ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Carl V. Kolata

WTTN Radio

100 E Main



09 30       A voice that became familiar to Watertown area radio listeners in the early days of radio station WTTN has returned to the air-lanes.  It is that of Willard James who has resumed his duties at the station after a leave of absence which he spent in military service.  It should be pointed out that hardly anyone here knows Willard James.  But mention the name Bill James and just about everyone here knows him or of him.  His voice is among the most familiar in Watertown, due to his radio broadcasts.  It is a pleasing and friendly voice.  In returning to Watertown recently Bill brought with him his wife and they have become two of the city’s newest residents, living at 411 South Third Street.   WDT



12 20       Carl V. Kolata, a city councilman, announced he will not be a candidate for re-election   WDT



10 16       A final decision approving WTTN's increase to 1,000 watts of AM power has been announced by the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C.  The increase will be part of an expansion program now underway by Watertown Radio Inc., and will establish an FM station at 104.7 megacycles.  A target date for starting both AM-FM operations at the station’s new transmitter site west of the city of Oct. 15, was postponed because of delays in equipment delivery.  Current plans call for the start of both services on or about Nov. 1.  The AM frequency will remain at 1580 Kc, and the FM frequency will be 104.7.    WDT


AM broadcasting will be conducted during daylight hours, as in the past, but FM broadcasting will be simulcast during the day and then continue on FM only until late at night.



08 27       FM broadcasting on WTTN, Watertown, will be initiated at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 30. Carl V. Kolata, president and general manager of Watertown Radio, Inc., announced today that special ceremonies lasting for approximately 15 minutes will mark the start of FM broadcasting on 104.7 megacycles. The continuous programs will start immediately after WTTN-AM leaves the air at 6 p.m. and continue until 10:30 p.m.   WDT





07 14       Carl V. Kolata, of Watertown, today filed nomination papers with the secretary of state, to qualify as a Republican candidate for Congress from the second congressional district . Kolata filed 2,000 signatures with the secretary of state’s office this morning.  Kolata is a former chairman of the Republican Party of Dodge County and received the endorsement of the 1964 second district GOP caucus and has been actively campaigning, as the endorsed Republican candidate, since April.  Until his nomination, Kolata was general manager of radio station WTTN in Watertown.  He is secretary of the State Broadcaster’s Association and has been active in numerous civic and fraternal organizations.  He is currently serving as a member of the Watertown Fire and Police Commission.   WDT



07 06       Watertown Radio, Inc. has filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission requesting permission to double the effective radiated power of WTTN-FM.  The application was filed June 29, according to Carl V. Kolata, station president and manager.  WTTN-FM currently broadcasts with 10,000 watts effective radiated power at 104.7 megacycles.  The increase, if granted, would double the output.  The increase would carry WTTN-FM’s signal well beyond Milwaukee to the east, Rockford to the south, Oshkosh to the north and Spring Green to the west.



09 06       Carl V. Kolata, owner and general manager of radio station WTTN AM-FM, said today he was considering another try for the state Senate. Kolata, a Republican, was considering running for the seat vacated by the death last week of state Sen. Frank Panzer, R-Brownsville.  Kolata lost to Panzer in the primary two years ago.  He also ran for Congress in the 2nd District in the 1964 general election, but was beaten by Democratic incumbent Robert Kastenmeier, 108,148 votes to 61,865.




Watertown Radio Inc. has purchased Merchants National Bank building.  The announcement was made by Carl V. Kolata, general manager of the station


WTTN will move its studios and offices to the new location immediately after Merchants Bank relocates in its new location at Fifth and Main Streets.


The purchase of the present Merchants Bank building is the latest in a series of changes the local radio station is making to meet the needs and desires the listening audience in the Watertown area.  WTTN recently became an affiliate of the Mutual Broadcasting System and the Wisconsin Independent Network, bringing more in depth coverage of state, national and international news along with numerous feature programs.  Watertown Radio Inc. also became a member of the Radio Advertising Bureau, providing assistance to clients in advertising and cooperative coverage.


