Motor City Radio Flashbacks

Where Detroit Radio Plays On


September 22nd, 2014

Motor City Radio Flashbacks logoFrom the MCRFB radio scrapbook: 1947

Detroit’s WJBK Dropping All Religious Commercial Shows






FLASHBACKDETROIT (November 8) — An almost complete turn-about of programming at WJBK, which has been in the works since the station was taken over in July by Fort Industries Corporation, becomes a reality November 16. Latest decision is to drop all religious commercial shows (which have accounted for about 15 hours a week on the station) except from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays.

Heaviest hit will be the Temple Baptist Church, which as carried eight half-hours on the station under the the direction of the Reverend J. Frank Norris, who recently had an audience with the pope. Nearly a dozen other groups, including Protestant denomination an d Catholic churches, are affected.

Other Stations Sought

Stanley Altschuler, now head of the Stanley Advertising Agency here, and formerly foreign and religious director at WJBK, is attempting to find time for some of the groups on some other Detroit stations.

WJBK will continue to find sustaining time for some other religious shows, including a program for the Detroit Ministerial Association and the Ave Marie Hour.

Billboard, November 15, 1947

Billboard, November 15, 1947

In addition, WJBK becomes completely English in programming this week with the Polish Variety Hour, a two-hour show which has been running six days a week with one hour on Sunday afternoon, being taken off the air. The station formerly carried some 15 foreign language groups but has been steadily dropping them with one hour on Sunday afternoon, being taken off the air. The station formerly carried some 15 foreign language groups but has been steadily dropping them since the present management took over. The current Polish show is the last to go.

Most of these shows have been switched to WJLB, another 250-watter, which has taken over the Czech, Lith, Hungarian, Serb, Croat and Syrian shows, which were formerly on WJBK. On Monday (November 8) the Italian American Hour, formerly on WJBK five days a week at 8 p.m., and half an hour Sunday at  3 p.m., is starting over inside WJLB for half an hour at 9:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

The switch has made WJLB practically the only foreign language outlet of the Detroit area, a rating they once shared with WJBK. Altschuler is supervising several of the WJLB programs, but now has no official connection with the station. His agency, however, is selling time on several of the programs, inasmuch as all these foreign language shows are handled on a participating basis.

At least one religious group which got airtime from WJBK is understood to be planning an appeal to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). However a local committee which appealed to the FCC on the foreign language issue a few weeks ago was turned down and it is not expected that the religious group will have a different outcome to the effect just the same. WJBK’s position is that the change will be for better programming in the interest of the majority listener audience. END

(Information and news source: Billboard; November 15, 1947).


September 17th, 2014

From the MCRFB music calendar:

Events on this date: SEPTEMBER 17









1931: RCA Victor unveils its new invention, the 33 1/3 rpm or long-playing “LP” record, at the Savoy Plaza Hotel in New York. However, the company badly overprices the record players themselves, leaving the new format to lie dormant for years until Columbia Records revives it in 1948.

Frank Sinatra “Best Of Columbia Years 1943-1952″ 4 CD Box Set. (Click on image for larger view).

1952: Frank Sinatra records his final session for Columbia; he will be dropped from the label due to poor sales, but rebounds the following year after signing to Capitol and singing more “mature” fare.

1955: The Perry Como Show moves to NBC-TV, expanding from three 15-minute programs per week to a one-hour long variety show on Saturday nights.

1955: After deejays keep complaining that Les Paul’s “Magic Melody” single ends abruptly, Capitol Records releases the shortest single of all time, Les Paul’s “Magic Melody Part 2,” which is merely the final two notes of the old “shave and a haircut” tag. Released only as a promo, it last exactly one second.

1956: The BBC bans Bill Haley’s new single “Rockin’ Through The Rye,” based on the 17th-century tune Scottish tune “Comin’ Through The Rye,” to avoid offending its Scot listeners.

1964: The Beatles breaks with established practice and agree to add an extra date to their current US tour after the British band is offered a then-record $150,000 by the owner of the Kansas City (Missouri) Athletics to perform a concert at Kansas City Municipal Stadium. The Beatles cannily add their medley of “Kansas City / Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey!” to their setlist, the only time they would play this song in during their North American tour. Afterward, their hotel manager sells their unwashed bedsheets to a couple of businessmen from Chicago, who promptly cut them up in 2×2 inch squares and sells them at $10.00 a pop.

Jim Morrison and the Doors’ one and only appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1967. (Click on image for larger view).

1967: Appearing on CBS-TV the Ed Sullivan Show, the Doors are asked to change the line “Girl, we couldn’t get much higher” in their hit, Light My Fire. Lead singer Jim Morrison agrees, then sings the “restricted” references in the line anyway, leading to a permanent ban from the show.

1967: In an ill-advised move, Keith Moon from the Who rigs his bass drum to explode at the end of “My Generation” during the group’s appearance on CBS-TV’s Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Unfortunately, a stage-hand packs far too much explosives into the drum, and the resulting explosion damages Keith’s leg, and causes permanent hearing damage to guitarist Pete Townsend.

1969: Tiny Tim announces his forthcoming marriage to “Miss Vicki” Budinger, which would break records for viewership when the ceremony is broadcast on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. The two are separated three years later, and the couple are divorced in 1977.

Miss Vicki and Tiny Tim weds on the “Tonight Show” in 1969. (Click on image for larger view).

