershon Fox Ballroom to introduce themselves to Hartford.

wccc_optMeanwhile, while current WCCC (tidbit…originally owned by entrepreneur and  jewelry giant Bill Savitt, CCC supposedly stands for color, clarity, in diamonds)  106.9 CEO Woody Tanger  of Marlin Broadcasting will only say he “can’t say anything because of a confidentiality agreement,” California-based Christian radio company Educational Media Foundation is poised to take over the hard rock-turned-classic rock station today, with plans for an immediate format change to contemporary Christian music.

But “The Rock” is not going out without a big bang. Program director and popular on-air personality Mike Karolyi will be hosting the final show from noon to 5 p.m. and besides a look back at the station’s history and the best of the best when it comes to the rock music  it was known for, he will have a special guest, celeb Howard Stern.

For those of you who don’t know, Stern’s WCCC gig in the 1970s  was his first job in a major market.

It has been several weeks since the sale of WDRC but fans of “The Big D” will officially get togetherwdrc on Saturday at 7 at the Tunxis Grille on the Berlin Turnpike to celebrate the station that was know for its “oldies” music . Many former personalities from the  state’s oldest radio station are expected at the party.



“New” Faces On/In Hartford TV, Movies, Restaurants

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There are some “new” faces around town if you have been tuned into tv or taking advantage of summer dining or entertainment.

Erin Brady poses at a news conference after being crowned Miss USA 2013 in Las VegasNBC Connecticut has brought royalty, so to speak, to its traffic report the pastHeidi-Voight[1] couple weeks. Former Miss Connecticut Heidi Voight and former Miss USA Erin Brady have been taking turns guiding motorists through the Connecticut streets and highways until a replacement is named for former traffic reporter, Kayla James.

That decision is expected shortly, according to vice president of news Matt Piacente,  but in the meantime, he has another staffing announcement as the political season heats up.

Max Reiss has been named the new political beat reporter and contributor to the “Decision 2014,” the station’s Sunday political program.

Reiss  has covered politics for the past four years at WSFA, and Raycom Media, in Montgomery, Alabama., Piacente reports. Reiss is also a New York native, and a graduate of the University of Missouri.

He starts August 25th

If you stopped by Max Downtown recently, you will notice a new, and really happy, face when you walk in the door.

max Rachel Lenda has been tapped as the new manager, replacing Duncan Hunter.

Smart, sassy and a really nice dresser,  (‘I have to keep up with Steverachel Abrams,’she notes) Lenda comes from  S&P Oyster Company in Mystic where she was the Director of Sales and Marketing. Prior to that, she was the Sales and Marketing manager for Hard Rock Cafe Foxwoods.

And over at Grants there is a familiar face taking over general management duties there, as well.

Jim Kehoe, of Feng fame, has moved on to take over those duties at Billy Grant’s  place, while  Michelle Mc Mahon has returned as director of catering  and Joyce Raicik has been hired as director of operations.

And in the “famous and formerly of Connecticut” category, Kensington native Annemarie Griggs has received an Emmy nomination for her work as the visual effects producer on the Starz series, “Black Sales.” The Primetime Creative Arts Emmy ceremony will be held on Aug. 16.

And if you happen to be headed to the opening of the James Brown biopic, ‘Get On Up,’ watchgreer carefully, there’s a well-known former Hartford guy on the screen.

Well-known arts supporter and performer David Greer, has  a part in the movie that opens Friday about the “Godfather of Soul.”

“I appear in a scene with actor Jill Scott in the movie, ” Greer informed Java. ” I’m her character’s date to a JB performance at the Apollo theater in 1962. She dumps me for the “Godfather of Soul!”

It’s ‘Plan The Weekend Thursday’ Hartford

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A new month is set to arrive and summer is in full swing around these parts. But the arrival ofcalendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1] August means we are on  the downhill side of “enjoy, relax, vacation” time.

