The CKLW Years, Part 2 (The 1970s and '80s)

(Photo courtesy Tom Howard)

It was Canadian, but sounded American - and folks on both sides of the border loved it. CKLW, the Big 8, was one of the most influential and popular Top 40 stations for both Canada and the U.S. at the same time.

While it had already been playing hit music, CKLW really rose to the fore when it adopted the Drake format as the Big 8 in 1967. Paul Drew came up from WQXI Atlanta to assume the reins of program director. He was a perfect choice being both a Michigan native and former neighbour of Bill Drake in Georgia.

For next decade-and-a-half - under Drew and other PDs like Ted Atkins and Alden Diehl, CKLW ruled as one of Canada's most listened to radio stations. The format was clean, mean and streamlined. Everything about it was tight and a bit raunchy, including the news. Among the leading personalities to grace the airwaves there were Tom Shannon, Dave Shafer, Charlie Van Dyke, Frank Brodie, Terry Knight, Walt "Baby" Love, Bill Gable, Tom Rivers, Ted Richards, Scott Regen, Gary Burbank, Charlie O'Brien, Dick Purtan, Gary Burbank, Byron McGregor and Dick Smyth. It was an absolutely unforgettable era.

Thanks to several dedicated collectors  - including CKLW superfan Tom Howard -we are able to showcase the great sound of CKLW through the years, from the pre-Big 8 years to just before the end of 'CK's Top 40 era in 1984.

Listen, and enjoy!

And after you're finished here, please visit...

The CKLW Years, Part 1: The 1960s...
 

Talent: FRANK BRODIE
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: January 25, 1970
Time: 51:28 (unscoped)

(Mike Marshall - a.k.a. Frank Brodie - in 2001)

Nineteen-fifty-eight was a year like none other. John Diefenbaker was re-elected prime minister in one of Canada's biggest electoral landslides. The United States put a satellite into space for the first time the successful launch of Explorer. In sports, major league baseball reached the U.S. west coast with the debut season of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants.

It was a big year in radio, too. WKBW, the 50,000-watt Buffalo, N.Y., powerhouse, went to a 24-hour Top 40 format. In Los Angeles, Chuck Blore's Colour Radio Top 40 KFWB debuted.

Also in 1958, what would turn out be a successful and versatile radio career began. Mike Marshall takes it from here...

"The story started at C-HOW in 1958 (still in high school), first really full-time job at CKKW in early 1960, then CHML late that year (age 20.

Went out west to CHED in Edmonton in December, 1963. It was in a shambles on my arrival. I basically became my own PD, playing only a small percentage of what had to be about 120 currents, what I thought were the hottest hitbounds and a little Gold for spice. Had never done rock before but guessed right. CJCA (also Top 40, ruled) but in the Spring '64 BBM, our evening slot beat the syndicated Dick Clark Show on CJCA. They seemed to take notice.
 


When Barry Boyd left their afternoon drive slot that summer -- (he had an asthmatic son, so they moved to California) -- I went over, asked for his job and was hired on the spot. After a year of high visibility, I went back to CHED (PM Drive) and with Bob McCord, Wes Montgomery, Don Kay and a few others, we set about dismantling what had been the market leader for quite a few years. I don't think CJCA was ever the same.

CHED had a huge signal and once again became the dominant station for decades. (Prior to my arrival in Edmonton, CHED had been very successful in the '50s but lost it all when they moved to 630 on the dial and changed formats at the same time. CJCA scooped the Top 40 audience and killed 'em.)

I worked at CHED three times, CHML four times and CFTR twice. CKLW was the best and most exciting but CHML in the '60s was also superbly run. Tom Darling was so savvy - a great teacher - and Bill Hall, later Bob Hooper, were great detail guys. When I was hired at The Big 8 and got into their philosophy, it was like, "OK, I know this. I learned this at the knee of Tommy Darling.

Looking back, I was really lucky to work for a lot of very good stations and some of the best programmers in the business. What's not to like?"
 

Enjoy Mike Marshall - as Frank Brodie - on CKLW here.

Enjoy Mike Marshall - as Frank Brodie - on CKLW here.
 

