Moonlight – Vik Venus – 1969
Where Detroit Radio Plays On
STATION FORMAT RUMORED 2 YEARS IN WAIT; PD MAKE CHANGE IMMEDIATE
DETROIT — Exactly as rumor stated, WCAR here has switched to a rock format. The oddity about the format change and the rumor, however, is that the rumor dates back at least two years . . . . dates back in fact, to the day that Ken Draper signed a contract to consult the ultra-powered station. It had been a middle-of-the-road station since Draper took it under his wing; before that, it was more or less of a mishmash in programming.
The original intention according to program director Neil McIntyre, was to stick to an MOR format. The factors that precipitated the program change, in spite of previous intentions, was the failure of WKNR to make it in the market with a rock format. And, too, CKLW, a long-time powerhouse, was no longer connected with program consultant Bill Drake and, in fact, was being forced by government regulation, to program a large portion of Canadian product in its programming. Perhaps the key factor was the absence of Drake.
WCAR, with 50,000-watts during the day and 10,000-watts at night, is playing between 40 to 60 records; “never less than 40,” says McIntyre, plus a feature album a week. More that that, the station is the station is keying on album cuts and, for example, played six cuts of the new Blood, Sweat and Tears album.
“We’re playing album cuts as if they were singles,” McIntyre reiterated. He listed “Surrender” by Diana Ross from her new album, and, “Hello Groceries” by Chase from their LP. There were five LP cuts on the playlist last week. “Even if the cuts are not released as singles, we’ll stay with them a couple of weeks longer just for the sake of adding variety to the format,” McIntyre said.
All records are pre-selected by McIntyre and John Wellman, who works in the office of programming affiliated with the consulting firm operated by Ken Draper, Chuck Blore and John Rook. These are picked either Thursday or Friday and the new playlist is added to the air in afternoon drive time without fanfare. However, there is no set policy of adding new records (seven new singles were added last week) and new product will be put on the air immediately, if warranted. “We put ‘I Woke Up In Love This Morning’ by the Patridge Family on the air Saturday. By Wednesday it was the top requested tune of all the new records.”
WCAR has six direct request lines into the studio and the air personality “had better answer it,” McIntyre said. In the old format, the air personalities used to just rap with listeners; in the rock format, they take requests.
Air personalities pull their own music for their show within the limitations of the format. WCAR personalities include Ray Otis 6-10 a.m.; Dave Prince 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Dan O’Shea 2-6 p.m.; Ed Busch 6-10 p.m.; Scott Regen 10 p.m.-2 a.m.; Warren Pierce 2-6 a.m. — the same staff almost as when WCAR was an MOR station (Regen joined the staff several weeks back).
Clay Proves Pull
The target audience of WCAR is the 15-35 age group. “Mostly, we’re an alternative to listeners. In want of good programming, many were going to the FM stations; now, we’ll be there.” The station will be a personality station and will be actively trying to break new records. “We have been playing the Tom Clay record (“What The World Needs Now Is Love”) for weeks, even when we were an MOR station. Prince mentioned on the air for anyone not able to find the record in their record store to call Motown Records. Al Valenti called us and pleaded for us to give listeners the name of a record store that had stock; he’d been bombarded with phone calls for the record. So, we know we’re already having an impact in the market. The leading Top 40 station in town puts on a couple of records a week. But as a challenger, we can set our own rules about new records.”
WCAR will soon be “beefing-up” its jingles package.
There will be some six-record sweep; the records will be segued. All records will be post-announced. McIntyre, a 14-year veteran in the radio business having worked in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New York and previously program director at WOWO, Fort Wayne, Indiana, before landing at WCAR as program director, exclaimed “it’s nice to see people so excited about a radio station — from the girl at the switchboard to the news director, John Webster, a hell of a guy.” END
(Information and news source: Billboard; August 14, 1971).
COCA-COLA * Jan and Dean * (Coca-Cola Merchandising Ad; 1965)
EDWIN STARR 1966 SALUTE TO A DETROIT RADIO BROADCAST LEGEND
By summer’s end, 1966, “Scott’s On Swingers” became a reality record 45 promo having been written by Charles Edwin Hatcher, who expressed into lyrics a song dedicated especially to WKNR radio deejay Scott Regen in Detroit. Released on Ed Wingate’s Ric-Tic label (Detroit) and numbered RT-109 X, it has been estimated by several Wingate associates since that only 20 to 50 of these recordings were pressed as singles at the time. And were all issued by the label as a single-sided record 45 disk with a blank flip-side. When this recording was made in 1966, and just six months after his arrival at WKNR in Detroit from WHB Kansas City, Scott Regen was by then a dominant influential source promoting the ’60s music scene — having connected well with the ‘Detroit sound’ with his Detroit radio audience during his nightly shows on Keener 13. Whether it be Barry Gordy’s Motown, Ed Wingate’s Golden World Records, national or otherwise, Scott Regen immersed himself into the music he played on the radio when he was on. As it was, it was of no consequence within a short span of several months after his arrival here in June, 1965, Scott Regen was established by mid to year’s end 1966 as the No. 1 night-time radio deejay overall here in the Motor City. And those of us who remember, 1966 was also the year WKNR’s Scottie Regen would be permanently immortalized in words and in song. “Dedicated To Scott Regen,” it was written, produced and was recorded by a young, aspiring 23-year old R&B recording artist, then, who went by the name of Edwin Starr in Detroit. Charles Edwin Hatcher (Edwin Starr) passed away in 2003. But he left a most significant lasting tribute to a legendary WKNR radio talent remembered in Detroit — still today — nearly five decades after this recording was made. Thank you again, Scottie Regen, for those special Keener moments you shared with all of us on the radio here in Detroit –
“… Yeah, listen to his show every night, ’cause the records he plays they are outta sight. So if you see Scott Regen, if anybody see Scott Regen, stop him ON SIGHT.”
M O T O R C I T Y R A D I O F L A S H B A C K S
“SCOTT’S ON SWINGERS (S.O.S.)” * Edwin Starr * RIC-TIC Records (Detroit; 1966)
THE SHY GUYS’ 1966 SALUTE TO A DETROIT RADIO BROADCAST LEGEND
IN DETROIT, by year’s end 1966, the phrase “Burger” would become synonymous with the name of the Keener deejay who went on to create it while on WKNR, Scott “The Burger” Regen. In wake of Regen’s “Burger Club” popularity on his No. 1 show and listener demand for membership to the “Royal Order of Regen Burgers,” a local Detroit high school band, the ‘Shy Guys’ (Oak Park, MI) took to the recording studios later that year to cut this (now extremely) rare 45 vinyl pressing they made in dedication to the “Scott Regen Show on WKNR” (as indicated on the label). Written, produced and recorded by the four band members, the ‘Shy Guys’ (pictured below) comprised of Ron Nelson (lead vocals; guitar), Marty Lewis (vocals; bass), Stu Howard (vocals; guitar) and Mark Finn (vocals; drums). The band previously recorded “We Gotta Go,” off the Panik label (No. 5111) and Palmer Records (No. 5008). The Shy Guys “We Gotta Go,” made it’s WKNR debut (No. 28) on May 16, 1966 according to keener13.com. The song was voted No. 1 for several nights on the “Top 3-Plus 1″ voting nightly on the Scott Regen Show — after one week (May 22) on the WKNR guides. Six weeks on the WKNR Music Guides (May 16 through June 20), “We Gotta Go” peaked No. 15 WKNR on June 6, 1966. “The Burger Song,” on the Burger Records label, was a special “off-shoot” recording (from the original Panik Records label) numbered 5004. “Scott Burger.” So let’s hear it again. One more time. As was recorded and dedicated exclusively — and only — by the ‘Shy Guys’ for WKNR’s Scottie Regen, 1966.
“The Burger Club is growing fast, you gotta join today. All you need is your radio, to swing the ‘Burger’ way . . . ”
– The official WKNR Scott Regen “Burger” membership card above, property/courtesy the official Keener13.com website. For more on Scottie Regen revisit the entire Keener experience only at KEENER13.COM!