There  a few things everyone should do this season like packing a picnic, enjoying an evening concert, stretching out on a blanket under the stars and watching a good movie, heading down to the Hartford Riverfront, savoring the summer harvest, going to a festival or treating yourself to dinner on-the-town.

How lucky are you?! You can do them all this weekend.

karate-kid-box-front-1[1]On Friday, Aug. 1,  it’s a “wax on wax off” kind of night over at Goodwin Park where it’s “Free Movies After Dark” night. Featured film is the 80s classic,  “Karate Kid.” The event is free of charge. For more information go here.

The Wadsworth will also have a movie night with dinner on Friday, Aug 1. This week’s classic feature is “Bombshell” with Jean Harlow.   Dinner and music begin at 5:30, the film is shown at 8 pm. Tickets are available on the museum’s website. for more information go here.

Also on Friday, it’s “First Friday” at the New Britain Museum of American Art. Goza Latin Jazz  will be setting the mood with lively songs and dance rhythms. For more information go here.

This year the Taste of the Caribbean and Jerk Festival at Riverfront Plaza  promises a fun time withcarib music and food and everything Caribbean at the Mortensen Riverfront Plaza Saturday. The event features authentic Caribbean cuisine, cool island beverages, spectacular costumes and dance, and island rhythms. For more information go here.

Take a ride down to North Branford and feast on the harvest of the season through Aug. 3. The city will be hosting its “Potato and Corn Festival,” also known as the “PoCo Fest,” at Augur Field, on Route 22. The festival  features rides, games, food, crafts, tractor pulls, performances and on Saturday, fireworks. For more information go here.

Also on Saturday, Deana Martin, daughter of the late, great Dean Martin, will once again be featured at the Mr. Carmel Society’s 89th annual “Enfield Italian Festival.” “Deana Martin: Live in Concert” will also feature Joe Piscopo and Mike Marino as part of the program that includes music and comedy. For more information go here.

The free Monday night jazz series continues at Bushnell Park on Aug. 4. Grab a blanket and enjoy a summer night and good music. For more information go here.

saluteAnd finally, the summer “Taste of Hartford”  continues through the weekend with dozens of Hartford restaurants offering fixed-price menus perfect for your taste buds and your pocketbook. For more information on participating restaurants and menus go here.




WCCC Being Sold? Talent Shown The Door

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Klonkcollage[1]The official announcement isn’t expected until later this week, but the persistent rumors that Hartford’s WCCC 106.9  is being sold appear to be true.

Staff including “Miss Klonk” and “J. Raven” were among those advised Wednesday that they were out of jobs as Boston-based Marlin Broadcasting prepares to close on the sale to a not-for-profit organization that operates radio networks specializing in adult contemporary Christian music.

According to sources,  Educational Media Foundation will be the new owner. Calls to CEO Mike Novak that office were not returned. Marlin Broadcasting head Woody Tanger also did not return calls.

Klonk posted on her personal Facebook page “10 years gone” as friends responded to bothwccc9 comments, lamenting the end of yet another Hartford radio tradition.

“Friday @The_Rock_WCCC @JayRaven @SinnaminWCCC @WCCCKarolyi @KlonkWCCC rides 1 more time 4 the last time” posted Raven on Twitter. “As of Friday 5 p.m. #WCCC will cease 2 exist #success was plentiful in all but economics the pst 2 yrs ”

wccc5Program director and on-air personality Mike Karolyi , who could not be reached for comment, posted his demise on Facebook Wednesday evening writing “and then there were none,”  with dozens of followers immediately lamenting the station’s sale.

“Say it ain’t so,” and “an end of an era” reflected the tone of most of the comments that beganwccc_opt quickly appearing on Facebook shortly after word got out about the dismissals.

The sale comes just weeks after another major radio station in the Hartford Area, WDRC, was sold by Buckley Broadcasting  to Connoisseur Media.

A year ago, devoted fans of WCCC, which began as an AM in 1947 and added FM in 1959,  were more than upset  when Marlin added “old rock” to its signature  “new rock ” format. Longtime listeners were so upset that they held protest rallies and began a Facebook page titled “Save the Rock: CT Radio” in hopes the station would return to its signature format.

