The first clip from “underground” WKNR FM from April 1969, begins with Detroit beat poetry and includes some great music and wonderful ads. The long track played by Procol Harum “In Held Twas In I” was a staple on free form FM and nice to revisit that memory.
The second DJ heard on the clip is Uncle Russ Gibb. He was the owner of the Grande Ballroom in Detroit and responsible for putting a lot of Michigan bands on the map. He also brought in out of town acts such as CCR and The Who, In fact the Who first played Tommy in the states at the Grande and he speaks about that. I believe he took a call on air that started the whole “Paul Is Dead” phenomena. That’s not on this clip.
Russ Gibb also was an investor in Creem magazine- a businessman and broadcaster who liked to speak about his business philosophy on air. A Detroit legend. This clip includes an interview with John Fogerty by Mr Gibb starting at 137:16 on the first clip. CCR was appearing that night at the Grande.
The second clip continues the 1968 countdown and includes songs 77 to 66 on Keener 13 or WKNR AM from December 1968. The DJ is Dan Henderson. A journey back in time when it was fun to listen to Top 40 radio.
Look out for more of the Keener 13 countdown as well as more from WKNR FM.
A great twin slice of Detroit radio from 1968 and 1969. WKNR AM and FM.
The first clip is from the progressive free form format of Dearborn Michigan’s WKNR FM from April 27 1969. WKNR was one of three area commercial “underground” stations at the time. The others being WABX FM and the automated ABC “Love” formatted WXYZ FM. The air check is an excellent example of the diversity of the genre bending “progressive” format. One of the DJ’s heard is Martin Bell.
The second clip is from the AM side of the dial and features the top 113 songs from 1968. The “Keener 13” air check is from late Dec/1968. I have tape of the entire countdown and this portion is from songs 113 to 77. Sadly one song is missing from the countdown, Fever Tree’s San Francisco Girls. Not sure how that omission occurred. Top 40 radio was at it’s peak and some great songs are heard. The countdown chart is pictured below. The DJ featured is Dan Henderson.
I have additional tape from both WKNR AM and FM and watch this space for more great Detroit city rock and folk and blues.
Interesting tape featuring Jack Armstrong near the end of his tenure at Cleveland’s WKYC. This may have been recorded on December 9, 1967. He used the name Big Jack on the station due to the fact that the name Jackson Armstrong was still owned by his previous station WIXY Cleveland.
After Big Jack you will hear Jim LaBarbara, starting at 8:25, doing his last show on WKYC ( January 27, 1968). The station was about to tweak it’s format and launch “Power Radio” and some of the staff was leaving including LaBarbara and Armstrong.
Starting at 32:06 you will hear promos for the coming “Power Radio.” The tape was recorded at night far from Cleveland and you will also hear bits from WABC ( New York) and WCFL ( Chicago) near the end of the clip. There’s no audio on the clip of the launch of the Drake type “Power Radio” as that was in the afternoon and out of range during day time. There are recordings on the net which feature the actual launch.
The days of total free form on WNEW FM were over by the time of this air check from May 1985. More mainstream AOR was beginning to dominate but the diversity heard was still miles ahead of what we hear on most rock radio today.
This is part of the top 1027 countdown from 1985. You will hear WBCN alumni Maxanne Sartori, Dennis Elsas and Carol Miller on this iteration of the countdown which ran several times on the station.
Audio Note: The recording deteriorates for about 3 minutes starting at 26:20 but recovers.
Visit the site’s You Tube Channel to see this 1985 interview with REM: