Rest in peace Bill Drake.
Any comments or stories on Bill Drake from all you radio history fans in Detroit market? Must be a lot of history related to one of those classic Boss stations - C K L W!! Man - those were the days!
Well, you didn't
have to live in the Detroit market to really appreciate CKLW ("The Big 8!"), which actually eminated across the river in Windsor, Ontario. Back in the day, CKLW had a signal that actually made the ratings in Danbury, Connecticut (no joke!). After local daytimer WLAD, also at 800 kHz, shutdown for the day (at sunset), CKLW would boom in like a local. Thus, those who tuned to WLAD during the day, stayed for CKLW through the night! The CKLW signal, before it was augmented to better serve Canada (away from the US), was a killer
here in the Northeast. I first heard CKLW with its' Drake jingles and Top-40 format in March of 1968. We already had local WRKO with its' Drake format for the better part of a year. I'd never heard a Canadian station before. I remember it well.... "C-K-L-W! The Motor City!"
. Asked my brother, what is a station with a "C" in the front of its' "name". He told me it was from Canada. The first song I ever heard on CKLW was "Cry Like A Baby" by The Box Tops. 'CK became a "preset" on this 8 year old's radio! Bill Drake was a genius in creating the famous "Drake" format that many non-Drake stations of the time tried to imitate, but never able to duplicate successfully. He and his entourage in Canoga Park set the standard in radio, not only for the "Drake" Top-40 stations, but for his other automated formats as well such as "Hit Parade", "Solid Gold Rock and Roll", the "Contempo" series and "Great American Country". He will be missed.
Peter Q. George (K1XRB)