Karolyi will host WCCC’s final show Friday from noon to 5 p.m.





“Dice” Coming To Foxwoods

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andrew-dice-clay-main2He’s changed his spots, it seems, that Andrew Dice Clay.

Best known as the very “R” rated and famed stand-up comic, he has received a different kind of  acclaim for his role in the award-winning  Woody Allen drama, “Blue Jasmine.”

He is coming to Foxwoods Friday and  shared both the real and the perceived sides of himself in a generally “PG” dialogue  as he “Spilled the Beans” with Java here.

Japanalia PotLuck Closes the Door

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japanaYou couldn’t tell if it was a goodbye party or a fashion show at Hartford’s landmark Japanalia Eiko on Whitney Street in Hartford Sunday night.

The landmark store, known nationwide for its creative and upscale silk and beyond separates and dress wear, has officially closed but not before its founders and business partners, and former married couple Dan Blow and Eiko Sakai, threw a party for its family of clients.

“You have to know when it’s time to go,” said Blow, who with his partner Larry, will be moving to Eleuthera, Bahamas.  “My sewing machine has already been shipped there and I plan to do some sewing, just something simpler.”

The talented couple began together 40 years ago, Blow said. Sakai will continue with her own business in Glastonbury.

“We dressed a lot of great people,” said Blow whose designs could always easily be spotted in a crowded room. “Kathleen Turner, Peggy Lee, Kate Hepburn and Holland Taylor wore our clothes,” Blow said as he readied appetizers and wine for expected guests.

But if you missed the potluck soiree, there is another chance to say goodbye. Blow was also well-known for the jazz series he coordinated in Hartford and on September 13, there will be a goodbye program featuring good jazz and well-known performers, Blow said, to celebrate Japanalia’s years of providing music and theater to the area.

WeHa Resident Featured In New ‘Quest’ TV Reality Show

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ANDREW FRAZER“Game of Thrones” fans, are you having withdrawal symptoms as you wait for the HBO series to resume? Then take this in the meantime: on July 31, “The Quest,” billed as “a competition taking 12 unsuspecting contestants to an imaginative realm where ogres run free in the forest, dragons stir, agents of a dark lord infiltrate the Keep, and the only thing standing between peace and chaos are one dozen very unlikely heroes,” premieres on ABC at 8 p.m. July 31. And among those sword-bearing, armor clad wanna-be fantasy heroes is 25-year-old West Hartford resident Andrew Frazer.

The fitness coach at Watkinson School in West Hartford, who is also a water safety instructor in the summer at Winding Trails in Farmington, lived out his medieval fantasies on the show where good vs. evil reigns. Developed by the executive producer of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and the executive producers of “The Amazing Race,” the show features state-of-the art projections, animatronics, prosthetics and art direction as contestants vie to be the one “true” hero. Following filming in Austria, Frazer returned to his more realistic and less adventurous life in West Hartford. He couldn’t tell us how he fared or the particulars of the show that includes eliminating one contestant each week, but he was happily reliving his alternate fantasy life as he shared whatever info he could as he Spilled the Beans with Java.

Q: How did you get on the show?

A: About a year ago, there was something on Facebook asking “Do you think you are a hero?” And there were pictures and it sparked my interest so I filled out a form asking me some questions about why I thought I was a hero. I always thought of myself not so much a hero but I work with kids every day and one of my favorite joys is how I can be a hero to them. I don’t wear a cape or a suit of armor but I can affect and influence something in their lives in a good way. And they can look at me like a Superman or a Batman. The hero is just a symbol of people who really do good things. I’m a ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Lord of the Rings’ fan so I kind of figured out there was going to be a reality show. Then I got contacted by the show and went to Boston for an audition.

Q: Why do you think you got chosen?

A: Well at the audition I dressed up and not as a character so I kind of stood out. Everyone else came with their swords and shields and in costume and I got nervous. I have that stuff, too, I’m a gamer, but didn’t bring it with me. I went in being me and figured if they liked me and chose me it was just meant to be. I did bring my ocarina from the “Legend of Zelda.” I was terrified but I’m an athlete so I know how to focus.

Q: You are a trainer and an athlete. It seems like all the physical challenges in this show would be a piece of cake for you. No?

A: The challenges were a lot of Renaissance Fair type competitions so things like jousting and riding a horse, I had never done those. I had never ridden a horse until I was on the show. It was something though, being transported to another time and place and we had team and individual challenges and you had to figure out what was happening and how to help. It was all hands on and you did need to be fit. I did get banged around a good amount. I cut my leg pretty bad and my face near my brow bone.

Q: I know people who love this stuff are hugely committed to playing. How about you?

A: I am the biggest gamer. Pretty much anybody who meets me thinks I am a meat-headed jock. But then friends will bring up something about Zelda or see my Anime T-shirt and we can talk for days about it. “Legend of Zelda” and “Final Fantasy” are my favorite games. When I would finish my homework and training I would play them.

Q: West Hartford seems like such an unlikely place to fuel such fantasy. Where do you get your inspiration for this fantasy hero world?

A: I went to Conard and then to Bridgewater State University and studied exercise science. But being strong does not help you run away from the ogres in the games. My whole childhood was based off literally collections of Dragon Ball Zine and Manga comic book novels. I was just fascinated by the abilities the characters had and the magical skills. It’s a lot healthier than a lot of video stuff out there. Anyway, it sparked my interest when I was really young. I wrestled in school and it limited me to schools and gyms. Now I am doing what I would think about when I was doing those things. I think the show is the best thing experience of my life.

Q: What did your parents think when you stopped working to go film this show?

A: I tried to keep it under wraps because we sign something and can’t tell anything about the show or what happens. So my lips were sealed. When I got back from shooting and we were told we could tell people where we had been, I couldn’t wait to tell them. They were excited. Everything was so well done it didn’t even feel like a show. You felt like you were living it. And it was a great way for me to prove myself. I was so into it I forgot there were cameras on.

Q: So are you thinking of giving up the exercise science profession to go into movies or TV?

A: I always wanted to get involved in theater even when I was at Conard but wrestling got in the way. I think everyone is going to love the show. I have little kids at work now that are so juiced to see it.

Q: Where will you be Thursday?

A: I will be with my friends and family and watching the show at Damon’s on Prospect Avenue.

Q: Final thoughts, real or imagined?

A: I would do it again. It opened my eyes because I have never been in an environment or setting like that, real and fantasy. I got the chance to do the things I only used to only imagine.


Hartford’s ‘Best Dresser’ Off To Newport

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tracyShe’s dressed the best around Hartford including restaurateurs Steve Abrams and Rich Rosenthal, community leader and city point man Oz Griebel, politician Larry Cafero, St. Francis CEO Chris Dadlez, Atty. General George Jepsen and a host of others who are GQ worthy.

But Tracy Murphy of Stackpole Moore Tryon Tuesdays is moving on.

The well-known men’s fashion veteran has taken a new job with Michael Hayes, a women’s, men’s and children’s store on Bellevue Avenue in Newport.

“It’s a good move for me,”  said the 52-year-old who has been with the downtown store for 22 years and is well-known for her love of all things seaside. “I just felt the time was right to make the move.”



‘Fifty Shades’ (And Mr. Grey) Strike Again

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Fifty Shades of GreySeems like just yesterday Ms. James’ “Fifty Shades” series had Connecticut readers running (and blushing) to RJ Julia in Madison and again to The Omni in New Haven when the suddenly famous author made a guest appearance in Connecticut in 2012.

And now…get ready to be teased again as the red-hot trailer lures you in. 

Can’t help but wonder if Connecticut’s Paier School of Art, mentioned in the book, will make it into the movie?