(The Tom Howard Collection)



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Talent: FRANK BRODIE
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: January 26, 1970
Time: 18:33

More of Mike Marshall - a.k.a. Frank Brodie - from the very next day!
 

Enjoy Mike Marshall - as Frank Brodie - on CKLW here.

Enjoy Mike Marshall - as Frank Brodie - on CKLW here.
 

(The Tom Howard Collection)


Talent: ED MITCHELL
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: February 5, 1970
Time: 12:54

Enjoy more of Ed Mitchell on CKLW here.

Enjoy more of Ed Mitchell on CKLW here.
 

(The Bill Dulmage Collection)


Talent: BIG JIM EDWARDS
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: March 17, 1970
Times: Part 1 - 1:16:32 (unscoped)
            Part 2 - 19:57 (unscoped)

(left to right - Tom Howard, Jim Davis (Big Jim Edwards), Charlie Ritenburg)
Photo credit: Colin Kennedy (former CKLW board op)

There's a lot more to an aircheck that meets the eye ... or ear in this case.

First of course you need an on-air talent worthy of recording for posterity (luckily there was plenty of that in the Top 40 era). Then you have to have someone with the foresight to actually record that talent. Then - much later on down the line - it helps to have someone who can digitally restore that aircheck into an audio masterpiece.

All three elements are at work on this aircheck. First, there's the on-air talent, none other than Big Jim Edwards - a.k.a. Jim Davis - one of the top CKLW jocks during its glory years as the Big 8. The person who did the recording is Tom Howard, a radio historian who saved countless CKLW shows that otherwise would have been lost. Then there's Charlie Ritenburg, aircheck collector and production whiz whose expertise at restoring this and other airchecks is second-to-none.


Enjoy Part One of Big Jim Edwards on CKLW (UNSCOPED) here.

Enjoy Part One of Big Jim Edwards on CKLW (UNSCOPED) here.
 

Enjoy Part Two of Big Jim Edwards on CKLW (UNSCOPED) here.

Enjoy Part Two of Big Jim Edwards on CKLW (UNSCOPED) here.
 

(The Tom Howard Collection)




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Talent: DUKE ROBERTS
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: March 20, 1970
Time: 33:50 (unscoped)

Few jocks can claim to have worked at both CKLW and CHUM.

Duke Roberts is one of them.

Roberts's Big 8 stint was sandwiched between two stints at CHUM, the first being in 1969 when he was known as Gary Duke. After a brief stint at CKLW in 1970, he went to KFRC San Francisco before returning to CHUM in 1972 as Duke Roberts where he stayed until leaving for Toronto rival CFTR the following year.

At least five other jocks have worked at both CKLW and CHUM: Tom Rivers, Scott Carpenter (as Dean Scott), Daryl B., Dr. Don Reagan and Charlie O'Brien. If you can think of any more, let us know.
 

Enjoy Duke Roberts on CKLW here.

Enjoy Duke Roberts on CKLW here.
 

(The Tom Howard Collection)




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Talent: SCOTT REGEN
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: March 30, 1970
Time: 24:10

Back in the golden days of personality radio, Scott Regen was personality-plus. Few deejays had the special connection with the listeners and the artists that Regen did.

Like many jocks of the era, Regen got involved in radio early. When he was 14, the Brooklyn-born future jock watched in the studio as the legendary William B. Williams did his live Saturday show on WNEW New York. His interest peaked, he was soon on-the-air in Tampa, Fla., first at WPKM and later at WALT as Robert B., the Double B (his birth name is Bob Bernstein).

Later, it was on to WINQ and WLCY in Tampa, and WFUN in Miami as Rock Robbins. That led to gigs at WCPO Cincinnati, and WHB Kansas City.

Next up was WKNR Detroit. Hearing that Gary Stevens was leaving the station, Robbins applied for the job. After three audition tapes, he got the show, and in typical 1960s radio promotion style, he rode into Detroit from Kansas City on a skateboard! The station even ran a contest asking listeners to guess how many skateboards it would take Robbins (who had never skateboarded before) to complete the trip. Such was the anything goes world of Top 40 radio in the '60s.

