AFTER 3 1/2 FANTASTIC YEARS AT KAAY/LITTLE ROCK I got a call on the 6th of September, 1972, from an old St. Louis friend , Jim Brown, who had become the PD at WDRQ-FM/Detroit. WDRQ was a part of the Bartell chain which also included WOKY/Milwaukee, KCBQ/San Diego, WMYQ/Miami, KSLQ/St. Louis, and, WADO/New York.
The stations WMYQ, WDRQ, and, KSLQ, were the new FM stations in the chain...and were the first in the country to actually bring "Top 40"/ "Pop Music" formats to the FM Band. Previously FM had been either Easy Listening, Muzak, or, Classical. During the Mid-to-Late 60's it had also become home to the "heavier" sound of AOR (Album Oriented Rock) which in many markets around the country was making a sizeable dent.
But, Bartell was out to bring the "new" sound to the FM Dial: the hits you bought at the record stores, the ones you danced to at parties & clubs, the ones you wanted to hear on the radio...but, for the first time, you could hear ALL of 'em in S-T-E-R-E-O !
IT WAS SAD LEAVING LITTLE ROCK after all those years. Many friends, many good times, and of course, KAAY was one of the most respected, and BEST stations to work for. BUT, Detroit was the 5th Largest Market in the country at that time and it was an offer I couldn't refuse. I said many bittersweet goodbyes to my friends and loved ones in L.R. and arrived in Detroit on September 19th, and went on-the-air the next night, September 20, 1972.
Living and working in Detroit was a good experience. Actually, without really planning it, I had sort of retraced my Dad's footsteps because as a young man he had worked briefly in both Little Rock & Detroit. Whether that was "deja vu" or "karma" I don't know, but it did happen, and my Dad always thought that was pretty neat. (BTW: My Dad was a Saint. The nicest, kindest human being on the earth. He also helped me in my moves to and from Detroit, with driving, packing, et al. Thanks again, Dad. )
THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE AIRCHECKS ! It's from WDRQ-FM, December, 1972, during the Holiday Season when I was doing the 2am-6am Shift. It not only includes my music blends, but also a great "live" spot that I had fun doing for "Indian Tom" at Action Communications. (As you can tell from the sound, it really was fun to work in Radio in those days.)
While I was on-the-air that cold December night a light snow started to fall and I could see it from my window, so I decided to weave that scenario into an Intro. Nice and cozy inside the Studio; cold and snowy outside. A perfect night to stay inside, relax, have warm thoughts of an old friend, and listen to WDRQ-FM on your radio. JK
NOTE: It had been fun. Working in the 5th Largest Market in the country at that time was truly a goal-well-met and an achievement I didn't take lightly. But, I ended up leaving Detroit in July, 1973, to move back to St. Louis and work at our sister station KSLQ-FM. St. Louis is my home...and it was good to be going back.
SPECIAL NOTE: THAT SNOW-LADEN PICTURE of me on the WDRQ Survey at the top of this page, from December 4, 1972, was taken in the backyard of my apartment complex which was at 8 Mile & Lahser. It was taken by a friend, and fellow WDRQ Staff Member at the time, Bob Pittman.
Bob later went on to become a top radio programmer, and added to his resume' by being involved in the creation of MTV, as well as many other ventures that he headed and was involved in through the years including: AOL, Time-Warner, Six Flags, and, Clear Channel Communications. Bob was alwaya of the most-respected Pros in the Industry, and it was fun to work with him in both of our Early Days.
NEXT:: KSLQ-FM, ST. LOUIS, Pt.1