Motor City Radio Flashbacks

Memories From the Soundtrack of Your Life

BILL DRAKE RIPS RECORD REPS . . . AUGUST 12, 1967

August 22nd, 2017

From the MCRFB NEWS archive: 1967

Drake Blasts Recording Reps for Tabbing Him Tight-Play Addict

 

 

 


 

NEW YORK — Bill Drake, program consultant who has been just hired to consult all RKO General radio stations, including CKLW in Windsor/Detroit, lashed out at record reps who would tag him with the image of a tight playlist artist.

Bill Drake circa 1962

Drake, who scored ratings successes at KFRC in San Francisco and KHJ in Los Angeles, was in New York last week trying to work his magic on an FM station — WOR-FM, a stereo operation that had already made a sizable dent in New York ratings with a rock ‘n’ roll format. One of the first moves Drake did make was hire Gary Mack, formerly at KHJ, at WOR as program director of the station, replacing Art Wander.

As for other changes at the station, Drake said he would would try to improve the presentation of the music and the content. “The station will continue to play a lot of diverse album music, aiming at the 18-35 age group. It’s going to be rock, using every type of LP cut. Oldies would have a lot of influence…. a lot of Motown product, for example.” He said that other radio stations under his banner have been playing album cuts, “but to take an album and put it in the control room and say the deejay can play from it, is the same fallacy a lot of stations make in saying Sinatra is a super star. You don’t play Sinatra for the sake that he’s Sinatra; he’s had some bad cuts too. You don’t play Dylan for the sake he’s Dylan, Sinatra for the sake he’s Sinatra, Motown for the sake they’re Motown,” Drake concluded.

“The object is to play the good Dylan, the good Sinatra,” he said. And a lot can determine this. People working at the various stations guided by Drake listen to every cut of every LP, every single. Drake credits his success to “hard work and the good people working with me in striving for total success.”

Swap Information

Information between the stations is exchanged in writing, there are conference telephone calls on the music itself, as station personnel all exchange playlists. “But the music playlists at various stations vary an awful lot. This actually gives us the opportunity, contrary to opinion, to expose and test nine times as many records as anyone else. If a radio station plays three new different records each week that the other stations are not playing, this would run to 27 new records each week.”

Basically, he felt his radio station policy isn’t just to play the top few records . . . but he does advocate not playing “losing” records. “The object is to play winners. It’s good for us, it’s good for the record companies. If you consistently have weak records on the air, it’s obviously going to limit the amount of exposure you can give a strong record.”

“I could never understand why record companies wouldn’t be irritated because their good product was being hurt by the amount of weak product sometimes played.”

Fresh Product

Drake does believe definitely in playing new records, saying his stations were spinning LP cuts by the Jefferson Airplane before the group hit paydirt with their recent single, “Somebody To Love.” “You’ve always got to have fresh new product on the air… good new records… whether by some new or known artists. Otherwise your station winds up with a staleness.”

Bill Drake circa 1971

Playing records by and for hippies will not lead to a successful radio station; he felt. he believes the whole of the San Francisco movement is a myth. Request radio is also too narrowly aimed . . . “What’s wrong is that these stations get the teenage listeners. You want them too, but not exclusively. Younger kids are the only ones, however, who have the time and patience to dial for a particular song they want to hear on the radio. They aren’t going anywhere anyway. Because they have more time on their hands than older people have.

The object of winning radio is to please everybody without going after just them. “You play ‘Happy Together’ by the Turtles, ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On,’ by the Supremes . . . those are monster records everybody likes.”

Still, aside from the “monster” policy, Drake’s stations for the most part, do allow for some leeway. Tom Rounds, he said, picked up on “Ode To Billie Joe” early and began playing it under the assumption that it was going to become a monster hit on the chart. The record hit the chart a week ago like gangbusters and is still climbing.

Obviously, so is Bill Drake, currently rising fast with WOR-FM in New York and CKLW-AM in Detroit. END

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(Information and news source: Billboard; August 12, 1967)



THIS WEEK 50 YEARS AGO: THE HOTTEST HIT IN THE USA!

August 22nd, 2017


NUMBER 1 IN AMERICA ’67 * Bobbie Gentry * 08/20/67 – 09/16/1967


BILLBOARD HOT 100 TOP FIVE: WEEK-ENDING AUGUST 26, 1967

(Click on chart image 2x for detailed view)


NUMBER ONE FOR 1967!

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FOURTEEN WEEKS on the singles chart, “Ode To Billie Joe” by Bobbie Gentry peaked this week at No. 01 (4 weeks) on the Billboard Hot 100, week August 20 through September 16, 1967(source: Billboard)

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MCRFB Link: For the previous No. 1 record in the U.S.A. 1967 GO HERE.



MARTHA JEAN. ‘THE QUEEN’ OF DETROIT URBAN RADIO

August 18th, 2017

MARTHA JEAN ‘THE QUEEN’ circa 1990s.


