As many of you know, WFSB is moving into a brand-new building with all state-of-the-art technology — Everything in it is new, except for the people! Most of the staff has already moved, but the news department is still working in Broadcast House until next week as crews put the finishing touches on our new newsroom.
Why are we moving? Broadcast House was built in the early 1960s, and it shows. This iconic building has served us well for the past 46 years, but it was constructed when our news crews shot stories on film, and technology has progressed rapidly since then.
When Broadcast House opened, there were parking lots where skyscrapers now stand. For years, there has been no employee parking. Even all of our news vehicles can’t fit in our rather small garage. Our new building has plenty of parking.
As we packed our boxes, we reminisced about all the events that happened here and the people who came through the doors at 3 Constitution Plaza. Did you know that President Lyndon Johnson visited Broadcast House in 1964? Every governor since Abraham Ribicoff has been interviewed in our building, along with U.S. Senators, presidential candidates and members of Congress. We’ve had UConn players, and some Hartford Whalers. Some well-known singers performed in Studio B for the Brad Davis show.
Some national television figures have worked here, like Bill O’Reilly, Randall Pinkston, Mika Brzezinski, Joe Tessitore, Melissa Francis and Gayle King.
Speaking of Gayle, she even brought her best friend Oprah Winfrey here, and our station made tabloid headlines when Oprah announced from our set that she was secretly engaged to Stedman Graham.
I met my wife, Kara, here in 2000, and we became one of several couples who met at 3 Constitution Plaza.
There were plenty of things that went on here that started the wheels turning for a new television facility. Our three banks of elevators broke down frequently and passengers were often frightened by an occasional jerky plummet. We’ve had bats and other creatures, a flood, broken bathrooms, windows that don’t stay closed or open, and pieces of the concrete exterior falling to the ground. The climate in recent years left much to be desired — often, it was like a sauna or an igloo. As long as I can remember, Denise has used a portable heater on her desk.
Still, we’ll miss the old place.
As for the future of our corner of Constitution Plaza, we hear all sorts of things. My guess is the building will be bought by a developer and demolished, along with the dump next to us, which used to be the Clarion, Sonesta and Hotel America. It’s been home to pigeons and, likely, rats since the mid-1990s. If I had to predict, I’d say a high-rise hotel will rise in the place of Broadcast House to handle the growing hotel room shortage downtown. The proximity to Adriaen’s Landing makes this a prime location for a hotel.
Bye, bye Broadcast House. Thanks for the memories.
EDIT: Our first broadcast from the new station is sometime next week. No exact date yet.