Monday, September 17, 2007

Remembering CKLW

A few weeks ago I was driving to Michigan to visit my son and daughter-in-law. Since I was travelling solo, I began station surfing on the radio. I was able to receive only three AM stations. WLEC (the local station), WJR in Detroit and CKLW in Windsor. CKLW was carrying the Michigan-Oregon football game so I settled for that offering. I normally listen to music when travelling, however the game sounded exciting and I figured it would help me pass the time. I also wanted to see if Michigan's loss to Apalachian State was a fluke. Oregon went on to upset Michigan. It was apparent that the Wolverines still had a hangover from the previous upset loss. For years WJR carried the Michigan football games. A couple of years ago WJR started broadcasting Michigan State games so Michigan moved to CKLW.
My how times have changed! Growing up in the 60's, CKLW was the staple for teenagers. When you "buzzed" the ave, you had your radio tuned to the Big 8 CKLW. With their 50,000 watts of power, CKLW could be heard clearly far and wide. They played mostly Top 40 records and Motown music. Teenagers were attracted to the Big 8 because they played feel good, sing-a-long type music. Unlike today, CKLW broad casted very few commercials. I can remember a few of the commercials. Detroit Dragway "Drag Capital of Mid America" and Mickey Shores car stereos stick in my head. The commercials always seemed to be entertaining. They also featured short news briefs every 20 minutes. The news briefs usually started out with alliteration such as "A badly burned bruised body was found on the East side of Detroit".
Yes, times have certainly changed. Even FM radio stations play less music. Most stations have changed over to a talk show format. Perhaps that is the reason that satellite radio continues to gain popularity among radio listeners.
Whatever the case, good, free radio is a thing of the past. There never will be another CKLW in our lifetime. We can only have fond memories of the past.


Anonymous said...

It is funny that you mention Mickey Shores. I pass one on my way to and from work everyday. I have basically given up on terestrial radio because of all the commericials and how often they repeat the same songs. I listen to my Ipod when I want to listen to music and podcast on my Ipod when I want to listen to talk radio. It is great being about to listen to buckeye radio in TSUN.

petetow said...

I usually listen to music while driving or on occasion if I can find one a play, I love radio plays they make you picture the story, football or sports I leave for lazing in one of the garden hammocks, the main trouble with most radio stations is the repetiveness, in a morning it takes over an hour to work and the local stations DJ tells the same stories every fifteen minutes, (well not to me I now don't bother with the radio) for most listeners this will make them swap stations why oh why must they be so boring.