WWWW-FM CHANGES FORMAT FOR 1970 . . . JULY 25, 1970 – Motor City Radio Flashbacks

Motor City Radio Flashbacks

Memories From the Soundtrack of Your Life


August 10th, 2017

From the MCRFB NEWS archive: 1970

WWWW To Add Oldies With Current Hits





Detroit — Though WWWW-FM is building an image here of being the solid gold station, general manager Don Barrett said that the heavy slate of programming will be current releases from the charts. Working slowing with national program manager Ken Dowe, who’s responsible for the programming of all the McLendon Broadcasting stations,  Barrett set up a format which hinges on two oldies to one current record.

All the oldies are slated for the personalities, though the deejays use their judgments in playing current hits. The current records are usually in the upper half of Billboard Hot 100 Chart or in the top 15 sellers in the city, although WWWW-FM will also play new releases such as Dionne Warwick’s “Your Own Backyard.”

The oldies will go back to 1951, and the station has a library that will permit it to go nine-days without repeating an oldie. This is why Barrett slates all of the oldies — so that when an oldie comes up, it comes up at a different time of the day. “Gee” by the Crow is just as good at 3 a.m. as it is at 3 pm., Barrett said. And, to create a consistent sound around the clock, the station doesn’t alter its sound during the “housewives” hours or the afternoon hours when teens and young adults are more prone to listen to radio.

The reason for the format change (WWWW-FM was a background music station until March 10) was that a study of ARB and Pulse figures showed the station was “fighting with too many stations for too small a piece of the audience pie,” Barrett said. Barrett, whose career includes serving as national program director of all McLendon stations, was most recently in sales in XTRA, a Tijuana station in which McLendon is involved in.

Deejays at the station include program director Ron Rose, Chuck Richards, Tom Michaels, Robin Seymour on weekends, and Tom Clay. Clay, who does the 5 – midnight stint on the station, comes in at 9 a.m. to start prepping his show, Barrett said — “the sign of a real pro.” In McLendon fashion, WWWW-FM is building a campaign around Clay that will include a two-week saturation spot schedule on local television.

The station recently gave away a gold-painted 1957 Chevrolet to help build its image and is now preparing to give away “Good Guys” sweatshirts because no other radio station has done it in Detroit for several years.

Oldies are separated in three different lists — A, going back before 1960; B, 1960 through 1964; C, 1965 through the present. Any time a pre-1960 record is played, the next record is from the “C” list, said Barrett, so that the sound don’t stay too long in the distant past. END


 (Information and news source: Billboard; July 25, 1970)

A MCRFB Note: You can watch a video with Don Schuster on WWWW-FM, December 25, 1970, in a previous MCRFB (February 20, 2012) feature by going HERE.

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Motor City Radio Flashbacks

Memories From the Soundtrack of Your Life