Memorial Day Weekend, 1971

41 years ago this week, Keener was making it’s final stab at competitiveness. With a rejuvenated air staff and the PAMS “Motor City Music” station imaging, WKNR’s execution never sounded better.

But it was hard for a station with low power and a deficient nighttime coverage pattern to compete with CKLW’s 50,000 constantly cooking watts of power and the growing popularity of the FM band.

That didn’t stop the team from giving it all they had and that included a playlist that mirrored a lot of what was on the Big 30 across the Detroit River in Windsor.

The Canadian content influence is definitely there with the Guess Who’s Albert Flasher starting a downward slide after peaking at number 5. Bubble gum artists abounded with Donny Osmond and the Partridge Family at the height of their popularity, while new acts were enjoying their first Keener chart successes. The Five Man Electrical Band could be heard wafting out of car radios across the motor city. And Earth, Wind and Fire was peaking with their first Keener hit, Love is Life.

Rock legends like Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and the Rolling Stones were still at it. There were one hit wonders like Seatrain and Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds (Falling in Love would be released after WKNR had signed off). And new legends were bubbling up. Harry Nillson’s album The Point was getting traction and Ringo Starr was celebrating his first post-Beatles hit with the George Harrison penned It Don’t Come Easy.

At number one for the week was the third single release for  Carolyn Willis, Shelly Clark and Edna Wright. As the Honey Cone, their biggest hit, Want Ads, struck gold for Holland-Dozier -Holland’s Hot Wax label. Just two years later the group would fade into history, with Willis making a brief comeback singing backup on Seals and Crofts’ Get Closer in 1976.

While hard core CK fans may remember Jim Jackson, who had the mid-day gig at the Big 8, his name recognition was dwarfed by Keener’s Ron Sherwood. WKNR proved once again to be a career launching pad helping Ron sharpen the chops that would serve him well over a long post-Keener 13 career.

May 25th, 2012 | Posted in Keener
  1. Frank Hartge
    May 30th, 2012 at 10:31 | #1

    Great memories of the start of that long-ago summer, which would also see, on the Independence Day weekend, Keener suspend all regular programming to broadcast the 13 hour long CHUM-produced Story of the Beatles.

    Long live Keener!

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