Memories

WKNR touched tens of thousands of lives during its brief prime. For many, it was truly “The soundtrack of a generation.”

Got a Keener Memory? Send us yours.. Email curator@keener13.com

Kevin Wrynn – Levi and ’64 Memories

I just heard today of Levi Stubbs passing. His passing has truly saddened me but also brought smile and joy to my heart. The joy and smile is because the Four Tops “Ask The Lonely” and Keener are one in the same and this has lived in my memory since that cold, clear Friday evening in January, 1965.

I started to listen to Keener in March of 1964. I lived on the east side of Detroit, the Grosse Pointe area to be exact, so listening to them was a challenge. The AM signal during the day was o.k. at best and non existent at night. I was fortunate that my father was a big FM listener so we were able to listen to Keener clearly on the FM day or night. FM in cars were coming on the market at this time and they were rare, so it was a chore to listen to Keener while riding in a friends car, especially at night. I loved listening to Keener on the AM side because I felt the total station sound-jingles, music, jocks and news were presented with that magical clear, compression, reverberated image that was part of the magic. To the ear the FM did not have the modulated balance of the AM, so I always felt I was being left out of the stations magic listening listening on the FM side.

In last weekend in January of 1965, our family was planning a trip to Sharon,PA. Sharon is about a 4 to 5 hour trip from Detroit. My father was an executive for the Ford Motor Company, so we had the use of a company car for the excursion. The car was unique in the it was a 1965 Ford Galaxie LTD with a rare AM/FM radio, 4-speakers and a even company supplied reverberator. I always got excited about traveling to the Dearborn, West/ South side areas of Detroit, because I could listen to Keener on the AM with crystal clear FM type clarity but with that great compression reverberated sound that Keener was meant to be listen to. Thank you Bob Green and WQAM!! Also, the Keener DJ that to me really defined the Keener sound, The Keener Format and that unique Keener hard charging take no prisoner pace that was so unique and different in the Detroit radio market in 60’s, was going to be on the radio as we travel through the Dearborn and south Detroit down river areas—-GARY STEVENS!!

We left our home at 6:00 PM on this clear,cold Friday evening. We got on the Ford Expressway and drove west. Our itinerary in those days was to drive west on I-94 to Telegraph road, go south to West Road, Take West Road to I-75 and get on the interstate right by the Woodhaven stamping plant. As we traveled through Detroit, I had the radio on 1310. At this time of the year Keener had already switched over to their night time pattern, so that meant the signal anywhere east of Woodward Avenue was non existent. But I left the radio on so I could wait for the signal to get stronger. My father got irritated with me because the only thing you could hear was the 4-speakers and the reverberator transmitting annoying static. I told my Father to be patient the station will appear soon. As we traveled past Woodward Avenue, Keener started coming in weakly. As we passed Grand River, Keener popped strongly, it was almost like magic. Gary Stevens, high anxiety voice and that unique presence of command he always had at Keener was on full display. Gary was doing the top 30 count down, he just finished with the Jolly Green Giant song and went right into doing a Keener world exclusive-The new Junior Walker and the All-Stars song “Shot Gun”. WOW, what a hot set for eager ears to hear. My heart I remember was pounding. By now we were passing Michigan Avenue, entering the Dearborn area, Gary was running on all 8-cylinders that evening. He and Keener sounded great. I always loved Keener’s jazzy segue ways, upbeat jingles, segue way teasers, contact news intros and the Let’s Go exits of the 1964 through 1965 period. I always felt Gary Stevens personality and the stations total formated sound were in perfect harmony. The 65 Ford’s 4- speakers and reverberator were also in perfect harmony with the sound, pace and Magic of Keener and Gary Stevens that day.