1975: Mayor Stephen Juba of Winnepeg, Canada, declares today “Guess Who Day” in honor of the Canadian band (of hit songs fame: “These Eyes,“American Woman,” “Laughing,” “Share The Land,” “Undun”) in honor of its native sons.

1997: Fleetwood Mac begins their first tour in 20 years at the Meadows Music Theater in Hartford, CT.

2007: Barry Manilow cancels his upcoming appearance on ABC-TV’s The View after learning he would not be allowed to ignore conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck.


Deaths: Rob Tyner (MC5), 1991; Jessie Hill, 1996; Frankie Vaughan, 1999; Al Casey, 2006.

Releases: 1962: “Anna (Go To Him),” Arthur Alexander.

Recording: 1955: “Sixteen Tons,” Tennessee Ernie Ford. 1960: “Walk Right Back,” Everly Brothers. 1968: “Love Child,” Supremes. 1973: “Piano Man,” Billy Joel. 1974: “Shelter From The Storm,” “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go,” Bob Dylan.

Charts: None for this date — 

Certifications: 1968: “Stone Soul Picnic,” 5th Dimension; certified gold by the RIAA.





And that’s just a few of the events which took place in pop music history on this day — September 17


September 16th, 2014

Motor City Radio Flashbacks logoFrom the MCRFB news archives: 1969






SRC 1969 (click on image for largest view).

SRC 1969 (click on image for largest view).

DERAM’S RECORDS own Moody Blues cancelled out of their visit to Detroit August 19. They were to appear at Meadow Brook, and outdoor theater on the main campus of Oakland University. The British group was to appear as part of a series of concerts  that includes Atlantic’s Aretha Franklin, Apple’s Mary Hopkins, Reprise’s First Edition, RCA’s Peter Nero and Atco’s New York Rock & Roll Ensemble . . . WABX-FM held it’s first free concert at Tartar Field Sunday, July 20. The event drew roughly 2,500 people with such acts appearing as the SRC, Savage Grace and Plum Wine, all local groups . . . The Frost, Vanguard Records artists, returned home to Detroit from their West Coast tour rather suddenly when drummer Bobby Rigg was hospitalized after being bitten by a spider. The group made stops at the Fillmore West in San Francisco and the Whiskey Au Go Go in Los Angeles . . . Capitol’s SRC is set to launch on a three months’ tour that will hit cities from California to Toronto.

Cleveland's The James Gang circa 1969.

Cleveland’s James Gang w/ Joe Walsh circa 1969 (click on image for larger view).

The time between August 1 through 3 was a few golden days for Detroiters. Atco’s Blind Faith appeared at the Olympia Stadium Friday, August 1, the Petosky Rock Concert and Jive Fest with London’s John Mayall, SRC, Columbia’s Spencer Davis, Savage Grace, and several other acts took place August 1 through 2, WABX radio held their second free concert August 3 with big local groups and the list goes on . . . . Fantasy’s Creedence Clearwater Revival pulled a hefty crowd into Olympia July 26. On the bill with the San Francisco group was Bell’s Box Tops, Savage Grace and the James Gang. Reprise’s Jethro Tull was to be part of the lineup but the English group did not show up . . . Parrot’s Savoy Brown Blues is set to record an album at the Grande Ballroom in August . . . Jack Bruce, ex-bassman for Cream is reportedly going around England producing back up musicians he remembers from his days backing other musicians and singers. Since he’s now a millionaire, he’s decided to get these guys on record and not worry and not worry about making money off it.

Detroit's The Flaming Ember circa 1969.

Detroit’s Flaming Ember circa 1969 (click on image for expanded view).

A festival in Detroit designed to feature English groups with Michigan groups is being worked on. Some of the artists named in the negotiations are Immediate Records Nice, Atlantic’s Led Zeppelin, RCA’s Lighthouse, Frost, Mainstream Record’s Amboy Dukes and others. . . Motown’s Smokey Robinson has been named chairmen of the “I Care About Detroit” committee. Last year Smokey and the Miracles recorded a tune called “I Care About Detroit” which received fairly good local response . . . Val Pringle is set to appear at the Raven Gallery until August 10 . . . The city of Detroit is trying to reach the younger set through free concerts in the middle of the Motor City every Wednesday afternoon. It’s all part of a “Detroit Is Happening” program . . . Friend & Lover is slated into the Raven Gallery August 12-31. . . . A new club opened up in Detroit recently called The Birth Groups, which they don’t play there as such, instead the club will supply amplifiers and musicians are invited to come in, share the stage and jam. There is no food or beverage, just sound . . . Eddie Holland, of Holland, Dozier, Holland fame has signed several groups to his new Hot Wax label. Included in the groups are the Changing Times, Politicians, the Flaming Ember and the Honey Cone.

Grand Funk Railroad

Grand Funk Railroad
(click image for largest view)

Michigan group the Grand Funk Railroad, Capitol artists, made their first Detroit appearance at the Eastown Theater July 25 . . . They’ve recently signed to appear at the Houston and Nashville Pop Festivals . . . MGM’s Herman’s Hermits did nice business at Windsor’s Elmwood Casino in their recent 10-day stay there . . . WABX-FM announced plans to have another night at the movies. The featured film will be Monterey Pop and special guest artists will be Elektra’s David Peel and the Lower East Side . . . RCA’s Carolyn Franklin, sister of Aretha Franklin, has signed to appear at the Central Canada’s Exhibition’s “Where It’s At” pavilion in Ottawa August 23. END

(Information and news source: Billboard; August 9, 1969).

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