The lucky - grew up in Detroit/Windsor 1970
EPIC. An amazing piece of music history, museum level piece we just came across.
Vintage 1970s CKLW Windsor Radio Station sound board schematics.
Why are these pieces important?
Radio Revolution. 50,000 Watts from Windsor, Ontario Canada were reaching 17 million kids around North America on the airwaves. Aretha, Smokey, Del Shannon, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper Supremes were finding listening ears.
And the BOSS of the airwaves was Rosalie Tremblay, a Leamington local girl who had a knack for an ear for a good song. Whether it was black or white.
1932 the station was founded, shortly after named CKLW (London/Windsor)
They experimented for years with different programming, and then they became THE BIG 8
Battling TV and 30 Detroit stations, cracking the Rock N Roll Market and changing how thing were done.
Back then, DJs talked for 3 minutes, then played a song - NOT at the BIG8, DJS talked and the songs played, KEEP IT MOVING a new change in the industry. TIGHT - increasing output to 18 songs an hour!
They changed jingles/promos to 5 / 3 seconds that were normally 30 seconds.... KEEP IT MOVING
They created a hot clock, hourly programming guide, a wheel
why it was played when, later to be used by former CKLW 1st program director at MTV...
When CKLW launched their music formula, (after months of rehearsing) there was nothing like it on the airwaves in the 1960s....90 days after launch they became #1 in DETROIT ( 2 Million People vs 200k in Windsor)
They were innovative, they even ran a wire in the detroit/windsor tunnel as an antenna and only station to pickup!
The geographic advantage (lake effect, late night) had the station reach 1/2 Canada. 17-35 states 2000 miles away!
They once held a share of 23% of all radio listening = think about that, 50 stations, they had 1/4 of the audience.
This does not count people driving in the car, at a store, restaurant, walking down street with a transistor radio where if you drove around town all you would hear 100% was CKLW
Rosalie Tremblay - the most powerful woman in music, best ear.
She broke the hits, and would never be bought by payola.
Bob Seger wrote a song Rosalie - about her which they never played on air.
Her family, also had a great ear too.
Her Son Tim liked Alice Cooper, and well - "EIGHTEEN" was played, became no 1 hit
Her Daughter Diane, liked "Beth" and bugged her to play...Gene and KISS gave Diane a gold Record!
But besides that, she knew when a good black/white crossover song would be a hit for example...
Elton John wanted to release "Candle in the Wind" and Rosalie said, let's do "Bennie and the Jets" which became a massive crossover hit for EJ. - Rosalie should be in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame (if she is not already!)
THE BIG 8
The Disc Jockeys didn't go into work, they wanted to go in on their day off. They loved it.
20 20 news, 20 mins before, and 20 mins after. Dick Smyth, Mark Daly Legends
Their ENERGY LEVEL WAS THE SAME as the music, if not crazier with their story writing.
"Hot lead in the head of the young burning flesh" .. typical news. and beyond.
They held no smooth edges, just the truth coming at ya. Award winning coverage of the 1967 Detroit Riots.
They were the best blackest white station on earth -
All came down, and fell when the CRTC Rules forced Canadian Radio Stations to play 25% Canadian Content.
I am all for Canadian Music, but this station and border stations should have been given a bit of leeway - as a small Windsor Station was one of the most powerful radio stations in the World - the kids in the area were the luckiest to have grown up there and heard the music.
#cklw #thebig8 #windsor #windsorradio #detroit #musichistory #radiohistory