As we came up on Oakwood Boulevard the snow covered ground withe trees bare of their leaves added to the mystic glow of the evening. The winter sun was setting leaving its golden red signature to announce its departure. But my eyes were glued out the front windshield looking for the magical looking blinking red navigation lights of Keener radio towers. In the winter they always took on a magic with the 6 towers blinking away with their strong presence. As we rounded the bend and came up to the Southfield Expressway Gary Stevens got to Keener hit #9 The Four Tops “Ask The Lonely”. The song with its haunting melody, beautiful interpretation from Levi Stubbs and female background singers with their high acapella tenor voices just exploded through the speakers of the car. WOW this song started to send the heartbeat up big time. The Keener SOUND highlighted every emotion from Levi Stubbs voice and transmitted it to your mind and soul. While the song was playing we reach Keeners 6 radio towers. They never look better. I remember looking out toward the towers and I could see the transmitter house. You could see the engineers on duty park automobile. Also, Keener had a billboard facing the east bound traffic proudly announcing the station that knows Detroit is #1. The billboard also had the Keener Contact news sign which always lit up whenever the Contact news was on. What was so cool, when Keener would switch to their night time pattern, all 5000 watts of power was concentrated north-so the Four Tops song got louder, louder and louder. It got so loud it almost blasted out the speakers and reverberator from extreme wattage surge–to a 15 year old this was totally cool. The Tops haunting song continued on as we goto off I-94 and onto Telegraph Road. As you round the bend you can the Keener towers with their flashing 6 towers of red lights powerfully rise over the local home and through the winter bare trees. My mind was almost giddy from the adrenaline high I was experiencing. What can I say it was perfect.

As we traveled down river, Gary Stevens kept the Keener pace, Keener music and Keener magic flowing. As we got near Monroe we started to lose Keener. I still hung in there though until the station disappeared south of Monroe. I always hated that part of the trip. It was almost like my best friend was leaving me and I didn’t want him to go. A big emptiness , a sadness came over me. I reluctantly kicked the radio over to Keener FM and was able to listen to Keener until Toledo and the Bob Green Show. We got to Sharon, Pa. around 11PM. While my parents and family were unpacking in our relatives home I went back out the car to collect my thoughts. I remember I recanted the entire magical sequence of that evening—-The Four Top’s ” Ask The Lonely”, Gary Stevens and Keener. This night really hook me on Keener and I never left the station until 1971.

Final note. While sitting in the car that night I turned the ignition on was listening to the surrounding Pennsylvania radio stations. I thought to myself. I wonder if I can pick up Keener. So I punched in the 1310 button on the radio and I couldn’t believe it. There was Bill Phillips and the Keener sound coming through strong, commanding and reverberating 325 mile away. That was indeed magic. My friend didn’t leave me. He was still there, solid as a rock. That gave me great comfort that evening.

Levi Stubb’s, God Bless You and may you rest in peace. I will be forever grateful for you, the Four Tops and your song ” Ask the Lonely” for totally committing me to the best TOP 40 radio station in the nation—WKNR. And providing me with a memory I will treasure until the day I die.

Thank you Mr. Westerman for your wonderful site and chance to relate a Keener memory to you. I will write again. I will tell you how I found your Keener 13.com site. It was as magical as the story I just told and as magical as the radio station that became to be major part of my teenage life.

Thank You Again!

Kevin Wrynn
Winter Haven, Florida

Stephen Ruby – Keener in the Air

I was a listener of Keener 13 at the right time, as always being in the right place at the right time has its advantages. I was pulling out of my driveway in Bloomfield Hills in 1965 and decided to search for some good tunes and I found this station called “Keener” so as I was heading for a cruise to Woodward and in particular Big Boy’s on Normandy Road across from the Royal Oak Drive-In, then off to Berz Airport to go fly. I immediately connected with the format presented. You had on the Byrds, The Beatles, The Stones (when they were good) Rationals and Bob Seger and the Last Herd “Prosecution Smith”…..yeah buddy!!!..

When you present music and dialogue to a listener based AM station in an area not normally heard, your reaction might be one of two following reactions, you like it or you don’t….I did. The Motor City was at last developing a music scene that today is often over-looked, how dare you!

Flying around around in a Piper Cherokee 140 and dialing in WKNR on the DME could make flight experience a joyous occasion, imagine zipping along at 130 miles per hour at 3500 feet listening to the best music anywhere, you get the drift. Then cruising Woodward Ave. in a 1965 Pontiac Catalina 2+2 (421-375HP) was indeed a pleasurable experience. The news, commentary, and above, all the music capsulated the vibes from 1965-68 as an enjoyable experience, We miss this today.

Ted’s, Totem Pole, and Big Boy, and chasing the lovely ladies from Birmingham Seaholm High School was all acccomplished by listening to WKNR Keener 13……..Thanks for that!!