Martha Jean Steinberg

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A special THANK YOU to Diane Steinberg Lewis, daughter of Martha Jean Steinberg, for recently sharing with Motor City Radio Flashbacks this lovely portrait of Martha Jean. August 12, 2017.

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A TRIBUTE TO THE QUEEN



PRESS IMAGES FROM DETROIT RADIO’S PAST: ‘JLB 1967

August 18th, 2017

WJLB-AM 1400 MARTHA JEAN ‘The Queen’ 1967 (Press Photo)


WJLB-AM 1400 MARTHA JEAN ‘The Queen’ 1967 (Press Photo)


Martha Jean the Queen

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In the early 1950s, Martha Jean, would become one of but a few female broadcasters in the country working radio “on-the-air.” She landed her first DJ stint in broadcast radio when she was hired at Memphis’ WDIA in 1954.

In 1963, Bell Broadcasting in Detroit, WCHB, hired Martha Jean from Memphis’ WDIA. After three years on the radio there, she left WCHB for Detroit’s WJLB on October 24, 1966.

Fifty years ago, during the Detroit riot in July 1967, in her personal attempt to quell the widespread civil disturbance and “calm the citizenry” — Martha Jean convinced WJLB management to cancel all scheduled programming — thus allowing her to remain on the air for an unprecedented 48 consecutive hours.

The legendary soul radio personality Martha Jean, known as “The Queen,” remained a broadcasting staple for over four decades while in the Motor City. She became a formidable voice for Detroit and its inner-city core. In 1982, she purchased her own radio station, becoming management for WQBH (formerly Detroit’s WMZK).

She remained there on the air until the day she passed away, January 29, 2000.


WDIA MARTHA JEAN Memphis circa 1950s.



DETROIT ‘CHB-AM 1440: NEWSPAPER 1966 FLASHBACK

August 18th, 2017


Sunday, October 23, 1966

A DETROIT RADIO BACK-PAGE

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DETROIT FREE PRESS: WCHB-AM ‘That Queen Of ‘Soul,’ Martha Jean’ 

(Above WCHB related article is courtesy freep.com newspaper archive. Copyright 2017. Newspapers.com).


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ELVIS PRESLEY REMEMBERED. ‘THE KING IS GONE,’ 1977

August 17th, 2017

Ronnie McDowell (Press Photo) 1979


THE KING IS GONE * RONNIE McDOWELL * 1977



A 1960S MOTOR CITY MUSIC FEATURE RECALLED: 1977!

August 17th, 2017

From the MCRFB NEWS archive: 1977

40 YEARS AGO TODAY. ELVIS PRESLEY IS DEAD. WHEN DETROITERS READ THE NEWS

 

 



FROM THE BACK-PAGES OF THE DETROIT FREE PRESS

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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17, 1977

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MEMPHIS, TENN — Elvis Presley, the gyrating king of rock ‘n’ roll who forever changed the face of music two decades ago when he growled, “You Ain’t Nothin’ But A Hound Dog,” died Tuesday of a “erratic heartbeat.” 

(CONTINUES — please read the complete article below) . . . .

— DETROIT FREE PRESS


DETROIT FREE PRESS Wednesday, August 17, 1977


DETROIT FREE PRESS Wednesday, August 17, 1977


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Above ELVIS PRESLEY related article is courtesy freep.com newspaper archive. Copyright 2017. Newspapers.com.


Missed our previously cataloged ‘Motor City ’60s Music’ newspaper features? GO HERE.



DETROIT 1995 WJR-AM RADIO NEWSPAPER FLASHBACK

August 17th, 2017





Thursday, August 17, 1995

A DETROIT RADIO BACK-PAGE

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DETROIT FREE PRESS: WJR-AM “Detroit Radio Legend Falls Silent”

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(Above WJR related article is courtesy freep.com newspaper archive. Copyright 2017. Newspapers.com).


A MCRFB viewing tip: On your PC? You can read the entire 1965 article! For a larger detailed view click above image 2x and open to second window. Click image anytime to return to NORMAL image size.

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PRESS IMAGES FROM DETROIT RADIO’S PAST: WJR 1975

August 17th, 2017

WJR-AM J. P. McCARTHY (Press Photo) 1975



THE VOICE OF MORNINGS REMEMBERED. J.P., WJR 760

August 16th, 2017

J. P. McCARTHY 1970


A TRIBUTE TO J. P. McCARTHY

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J. P. McCarthy passed away, on this day, August 16, 1995. 22 years ago.

Today, Motor City Radio Flashbacks reflects on the broadcasting career of this great Detroit radio legend. J. P. McCarthy. See our previous feature, February 12, 2012 (LINKED HERE).



Motor City Radio Flashbacks

Memories From the Soundtrack of Your Life