Upon arriving at WKNR in 1965, Robbins changed his air name to avoid confusion with Robin Seymour, a popular Detroit radio jock. He became Scott Regen, getting his new last name out of the phone book. It was at WKNR that Regan got involved interviewing artists, and visiting high schools and drive-ins to find out what the kids really wanted to hear. The result was that Regen got to know the artists and his listeners personally, which made for that "special connection" he had with his audience.

Regen moved across the river to CKLW in 1968 for the late-evening shift, returning to WKNR in late 1971 just before the end of that station's Top 40 days in April, 1972. He also jocked in Detroit at WCAR and WDRQ.
 

Enjoy Scott Regen on CKLW here.

Enjoy Scott Regen on CKLW here.

 

(The Tom Howard Collection)

NOTE: Some of the information for this description was gleaned from an interview with Scott Regen on the Keener 13 site. To read the entire interview, go to keener13.com.


Talent: BILL WINTERS
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: August, 1970
Time: 13:20

Bill Winters was a successful jock, but we'll never know how great his career could have been. That's because he died, in the prime of his life, in November, 1975. He was only 35.

Before his untimely death, Winters had worked at a number of major stations, including WKYC Cleveland, WIBG Philadelphia, WPOP Hartford, WBZ Boston, WCAO Baltimore, WQAM Miami and WCBS-FM New York.

He was CKLW's morning man from August, 1970 to March, 1971.
 

Hear Bill Winters on CKLW here.

Hear Bill Winters on CKLW here.
 

(The Tom Howard Collection)


Talent: CHUCK WILLIAMS
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: September 2, 1970
Time: 59:55 (unscoped)
           17:27 (scoped)

He's best known for his infamous on-air meltdown as Chuck McKay, but the man born Jim Welch was more than just a one-rant wonder.

Welch had a long and successful radio career, with stops at two of North America's leading Top 40 stations, CKLW and WLS Chicago. Before CKLW and WLS, he jocked at WNHC New Haven, Conn. After 'CK, he appeared on WMYQ Miami, WVBF Boston, KRIZ, KKLT and KTAR Phoenix, KVI Seattle, KWFM Tucson, Ariz., WHB and KMBR/KLTH Kansas City. He died of natural causes in 2008 in Phoenix at the age of 59.

Hear Chuck Williams on CKLW from September 2, 1970 (UNSCOPED) here. (59:55)

Hear Chuck Williams on CKLW from September 2, 1970 (UNSCOPED) here. (59:55)
 

Hear Chuck Williams on CKLW from September 2, 1970 (SCOPED) here. (17:27)

Hear Chuck Williams on CKLW from September 2, 1970 (SCOPED) here. (17:27)

 

(The Tom Howard Collection)




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Talent: STEVE HUNTER
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: March 16, 1971
Time: 17:25

(Chart scan courtesy Tom Howard)

In 1969, Steve Hunter had the rather daunting task of succeeding radio legend Tom Shannon in the early-evening shift at CKLW. He did well, spending two years in that demanding slot before departing in 1971.

Hunter talks about that and his time in radio below...

"In case you're a normal human who doesn't remember the more obscure folks like me, I was a Big 8 jock -- 6-9 pm, succeeded Tom Shannon in that slot -- as "Steve Hunter" -- then was afternoon drive at WIXY for half a year, returned to WCAR to do afternoon drive during its 1972 kamikaze run at CKLW, and finally slinked off to do Boston radio and to program a few places for Kent Burkhart before retiring into the oil business and boredom. I returned to radio as a news anchor at WSB in Atlanta in the mid-90's, as "Steve Jolly," but that was mostly for the fun of proving I still had an ego that could misguide me. That's my story, and it's stuck with me!"

Enjoy Steve Hunter on CKLW here.

Enjoy Steve Hunter on CKLW here.
 

(The Tom Howard Collection)


Talent: DAVE SHAFER
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: August 22, 1971
Time: 30:42 (unscoped)

Dave Shafer had two tours of duty at CKLW.

He was at 'CK from 1963 to 1968. He returned in 1971 and was gone for good by 1974.
 

Hear Dave Shafer in his second tour of duty at CKLW here.

Hear Dave Shafer in his second tour of duty at CKLW here.
 

(The Tom Howard and Don Shuttleworth Collections)




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Talent: TOM RIVERS
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: August 29, 1971
Time: 30:18 (unscoped)
          
3:11 (scoped)

After leaving his first tour of duty at CHUM in mid-1971, Tom Rivers headed to another legendary station - the Big 8, CKLW.

Rivers' stay at 'CK was brief - he returned to CHUM the next year (after a stop at WIBG Philadelphia) before beginning a cross-continent radio journey in the mid-'70s that would take him to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Anchorage, Edmonton and back to CHUM in 1981 to succeed Jay Nelson on the morning show.
 

Hear Tom Rivers on CKLW (UNSCOPED) here.

Hear Tom Rivers on CKLW (UNSCOPED) here.
 

Hear Tom Rivers on CKLW (SCOPED) here.

Hear Tom Rivers on CKLW (SCOPED) here.
 

(The Tom Howard Collection via Don Shuttleworth)




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AUDIO ENHANCEMENT by Andy Rebscher (scoped version)


Talent: HAL MARTIN
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: August, 1971
Time: 31:10 (unscoped)

Hal Martin (Michael Spears) did two tours of duty at CKLW, and was also heard by that name at KLIF Dallas among other stations. But he really made his mark as a programmer, consulting such stations as KFRC San Francisco, WYSL Buffalo, N.Y., and WPNT (The Point) Chicago. Over the years, his stations won Billboard Station of the Year honours three times and he was named Billboard Program Director of the Year twice. Spears was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2004 a year before he died of cancer at age 58.

Enjoy Hal Martin on CKLW here.

Enjoy Hal Martin on CKLW here.


(The Tom Howard Collection)




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Talent: STEVE HUNTER 
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: September 3, 1971
Time: 47:36 (unscoped)
           
24:58 (scoped)

Here's more from Steve Hunter, CKLW's early-evening jock from 1969 to 1971.

On this extended 1971 aircheck, you'll hear a full newscast from Mark O'Brien (check out his rather unusual lead item), plus all the formatics that made 'CK such a great station in the early '70s.|
 

Enjoy Steve Hunter on CKLW (UNSCOPED) here.
 

Enjoy Steve Hunter on CKLW (UNSCOPED) here.

 

Enjoy Steve Hunter on CKLW (SCOPED) here.


Enjoy Steve Hunter on CKLW (SCOPED)
here.
 

(The Tom Howard Collection)




Rock Radio Scrapbook pays
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Talent: DAVE SHAFER
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: December 7, 1972
Time:
 14:17

Dave Shafer had two tours of duty at CKLW.

He was at 'CK from 1963 to late '67-early 68. He returned in 1971 and was gone for good by 1974.
 

Hear Dave Shafer in his second tour of duty at CKLW here.

Hear Dave Shafer in his second tour of duty at CKLW here.
 

(The Tom Howard Collection)


Talent: TED RICHARDS
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: May 31, 1973
Time: Part 1 - 13:28
           Part 2 - 9:54

Teddy Bear is on the air!

One of the smoothest and longest-tenured of the Big Eight jocks, Ted "The Bear" Richards started at 'CK in 1972 and was there until the end of the Big Eight era in 1984. Richards' first radio gig was in 1965 at WBLR Batesburg-Leesburg in his home state of South Carolina. He was also on WDXY Sumter, S.C., Armed Forces Radio and WAPE Jacksonville, Fla., before going to the Big Eight. While at 'CK, he worked mostly early-evening or late-evening shifts, with a couple of stints in afternoon drive. Post-'CK, Richards jocked at WOMC and WHND Detroit, WRQN Toledo, WTRG Raleigh, N.C., Jones Radio Networks in Denver and WVCO Myrtle Beach, S.C.

As if hearing The Bear isn't enough, we also have a CKLW "20'20" newscast with Lee Marshall at the 6:53 mark of this superb sample of the Big Eight in its glory years.
 

Hear Ted "The Bear" Richards on CKLW (Part 1) here.

Hear Ted "The Bear" Richards on CKLW (Part 1) here.


Hear Ted "The Bear" Richards on CKLW (Part 2) here.

Hear Ted "The Bear" Richards on CKLW (Part 2) here.
 

(The Tom Howard Collection)


Talent: TED RICHARDS
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: June 4, 1973
Times: Part 1 - 34:41 (unscoped)
            Part 2 - 38:21 (unscoped)

The only thing better than a scoped aircheck of CKLW is an unscoped one.

This is the Big 8 in all its glory, with the jock, the jingles, the spots and the music!
 

Hear Ted "The Bear" Richards on CKLW (Part 1) here.

Hear Ted "The Bear" Richards on CKLW (Part 1) here.
 

Hear Ted "The Bear" Richards on CKLW (Part 2) here.

Hear Ted "The Bear" Richards on CKLW (Part 2) here.
 

(The Tom Howard Collection)




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Talent: EDDIE ROGERS
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: June 5, 1973
Time: 29:38

When one grows tired of working in the wild and wacky world of radio, sometimes you just have to reinvent yourself. Eddie Rogers did just that.

After leaving his final radio job at WLTI-FM in Detroit in 1996, Rogers decided he was through with the biz ("just weary", according to a Detroit News article in November 2000). So he switched careers, and dramatically so. After getting a management major at Wayne State University and an MBA at Michigan State, he was hired as a zone manager in field operations at Ford Motor Co. At 53, he had a new career. Meanwhile, he and his wife continued to co-own a production company - founded by them in 1987 - that puts on singles dances every weekend.

Rogers spent three decades in radio, mostly in the Detroit market, but also with stops in Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

Rogers was at CKLW in 1972 and '73.
 

We hear him from June 5, 1973 here.

We hear him from June 5, 1973 here.
 

(The Tom Howard Collection)


Talent: MARK DAILEY
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: June 29, 1973
Time: 11:36

"There was music in that voice."
- Anne Mroczkowski, former CITY-TV anchor

Best known for his television work, Mark Dailey was a radio guy first.

The native of Youngstown, Ohio got his media start in the late '60s when, though only in his mid-teens, he became a radio reporter at WNIO-AM in his hometown. He also did anchor and booth announcer duties at local TV station WYTV. Dailey went to WHOT-AM Youngstown in 1971, then in 1972 became a reporter and anchor at CKLW, where, as CITY-TV anchor Gord Martineau told the National Post. Dailey "really cut his teeth" and "figured out presentation skills." He came to Toronto in 1974, first joining CHUM's news staff then becoming the first news director at Q-107 (CILQ) in 1977.

Dailey moved to television in 1979, where for the next 31 years he was crime reporter, anchor, assignment editor, producer and image voice at CITY-TV Toronto. It was there he established his legend as "The Voice" of Toronto, highlighted by his iconic "CITY-TV, Everywhere" top-of-the-hour pronouncements, in his distinctive baritone voice.

A survivor of prostate cancer, Dailey announced to his television viewers in September, 2010 that he had kidney cancer. The disease spread to his lungs, and he died of lung cancer December 6, 2010 in Toronto. He was 57.
 

Enjoy Mark Dailey with a complete CKLW newscast here.

Enjoy Mark Dailey with a complete CKLW newscast here.
 

(The Don Shuttleworth Collection via Charlie Ritenburg)


Talent: PAT HOLIDAY
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: August 6, 1973
Time: 9:13

One of CKLW's mainstays throughout the 1970s was Pat Holiday. The smooth-sounding Holiday was CKLW's midday host throughout most of the decade, starting in 1971. He went on to program CKLW-FM in the 1980s. Later, he held top programming/management jobs at Standard Radio at CJFM Montreal (Mix 96), CFRB and CKFM (Mix 99.9) Toronto and GM/PD at CJAY/CKMX Calgary.
 

Hear Pat Holiday here.

Hear Pat Holiday here.

 

(The Tom Howard Collection)


Talent: BILL GABLE
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: July 13, 1974
Time: 9:01

To many listeners, rock radio jocks were like family. Even the nicknames had a "family" to them.

There was "The Cuz" - Cousin Brucie, Bruce Morrow. Father figures abounded: "Big Daddy" Tom Donahue, "Mad Daddy" Pete Meyers, "DaddyDave Scott and "Daddy Cool" Dave Booth. The younger set was represented by Walt "Baby" Love, Lee "Baby" Sims and the "Wild Child" Dick Kemp. There was Sonny Fox, and even "The Tiger Twins". And "Brother" Jon Rivers.

There was another "brother" - "Brother" Bill Gable. And this 'bro worked at the biggies - KHJ Los Angeles, CKLW Windsor, CFTR and CHFI in Toronto, WLW Cincinnati and WOCL and WMMO in Orlando to name a few. Even in the tight Top 40 format, he always sounded warm and friendly. Just like a favourite member of the family.
 

Hear Bill Gable on CKLW here.

Hear Bill Gable on CKLW here.
 

(The Tom Howard Collection)


Talent: GARY BURBANK
Station: 
CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: 
July 16, 1974
Time: 28:26

Quite a few characters did the morning show at CKLW during the Big Eight years. But one man with a lot of characters gave that time slot plenty of character during the mid-'70s.

Gary Burbank did the 'CK morning show from 1974 to 1976, following in the footsteps of Dave Shafer, Chuck Morgan, Charlie Van Dyke and Big Jim Edwards. Bill Winters, Frank Brodie and Shafer (again) also did mornings at the Big Eight before Burbank arrived. Burbank would be succeeded by Tom Shannon and Dick Purtan among others in 'CK morning drive but not before providing some memorable Big Eight moments.

Burbank brought an impressive arsenal of outrageous satirical humour and off-beat characters to his shows. Perhaps his most famous character was Earl Pitts Uhmerikun, a redneck spouting daily commentaries on just about everything. Burbank developed this and other characters during a four-decade career that  included time at WAKY and WHAS Louisville, Ky., WNOE New Orleans, and a 26-year run at WLW Cincinnati that ended with his retirement in 2007.

The man born Bill Purser started in radio in the mid-'60s in his hometown of Memphis at WMPS. He used the air name Johnny Apollo then, changing it to Gary Burbank after arriving at WAKY in 1968. The name Burbank was inspired by Gary Owens, the Los Angeles radio legend who would say he was broadcasting from "beautiful downtown Burbank" during the TV show Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.
 

Enjoy Gary Burbank on CKLW here.

Enjoy Gary Burbank on CKLW here.
 

(The Tom Howard Collection)


Talent: BILL GABLE
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: August, 1974
Time: 30:51 (unscoped)
          
10:36 (scoped)

Bill Gable had a great radio career on both sides of the border.

The native of Phoenixville, Pa., got his start at WAEB Allentown, Pa., as a teenager in 1968, followed by a stint at WRAW Reading, Pa. His first big market gig was at WEAM Washington in 1970. Many other U.S. stops followed: KHJ Los Angeles, WHBQ Memphis, WLW Cincinnati, WMAG Greensboro, N.C., WGRV (The Groove) Detroit and WOCL and WMMO Orlando.

North of the border, Gable did two tours of duty at CKLW during its Big Eight glory in the '70s ("one of the five best radio jobs in the world that you could get" says Gable) and also appeared on Toronto stations CFTR and CHFI-FM. He retired from radio March 31, 2014, having spent the last six years of his career co-hosting the morning show at AM 740 Toronto.

A three-time nominee for Billboard's Air Personality of the Year Award, Gable also won the CLIO award for Best Conceived Radio, one of radio's top advertising awards, for his work in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Memphis.
 

Hear Bill Gable on CKLW (unscoped) here.  

Hear Bill Gable on CKLW (unscoped) here.
 

Hear Bill Gable on CKLW (scoped) here

Hear Bill Gable on CKLW (scoped) here

 

(The Tom Howard Collection)




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Talent: CKLW 20-20 NEWS with GRANT HUDSON
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: August 19, 1974
Time: 1:35

Photo courtesy Jay Golden

Today's tabloid shows have nothing on CKLW 20-20 News. It was the most in-your-face, go-for-the-gore news presentation perhaps ever heard in broadcast history - the beginning if you will of shock radio. Tasteless? Yes. Priceless? Also yes. And whether you liked them or not, they certainly were a ratings grabber much like the "shock jocks" of today.
 

This 20-20 newscast by Grant Hudson is a classic. Hear it here.

This 20-20 newscast by Grant Hudson is a classic. Hear it here.
 

(The Jay Golden and Ross Carlin Collections)


Talent: CHUCK "HOT TICKET" McKAY
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: February 19, 1975
Time: 16:47

Chuck McKay/Williams (second from left)

(CKLW Chart courtesy Tom Howard)

It's one of the most famous - or infamous - airchecks in Top 40 radio history.

In the early morning hours of February 19, 1975, Chuck McKay - a.k.a. Chuck Williams - gave one of the most bizarre radio performances ever captured on tape.

Not surprisingly, this was the last time McKay ever talked on CKLW. But he was certainly talked about for years afterward.
 

Hear Chuck McKay here.

Hear Chuck McKay here.
 

(Note: Portions of this aircheck may be unsuitable for younger ears.)

(The Charlie Ritenburg Collection)


Subject: MILLION DOLLAR WEEKEND REUNION
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: March 20-21, 1976
Times: Various



For one glorious weekend in 1976, CKLW was the Big Eight again.

Frank Brodie, Charlie Van Dyke, Big Jim Edwards and Tom Shannon returned to the CKLW airwaves the weekend of March 20-21 to reprise their deejay roles from several years earlier. Each did four-hour shifts, with Brodie, Van Dyke and Edwards entertaining on Saturday the 20th, and Shannon jocking on Sunday the 21st.

Frank Brodie - a.k.a. Mike Marshall - tells us the story behind the Million Dollar Weekend Reunion...

"Les Garland was the PD at CK during the "Return of the Million Dollar Weekend" and I was at CHML at the time. I remember that because I was concerned that the drastic differences in the on-air presentations of 'ML and the Big 8 might be enough to do me in.

Val (Mike's wife) & I drove down to Windsor the night before, tried to get to bed as early as we could but I didn't sleep very well, knowing, at best, that I would be hanging on by the skin of my teeth the following morning."

Saturday 9 a.m.-1 p.m.: Hear the return of Frank Brodie:


                                                  Short version here. (7:16)


                                                  Short version here. (7:16)



                                                  Long version here. (33:41)


                                                  Long version here. (33:41)
 

Saturday 1-5 p.m.: Hear the return of Charlie Van Dyke:

                                                  Short version here. (10:53)

                                                  Short version here. (10:53)


                                                   Long version here. (41:57)


                                                   Long version here. (41:57)
 

Saturday 5-9 p.m.: Hear the return of Big Jim Edwards:

                                                 Short version here. (7:56)


                                                 Short version here. (7:56)



                                                Long version here. (28:15)


                                                Short version here. (28:15)

 

Sunday 1-5 p.m.: Hear the return of Tom Shannon:

                                                Short version here. (4:51)


                                                Short version here. (4:51)



                                                Long version here. (37:58)


                                               
Long version here. (37:58)



... on the CKLW Million Dollar Weekend Reunion!

(The Tom Howard and Charlie Ritenburg Collections)

(Note: Tom Howard supplied the short versions and Charlie Ritenburg the long versions.)


Talent: TOM SHANNON with newsmen RANDALL CARLISLE and BYRON MacGREGOR
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: September 27, 1976
Time: 36:07

One of CKLW's greatest jocks, plus two of its best-remembered newsmen are all together on this wonderful audio snapshot of CKLW in 1976.

The names alone inspire awe: Dick Smyth, Byron MacGregor, Joe Donovan, Steve Madley, Jon Belmont, Grant Hudson, Lee Marshall. They and others graced the CKLW news mike during the station's Top 40 years. Also on the 'CK news team: Randall Carlisle. This big-voiced announcer has enjoyed an Emmy-award winning career in television in markets like Salt Lake City, Minneapolis and Houston. But he started in radio - at age 14 he won the Ohio State radio announcing contest and got a part-time job at a small Ohio radio station. After graduating with a bachelors degree in speech from OSU, he continued in radio, joining the legendary CKLW in the 1970s.

You have to be good to have an award named after you - and Byron MacGregor was very good. Each year the Radio-Television News Directors Association of Canada (RTNDA) gives out the Byron MacGregor Award for best newscast, a fitting tribute to the long-time CKLW news director. MacGregor gained everlasting fame when his recording of Gordon Sinclair's commentary The Americans made the charts in the 1970s. The recording gained new life when it was re-released following the 9-11 attacks. The Calgary-born MacGregor - whose real name is Gary Mack - died in 1995. He was only 46.

As for Tom Shannon, his career is well-documented elsewhere on this site. But it should be noted that in 1976, he had just started his second tour of duty at 'CK, which would last until the early '80s. His first time around at 'CK was from 1964 to 1969.

Also on this aircheck: Byron MacGregor's wife Jo-Jo Shutty-MacGregor, a CKLW traffic reporter at the time.
 

Enjoy Tom Shannon and the rest of the CKLW morning crew here.

Enjoy Tom Shannon and the rest of the CKLW morning crew here.
 

(The Tom Howard Collection)


Talent: TOM SHANNON
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: May 10, 1978
Time: 30:34

An amazing array of personalities did morning drive at CKLW during its time as a rock station. No fewer than 16 announcers hosted or co-hosted the morning show after Bud Davies ended a 29-year run at the Windsor station in 1966.

Dusty Rhodes replaced Davies - he was followed by Bob Drake (1967), Dave Shafer (1967), Chuck Morgan (December, 1967), Big Jim Edwards (around fall of 1968), Charlie Van Dyke (late 1968 or early 1969) and Edwards again (mid-1969). After Edwards left in mid-1970, he was replaced by Bill Winters who carried on until at least February, 1971. Frank Brodie took over by March, 1971 and left in August, 1972. Shafer made a return appearance from 1972 to 1974. Gary Burbank was the new morning man in '74, but Bob Moody had replaced him by early '76.

Tom Shannon started doing mornings later in 1976, followed by Dick Purtan and Tom Ryan (Purtan and Ryan) in 1978. After Purtan left in 1983, Ryan replaced him for about a year. He was joined by Tom Delisle and the show became The Ryan Company. In 1984, Ryan and Delisle were replaced by the team of Paul W. Smith and Erin Davis (later of CHFI fame) who stayed until the end. On January 1, 1985 CKLW dropped hit music for big bands and standards. We welcome corrections and additions here.

Tom Shannon's morning stint at 'CK was his second time around at the station - he was a night-time jock there from 1964 to 1969.
 

Enjoy Shannon on 'CK from May 10, 1978 here.

Enjoy Shannon on 'CK from May 10, 1978 here.
 

(The Tom Howard Collection)


Talent: DICK PURTAN
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: April 8, 1980
Time: 11:38

The operative word is personality.

Twice Dick Purtan has been named Billboard Magazine's "Major Market Air Personality of the Year," and he's also won the National Association of Broadcasters MARCONI award as "Major Market Air Personality of the Year." Four times he's won the Radio & Records Industry Achievement Award as "Personality of the Year."

You have to have a lot of personality to last as long in radio as Purtan. The native of Kenmore, N.Y., got his start in 1958 at WWOL Buffalo, N.Y. He was Guy King then, and later used the name Paul Purtan (his birth name is Paul Richard Purtan) at WOLF Syracuse, N.Y., and WSAI Cincinnati. He switched permanently to Dick Purtan at WKNR Dearborn, Mich., in 1965. Aside from a brief stint at WBAL Baltimore in 1968 (where he was fired for using the word "guts"), Purtan spent the rest of his career in Detroit. His resume includes stops at WXYZ (where he did both mornings and afternoons for a combined seven-hour air shift), WCZY-WKQI and WOMC. The man behind Purtan's People also did mornings on the legendary CKLW from 1978 to 1983.

Purtan was named to the Radio Hall of Fame in 2004. He retired from radio on March 26, 2010 with a final show on WOMC.
 

Hear Dick Purtan on 'CK here.

Hear Dick Purtan on 'CK here.
 

(The Bill Dulmage Collection)


Talent: JACK LONDON
Station: CKLW Windsor, Ont.
Date: Summer, 1982
Time: 5:45

By 1982, CKLW was nearing the end of its life as a music station, but still rockin'. Jack London, who was Red Knight at CFTR Toronto a few years earlier, was doing afternoon drive at 'CK in '82. We have an excerpt from his last show. London - whose real name is Peter Thompson - retired in December, 2006 after some two decades at Quinte Broadcasting in Belleville, Ont.
 

Rock Radio Scrapbook presents Jack London here.

Rock Radio Scrapbook presents Jack London here.
 

(The Bill Dulmage Collection)


VISIT THE CKLW YEARS, PART 1 (The 1960s)

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