Stephen Ruby
Midwest Marketing and Sales
Private Skies Magazine
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902

Mike Seltzer – Predicting the hits

Among other things, I was able to mystify my friends by commiting to memory the Top 13 songs as they counted down and portend to be Kreskin as we rode together on the Hebrew school bus as I correctly guessed each next song before it played. None of my friends understood that they played in order and I was considered somewhat of a mystic. My friends were obviously NOT brilliant! Beyond that, I listened intently and the DJ’s became friends in later life as I got “into the business” — I also collected the guides and displayed them on my bedroom door along with a pop out guide holder so my friends could come over and pick up their copy without going to the record store. I continue to cherish my collection of Keener Guides and my memories of the great Keener 13!

Dennis (MOON) Phillips – Cruising Telegraph with Keener

I remember cruising telegraph and listening to keener loud. I’m now in Waco texas at age 56. It was really cool looking at this site. Brings back alot of memories. I also remember walking to Arlens store to get the Keener Guide every week, and was at goose lake also with my younger cousin Joe lambert who got “lost” for a day and half.

Thanks again,

Dennis (MOON) Phillips

Bill Ogg – Invited to the company picnic.

Your site brings back some fond memories of my youth. What I remember most, besides the music, was the contests they ran. I won a camera when Swinging Sweeney came into town, a skateboard when Scott Regen first arrived. I won so many times with Bill Phillips Mish Mash contest, that he decided that to be fair for other listeners, I would have to be the first with the three song title’s ten times, before I would get the main prize. I would still get a Keener pen each time though.

I won so many contests, and was on the air enough, that I was invited to the company picnic at Teeple Lake one year, and was able to meet the jocks, and the behind the scene people at the station.

Keep up the good work, and I hope to see more in the future.

Bill Ogg
Cooley High class of 68

Daniel Abernathy – The day I met Robin Seymour

I was a radio junkie and loved listening on my 6 transistor radio to all the big Detroit radio stations. I went into the Navy and when i got out I went on to be news director/news anchorman of WDRQ Detroit, KIIS Los Angeles, WHN New York, WWL New Orleans, etc.

But when I was starting out in high school in suburban Detroit and was probably 15 years old I listened to WXYZ radio, WJBK radio with Jack the Bellboy. CKLW had Bud Davies and was a bore. No one listened to them (yet).

Then like a thunderclap from Dearborn came WKNR. I used to listen to them when they were WKMH from time to time but the signal was weak and it was boring anyway…something my parents would even think was boring. When WKMH became WKNR KEENER THIRTEEN everyone at Lamphere High School in Madison Heights was listening! I remember girls who wouldn’t give me the time of day would suddenly talk to me when I asked “what do you think of the new radio station, Keener?” I remember one cute girl said “I really like that J. Michael Wilson (?) and his Rodney Rodent” (the d.j. would tape record his alter ego and then run it at a faster speed and talk to his rat on the radio).

So, when it was announced that Robin Seymour would actually show up IN PERSON at a local clothing store in Madison Heights to sign autographs all the kids at Lamphere High I had to go!

So some sunny Saturday we are all on the sidewalk in front of the clothing store and up roars tiny little Robin Seymour in a convertable! His radio is turned up full blast to KEENER THIRTEEN. At that time, they played a jingle between every record so it was a two minute Motown song and then into a Keener jingle and then another Motown song etc.

So Robin roars up with Keener 13 blasting away and he parks right in the red zone in front of the store, leaves his radio on full blast to Keener 13 and goes inside the store to sign autographs for the squeeling Madison Heights girls.

I was always full of mischief so I simply leaned forward into Robin’s convertible and turned the radio a little bit to the left so that the next thing the neighborhood heard was W X Y Z Radio Twelve Seven OH 1270.

So WXYZ, the OTHER Detroit rock station is blasting out of Robin’s car radio as he is inside the store signing autographs. This goes on for a few minutes until WXYZ is heard from his radio for a few times and then Robin hears it!!!!

He rushes out of the store, jumps into his car and changes the station back to Keener 13. He goes back into the store.

I lean over and change the station back to WXYZ 1270.

Robin comes out and changes it back to Keener 13. He doesn’t see who is doing this but he is getting more and more pissed.

This goes back and forth a few times. Finally, he gives up…he turns off his car radio, takes his car keys from his convertible and goes back inside to his fans.

Daniel Abernathy
WHN News 1980 to 1982
4/30/02

Bill Hennes – A station with attitude.

I grew up in Detroit listening to some pretty cool Top 40 stations like: WJBK, WXYZ, CKLW and the urban stations WJLB and WCHB. While all these stations were good, Keener 13 seemed to be the first station that really defined Detroit both musically and personality wise.

I had met Mike Joseph, the creator of Keener, in Grand Rapids, MI when he was launching WLAV the summer before Keener debuted. This was where Joseph tried out many of the things that went into making the great WKNR/Keener 13.

Unfortunately, I was out of town and I missed the Spooktacular kick off. However, when Keener hit the airwaves, it was like a breath of fresh air. Finally a radio station in Detroit without network clutter and a focused “hit music’ policy 24 hours a day.

The jox and the production that Bob Green did was outstanding.

Everything about t Keener was “fun” to listen to even the Keener Newscasters had personality.

The Keener staff was fantastic. Gary Stevens and Bob Green were my favorites. The entire station had “tude”, lots of it.

It was a fast paced radio station that was full of fun and all the music fit.

This site is long overdue. Thanks

Bill Hennes
President
AllAboutCountry.com

Bob Berry – Flashback

Sometime in 1963..

7th grade O.E. Dunkel Junior High, Farmington Township. Ritchie and Denny are the ?the dudes? of the neighborhood, FRESHMEN at North Farmington High. Denny had a Cushman motorcycle, and a ducktail, obviously a very cool guy.

Cutting the front lawn. Ritchie and Denny are hanging out across the street. I shut-off the mower to see what was happening. Denny has his transistor radio going, I don?t recognize the station.

Some new station. Keener something.

Woolyburgers, and Greenie Bob. “Swingin” Sweeney, Rodney, Contact News and “offices in the Sheraton Cadillac-DETROIT”! The tower array on I-94. Dick Buller, Paul Cannon and Mortimer Crowley. “Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Van Patrick! This weekend, at the Detroit Dragway”” The Shy Guys and Tim Tam. Mark Allen. Married a girl from the neighborhood! One night, a fellow named Purtan, or Purton, nobody seemed to be able to decide. “Merollis, what a great, great guy”. The Key Song of the Week. Scott-Burger and skateboards. How many WOULD it take” Ma and Pa Purtan and Melvindale’s Underground Domed Stadium. “Paul is dead”. FM (!!!) Scotty says goodbye. Finally being able to drive and LOOK at the 15001 Michigan Avenue. “SUNDAY! SUNDAY!!” (“What’d I Say”). Pat St. John double shifting. The End.

Flash forward.

Detroit Radio Reunion.

Motown Museum, one more time. Spy a memo from Scott Regan to Quality Control, test press reviews. “Add some guitar to the bass line open, sounds like dead air and programmers will hate it.” WOW, he did THAT? Head to Dearborn, man, I’ve never even been IN the building!

Find a place to park. Must have been a madhouse! Rear entrance” No man, my first time, front door! A warm welcome. Well, what else”? Music Guides, LP covers, memorabilia, memories, and a tear or two. How GREAT were these guys? How BIG was that station? Down the hallway. “Doctor” Steve, smiling, welcoming, orchestrating, OWNING the place! Harper and Edmonds, the continuum. Wanting to fire one cart. Just once. What if I screw up?

Bob Greene, a perfect gentleman. “Swingin” Sweeney, still! PAUL CANNON! “I used to listen to you every Saturday cutting the lawn!” Where was the air studio? A production room? No matter, “I Can Hear Music”! Standing there with my heroes, my idols, hanging on their every word. STILL! Seeing in their eyes, hearing in their voices, the confirmation: It was a special place, it was a special time, for ALL of us. Gone, and yet”you can go back.

All you need do is sing:

“W-K-N R-r Keener 13, bop, bow, wow, wow!”

Bob Berry
Orlando, Florida
April 2002

Van Eskridge – WKMH Contest Winner

I had come to Michigan in June 1950 and had worked at Kaiser-Frazer at Willow Run while living in Ypsilanti. As was common in those days, I was laid off after working 89 days, thus not being able to join the union and become a regular.

I soon obtained work at the Chevrolet Gear and Axle plant on Holbrook Ave. in Detroit. While getting ready for my drive to my afternoon shift, my wife and I were listening to WKMH, when they announced that if you heard the last four digits of your social security number read on the air and reported, as I recall, within an hour, you would receive $100.00.

When I heard 6891 called off, I double checked and since the station upstairs on Michigan avenue was on my route to work I stopped by. They took my S.S. card, gave me a receipt for it and told me to return the next day for my money.

This I did, and believe me this was a fortune to us and made me a listener until we moved to the east side. Robin Roberts was my favorite and at age 75 the memory of that era is still with me. Thanks for the site…more to explore.

Van Eskridge

Tom Sanders – Keener retro rocked

From the New York Radio Message Board:
Topic: Pat St. John on WKNR retrospective.

His two hour segment was on in the early afternoon, and repeated that evening. Almost all the songs were Motown and Michigan oldies, many obscure, all with dates and chart positions on the Keener Music Guides. One was “Open Up Your Door” by Richard and the Young Lions, a NJ band who sounded very Michigan (OUYD was a huge hit all over SE MI), who are recording again and have a web site (www.richardandtheyounglions.com) with pictures of PSJ at their sessions, and an interesting bio section.

For the rest of the day, they mixed in old airchecks, hour long segments of sixties MI garage bands, and car songs for the annual Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise that took place on Saturday. Excellent retrospective. Not too much of one thing, lots of music, and no ex-deejays telling stories (yawn!) and all trying to talk at once. It always sounds strange when a tribute to a top-40 era much-more-music station starts turning into a talk show.

And it was great to hear the songs playing on an AM radio tuned to 1310. The whole day’s programming captured the memories of listening to a station in the sixties, and brought them into the present, better than any other reunion or retrospective I’ve heard.

Tom Sanders

Tom Kephart – Keener’s return took me back.

I was on my way to Dearborn Friday night, stuck in traffic on the Southfield Freeway, pushing the buttons on my car radio, one after another. Finally, I shouted to no one in particular (and certainly not for the first time), “Radio sucks!”

And I hit the “scan” button, which I _never_ do….

But thankfully I did right then. The first thing the radio landed on was
1310 AM. Should have been more nattering about sports. Instead, the Queen of Soul was coming out of the car speakers. I wondered what the hell was going on.

I wondered even more when the Merollis ad came on.

My questions were answered at the top of the hour when all was explained. By then, my smile was ear to ear.

I caught at least eight hours of the return of Keener 13. It was fun, fascinating and all in all, the best damn thing I’ve heard on the radio in years.

As a former radio jock who had the misfortune of being born fifteen years too late, witnessing firsthand the decline of radio into syndicated, automated, computerized sameness, the resurrection of Keener 13, if just for a few hours, was inspiring.

Many thanks to Steve and Scott for the work you did that made it sound so right, and to WDFN/WXDX’s Greg Henson for having the spark of imagination and the guts to try something different.

With warmest regards,

Tom Kephart
Marine City, Michigan

Tim Shy – Dream Cruise recreated Keener’s fun

Visiting the in-laws right now in San Diego and no one could pull me away from the computer this weekend! Man oh man, was I ever in heaven.

Excellent excellent excellent…as I rapidly run out of triple superlatives. You should be super proud of how things went…very moving…very touching…but at the same time it sounded like everyone was having a lot of fun — which is what radio has always been about for me.

Tim Shy

Ted Bak – More Dream Cruise Kudos

Congratulations on a job well done. I really enjoyed the weekend. The fact that you guys assembeled that programming so fast is remarkable. Excellent job of “recreating” the songs back into the airchecks. It was seemless.

It is too bad that the format can’t return full time.

However, someone at Clear Channel must recogize the merits of this type of programming, as they have recently brought back Honey Radio to their Saline Mi.
station. Too bad I cant hear it in the Northern Suburbs.

They should simulcast that on 1310. We have plenty of sports/Talk stations here now, but this is lacking.

Thanks again to you and everyone for a great job.

Ted Bak Shelby Twp Mi

Rory Mack – The Unreleated Segments

I grew up with Keener 13 when it was true “personality” radio. It was a station that was not afraid to play unknown groups-they took a chance and it paid off with #1 ratings. I love music and keener was a big influence. I had lots of bands growing up, and when I got some guys together to form “The Unrelated Segments”, it was a dream come true to hear a song you wrote and performed-on make it to #9 on the Keener charts on April 3rd, 1967,and #15 on the all-time hits chart from ’58 to ’68. I still have original copies of the charts on my music room wall!

Doing record hops with Dick Purtan, J. MIchael Wilson, and Scott Regen and joining them on their shows for “live” interviews was a real kick when you’re 17 years old. Being on a photo/advertisement for Keener radio with other groups of the time (I have the original mag!) on the back page of Action Age magazine, playing all of the clubs, doing remotes with the gang from Keener were experiences to remember.

Keener 13 had its own great personality, and every kid and young adult were listening! I had a blast writing songs and having them become hits in the Detroit area-thanks to Keener13! After leaving the group I did a solo thing playing in bars and lounges in the Metro area. Then, because of Keener’s influence, I decided to get in to radio. I’ve been in the radio business as a personality for many years, and I still am in radio as an advertising consultant for over 27 years now.

Of course, a lot of things have changed through the years, including the music business, and the radio business. We were together 2 weeks when we recorded our first record, and it became a top 10 song in Detroit! Try that now days! Now, radio is run by accountants, who prefer to copy what 7000 other radio stations are doing, with no personality, redundant music, safe but boring formats, etc. But, this generation does not know what real personality radio is. That’s why they’re going to the internet and other sources to be entertained.

Ah, but I will always remember my favorite station and all of the great memories!

Rory Mack
Former lead guitar/organ
The Unrelated Segments
LINK: The Story of My Life – A brief biography of the Unrelated Segments

Robert M Clinton – Started my love affair with radio

It’s not often that something happens that makes you feel like you’ve been lucky enough to stumble onto a historical event. By chance, as we drove thru Detroit this weekend I heard a good portion of your Keener13 re creation. Growing up and coming of age in Detroit (Birmingham Seaholm 72) Keener was the station that introduced me to radio and started my love affair with the industry. As a young teenager, with my first transistor radio and later driving my first car (a 59 Olds w/ AM only) Keener was the beat that drove the Motor City.

In 76, as a Broadcast Communications major from Northern Michigan University, I landed a part time Gig at WNIC and the New Keener 13 WWKR under Paul Christy using the name Mark Ryan. It was a great opportunity to say that I worked at the legendary Keener 13 (the 2nd time around) While the New Keener 13 didn’t last long, it did give me the chance to improve my skills and work fill in and swing shifts in the early days of WNIC as well. All that led to a full time gig at WDRQ as Mark Roberts, various programming and on air jobs in Detroit, Miami, Saginaw, Toledo and Dayton and now some 25 + years later, I can still say I was a part of the Motor City music scene, one of the proudest accomplishments of my career.

Congratulations on an outstanding presentation. The production was flawless and the quality of historical air checks and promotional clips was amazing.

Robert M Clinton

Rick Regan – How Scott Regen got his name

I really enjoyed looking over you wonderful site. I grew up in the Motor City and my memories of Keener may be a little stronger than some, put me in a dark room and turn on a light and I get as quiet as a mouse(details to follow). I’ve read a few comments from radio guys who say that they do what they do now because of those days. Well, I am the same way, I have been in the business since I was 15 years old. I took “my air name” from “my father” one of those “infamous” Keener 13 Jocks. I still remember when my mom and dad took out a phone book to come up with a new name for my dad to use on the air. We lived in Cinncinati at the time and they (Keener) ran a promotion that had my dad riding a skateboard from Ohio to Detroit. Great site, its groovin and swingin. Baby.

Rockin’ Rick Regan (my spelling)
KFDI-FM Wichita, Ks.

Regina Steiger – My dad went to Specs Howard school of broadcasting

I LOVED the weekend! I wish it didn’t have to end. I am so glad the Detroit News included the info that Keener would be back on the air in its “Dream Cruise” article or I would have missed it. It’s absolutely amazing that you were able to pull the whole thing together in just one week.

By the way, my dad went to Specs Howard (I think) when I was a kid and either did an internship or some part time work at the station in about 1966. I can’t remember the details. I think he wanted to be a DJ (who didn’t) but I don’t remember what he actually accomplished. He died ten years ago so I can’t ask him, but I remember he had some kind of connection with Keener 13. I think my mom, sister and I might have even visited the station with him at some point. Listening this weekend brought back all those happy, carefree memories.