Remodeling of the first floor of the Merchants building to meet the needs of a broadcasting facility will begin shortly after the bank vacates the building.  The move of office, technical and transmitting equipment will be carried out over a period of days but daily programming of WTTN AM-FM will not be interrupted. The stations are not expected to be off the air during the move.


Kolata said the move will provide Watertown Radio Inc. with needed additional space for expanded programming and staff. He added the new location will give the station better visibility in the community and easier access to the public.


The marquis in front of the building will continue to be available for promotion of community events as well as local programs aired on WTTN.


Kolata also stated that in the near future, WTTN-FM, will go to stereo programming and offer separate programming from WTTN-AM.


The president and general manager of the station noted the operation has come a long way from the early 1950's when live bands performed regularly from WTTN's large studio on the third floor of Wisconsin National Bank and both an engineer and announcer handled the programming schedule.  Today, the positions are combined with a separate engineering staff to handle major technical work.


Watertown Radio Inc. was formed in 1950 as an AM station. WTTN-FM went on the air in 1960. Studios and offices of WTTN have been located on the third floor of the Wisconsin National Building since it began operations.


Office space in the building will continue to be available in the building for small concerns and private individuals.


The Watertown Chamber of Commerce will move to the new Merchants Bank facility.



07 16       Radio stations WTTN-AM and WTTN-FM have been sold to Select Communications, Inc., of Sussex, according to Carl V. Kolata, president of Watertown Radio, Inc.  The change, the first major one in the 32 year history of the business, is expected to be finalized shortly.  Takeover by Select, Inc. is expected sometime in September, subject to Federal Communications Commission approval.  John Timm, one of the principals representing Select Communications, is expected to relocate in Watertown as general manager of the two stations.  He is currently serving in a similar capacity with radio station WEZW in Milwaukee.  He has a broad range of experience in radio as a broadcaster, salesman, sales manager and general manager of radio stations in Texas, New Mexico and Wisconsin. 


WTTN-AM and WTTN-FM moved its broadcasting studios and offices to 100 Main Street in 1979 after 29 years on the third floor of the former Wisconsin National Bank building [Main, W, 102-106], now known as the Valley Bank building [?], 104 West Main Street.   WDT


11 05       Purchased from Carl and Marcella Kolata



05 20       Watertown’s “hometown station,” WTTN AM 1580, is celebrating its 40th year of broadcasting this week with on-air visits with former staff members, several of which have gone on to prominent national careers.  The celebration got under way Tuesday, with original owner and former Watertown Mayor Carl Kolata doing a morning radio show with current Mayor David Lenz.  “Carl even got into a little of his ‘old timer’ schtick,” said station manager Jim Zache of Kolata’s broadcast.  “It was a very popular Saturday morning show that Carl did in broken German.  It featured two hours of polka requests, birthday and anniversary announcements.  For many people it was a high point of their week.”  WDT



08 16       Listeners of Watertown’s AM radio station rose to the sounds of country music this morning, as WTTN-AM changed its music format, effective 6 a.m.  In addition to the new genre of music, the station plans to commit itself to local news and sports coverage, according to new general manager Don Sabatke.  Sabatke, who recently managed a 10,000-watt AM station in Cape Coral, Fla., for five years, took over operation of the station on Aug. 1, manager of the station, but he was replaced as part of recent staff changes.  WDT



03 10       Watertown radio station WTTN-AM plans to broadcast from a studio in Oconomowoc for at least one hour a day, starting on March 16. The radio station, located at 1580 on the AM dial, plans to broadcast from the Olde Theatre Mall in downtown Oconomowoc from 1 to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. The station will use a remote feed from Oconomowoc to the Watertown transmitter for the daily hour, which will feature news from Oconomowoc. Advertisers will be encouraged to read their commercials live during this time.   WDT


02 15       A rural Burlington dairy farmer is seeking purchase of WTTN, 1580, in Watertown, and says he will continue the station’s present format.  Charles P. Mills, a former advertising agent, said he is pursuing the transfer of the station’s license from WTTN, Inc. to his Watertown Radio, Inc.  Mills applied for the transfer on Jan. 31 and said he expects consent of the license transfer from the Federal Communications Commission within 45 days.  Mills said this is his first bid to purchase a radio station.  Mills worked for over 20 years in Chicago with the Leo Burnett Company, one of the largest ad agencies in the world.   WDT




The owner of Watertown’s radio station says he hopes to restore the former Merchants Bank to its original appearance.  Renovation has been temporarily halted to the building at First and Main that currently houses WTTN-AM, but owner Chuck Mills says repairs will begin again once warmer temperatures return to the area.  Mills said he’d like to see the building restored to its Victorian look prior to 1961, about the time Merchants Bank changed the appearance of the building by adding yellow reflective panels and a stone look over the bricks of the original building.  Mills said the bricks in the building are in poor disrepair, partially due to the renovation done by Merchants, and total restoration could be difficult.



07 18       WTTN AM 1580 BEING SOLD

WTTN AM 1580 radio station is in the process of being sold to a broadcasting company that also owns stations in Beaver Dam.  Charles P. Mills of Cleveland is selling the local station which he has owned for seven years.  The buyer is Good Karma Broadcasting, LLC, which owns WXRO and WBEV in Beaver Dam and WTLX in Columbus.  The application to transfer the license is pending approval by the Federal Communications Commission and is expected within the next few months.  The format of the local station will not change as a result of the sale, said Craig Karmazin of Good Karma Broadcasting.  Steve Gehrmann will remain as WTTN general manager and the staff and format will remain.   WDT



06 27       MOVE TO 615 E. MAIN ST

WTTN is leaving its 100 E. Main St. site, the station’s home of 18 years, and moving into an office building down the street.  Good Karma Broadcasting, LLC, the company that owns WTTN AM 1580 radio station, will lease space at the Watertown Professional Building, 615 E. Main St., said Rick Armon, operations director at Good Karma in Beaver Dam.  Construction of the studio and sales office at the new site will begin in the next two weeks, Armon said.  The station will move in Aug. 1, he said.   WDT




Craig Karmazin, of Good Karma Broadcasting and owner of WTTN-AM (1580), applied with the Federal Communications Commission to shift the Watertown license of WTTN to Columbus.  Karmazin’s company applied to the FCC to change the city of license of WTLX-FM (100.5) to be licensed to Madison.  To be able to change the Columbus station’s license to Madison, Karmazin said the company must have another station licensed to Columbus.  In getting approval from the FCC to shift the Columbus station to Madison, the Watertown station’s licensing would change to Columbus.   WDT




Watertown’s former radio station WTTN-AM, has been leased to Resistance Radio Network, an independent news talk radio station.  WTTN 1580 AM is a 5,000-watt, AM daytime licensed station.  WTTN-AM began broadcasting as a daytime-only station licensed to Watertown in 1950.  Power was later increased to 1,000 watts, and a 4-watt nighttime service was added in the late 1980s.


With the city of license change and transmitter site move, WTTN began broadcasting using a directional antenna system from Columbus co-owned WTTN-FM which signed on in 1961, was originally located at 104.7 FM, and moved to 94.1 in 1972.  94.1 is now owned by Mid-West Family Broadcasting, and uses the call sign WJJO, with studios in Madison.




Cross References:

Kolata, Carl, 1958, "An Old-Fashioned American Christmas" movie

Kolata, Carl, Mrs, 1954, Watertown's Centennial Tea


Sept. 10, 1989:  Radio station WTFX-FM, formerly WMLW, has returned to the airwaves with a new Madison studio location and a drastically different format.  The 50,000-watt station, located at frequency 94.1 on the FM dial, began broadcasting Friday afternoon after spending several weeks off-the-air to make technical and programming changes.  Joyner Communications Inc., based in Cary, N.C., moved the FM offices from downtown Watertown to a West Beltline location in Madison.  A new transmitter and 525-foot tower have been erected in Deerfield, located roughly between Madison and Watertown.  Mike Varney, general manager and vice president of WTFX-FM, said the new tower location will allow the station to reach a larger audience in southern Wisconsin while continuing to serve the Watertown area.




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin