Radio shock jock Howard Stern tipped his hat to Sy Dresner, the former owner of the longtime Hartford hard rock radio station WCCC AM & FM, who died Tuesday, Jan. 1 at the age of 89.
Dresner, who lived for many years in West Hartford, gave Stern one of his first jobs in radio, hiring him at WCCC in the late 1970s to be his morning show host.
“I loved Sy because he gave me a job and he ran this radio station that a lot of us who were semi-beginners could get jobs and work there. And it was a cool station. We played rock and roll,” said Stern on his show on Monday, Jan. 7.
During Stern’s show he and one of his sidekicks, Fred Norris, reminisced about their days at WCCC. Stern said that he quit WCCC when Dresner refused his request for a “lousy” $25 raise. Stern admitted that if Dresner had given him the raise, he may never have left and found the fame he now has.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Saul “Sy” Dresner was the son of the late Samuel and Rose Dresner. He attended Boys High School in Brooklyn, and was a graduate of New York University.
His love for radio began when he was a young boy. After graduating from NYU, Sy and his brother Al licensed, engineered and built radio stations in upstate New York, including WWHG, Hornell, NY; WBNR, Beacon, NY; and WELV/WDRE, Ellenville, NY. In the late 1960s, they entered the larger Hartford market and bought WCCC Radio from the Electra Corporation that had purchased it from jeweler Bill Savitt.
Dresner looked for new and interesting ways to entertain and grow his audience – from having a disc jockey lock himself in the studio to play the same song for three days to hiring “shock jock” Stern, who went on to become arguably one of radio’s biggest and most infamous personalities.
Prior to its sale in 1998 – after 28 years of ownership – WCCC was one of the country’s last locally owned and operated large market radio stations.
Dresner and his wife Edith were longtime members of Beth El Temple in West Hartford, where he was a past president of the synagogue’s Men’s Club. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his sons, Ron Dresner and his wife Stacey of West Hartford, and Steven Dresner of Washington, D.C., and four granddaughters. He was predeceased by his brother, Alfred Dresner.
Memorial contributions may be made to Beth El Temple, 2626 Albany Ave., West Hartford, CT 06117.