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More Music … Cklw:The Rise And Fall Of The Big 8

1432 words - 6 pages

Back in the day, music is not readily available online at the tip of your fingertips. Fifty years ago, you would listen to the radio and that’s how you knew what records to buy. Radio stations in large music cities such as Los Angeles, New York or Nashville normally set the standard for the most popular music. New music emerges in their city, than gets released on their local radio stations, and the music becomes a smash hit. This is not the case for the small town radio station of CKLW in Windsor, Ontario. As television was drastically changing the radio industry, CKLW had to change to keep up. This change is what resulted into CKLW- The Big 8, a radio station that created new standards ...view middle of the document...

Many listeners were “surprised to learn that the top hit-maker behind the legendary Motown sound and ear wasn’t actually based in Detroit,” claims Alison Cunningham. The radio station originally broadcasted from 825 Riverside Drive West and in 1970 moved to 1640 Ouellette Avenue in Windsor.
CKLW changed the face of radio. Previously in history, the deejays loved to talk. The deejays would take between “three to four or even five minutes” before playing the next song. In 1965, RKO got Bill Drake to transform their radio stations; thus, creating the “Boss Radio” technique. This system was characterized as “fast, fresh and seamless” as well as “clean and streamlined.” Drake’s Boss Radio quickly “overtook the formidable competition.” Instead of the talking and breaks found in other radio station’s programming, for the Big 8, it was as if the music never stopped playing.
To elaborate, the Boss Radio technique involved disk jockeys talking really fast during allowing them to play more music within the hour. During the hour, approximately 18 songs would be played back to back with limited commercials. The deejays would talk rapidly during the song’s run up, being limited to “one or two sentences,” almost as if they were “broadcasting at gunpoint.” These personalities changed the face of radio dee-jaying that still plays a role in today’s radio programmings.
To continue, during its heyday, CKLW was projecting 50,000 watts of sound, and had a phenomenal sound, “better than anyone else.” Their airwaves, on a clear night could be heard halfway across the country, reaching “35 states and 6 provinces,” on a clear summer night. Amazingly, the station even got a call from someone in New Zealand claiming that by a fluke accident was able to get CKLW for about 3 minutes. Also, CKLW was the only radio station that cars could listen to in the Detroit-Windsor tunnel, because they had put transmitters in the air ducks. The amenity of power this radio station had is demonstrated by the wide audience. People across the country must have had their ears against their radio in hopes that they could hear rock n’ roll music or the disk jockeys shout out the most powerful 4 letters of the time period.
CKLW was a powerhouse in setting the standards of popular music. The Big 8 changed the music industry; since, if the Big 8 played a song on the air, other radio stations would follow suit and this led sometimes to unknown songs to reach the top of the charts. Many artists that have made it into the music industry give credit to the Big 8 for their success. Bob Seger, Elton John, David Bowie, KISS and Alice Cooper are just a handful of acts that owe a big part of their success to CKLW and their music director Rosalie Trombley. Trombley was a working single mother of three and was known as the “girl with the golden ears.” She held this nickname because she had a unique ear for music. Simply listening to a song, she could tell if it was going to...

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