Regina Steiger

Patrick Steele – Loved the WKNR Music Guides

I have been waiting for a long time for a WKNR Keener 13 website! I am thrilled to use it and I commend you on an outstanding job. The site is excellent.

My memories are mostly of saving the weekly Keener guides issued every week by the station. I had most of them at one time, but unfortunately my mom accidentally threw out my shoebox of Keener guides in the mid-70’s. I was heartbroken. I tried calling the current Am station at 1310 on the dial at the time, but no one could help me. I wrote a letter to the station requesting back copies of the charts, but they wrote back saying the didn’t have any extras.

Years later, I put an ad in “Goldmine” asking to buy WKNR Keener 13 music guides. I got plenty of responses from all over the country. I was able to get a lot of them, but one gentleman from another state recommended I give ex-jock from WKNR Bob Green a call. He gave me his phone number in Houston.

I called him and his secretary put me through to him. I told him what I wanted, and he said he had most of them. He sent me copies of most of them, with a few originals, and I was very pleased. He didn’t charge me even though I offered to pay. The man was very nice and explained that most people called him for Keener “air checks”, not the old keener guides. After I received the envelope from him of the old keener guides, I wrote him back thanking him again. What a class man he is.

Early memories of listening to WKNR include the Beatles, British invasion, the weekly Keener countdown with Gary Stevens. Memories of Bob Green, Robin Seymour and the others were great, too. All the local artists that charted on the Keener guides including Bob Seger, SRC, Unrelated Segments, Shy Guys, Terry Knight & Pack, Camel Drivers, Rationals, Underdogs, Amboy Dukes, MC 5, Mitch Ryder, Frost, Frijid Pink, etc.

In the mid-70’s I started getting Billboard every week and started to realize how many great 60’s & early 70’s songs that WKNR didn’t play on the radio due to their tight playlist, but I wouldn’t change the experience of having the best AM station in Detroit for the world. Thank you WKNR for all the great memories!

Patrick Steele
Northville, Mi
June 30, 2002

Patricia Schoenherr – Bring Keener back for the Dream Cruise

Wow! I really enjoyed listening this past saturday to Keener 13. It brought back so many memories. My older brother still has alot of the old guides and I am going to ask him what he has done with them. It would be so great to listen every year during the day of the dream cruise or even that whole weekend would be even better. Thank you again for bringing back so many good memories.

Patricia Schoenherr

Mike McDowell – Keener was my single biggest inspiration

For a number of years, I’ve maintained a vision that someone would have the foresight to establish a web presence in honor of what was by a landslide the greatest radio station of the twentieth century, the late, great WKNR Keener 13.

And thanks to a journalistic colleague on the east coast who brought your site to my attention today, it is apparent that this vision is now a reality.

In my endeavors as the publisher of an academically-oriented music magazine, by far the single biggest inspiration in doing what I do in that respect remains Keener 13. The station set the standard of excellence in rock and roll radio broadcasting, and has never, ever been surpassed to this day.

I could not have done a better job with this web site if I tried. You have succeeded brilliantly! If there is anything at all we can do to be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Mike McDowell
Editor/Publisher
Blitz Magazine

Michael Stevens – Following Pat to Keener

Here’s a picture of Pat & Me at a Badfinger/Redbone dinner, Upstairs at Carl’s Chop House I think, definitely 1971.
Michael Stevens and Pat St. John
I was one of the luckiest kids in Detroit. I was hired in 1970 by Bob Green to answer the KEENER request lines. I’d get out of Southfield-Lathrup High School and scream down the Southfield Freeway in my 1965 Corvette to the studios on Michigan Avenue. All my hero’s were there, Bob, Jim Tate, Ron Sherwood, Hugger Dan, especially Scotty Regen, and of course Pat. Bob came to the studios one night unexpectedly and caught me in the production room. He asked me to play the demo I was working on, listened to a couple of breaks, gave me a little advice, then said it would be OK, as long as it was after my other duties were complete.

One thing led to another, and I found myself as a full time KEENER Jock in 1971 just before Graduation. Left WKNR in March of 72.’ That was the beginning of a 15 year career in Radio that took me from Detroit, to San Francisco, New York, and Houston. Today, I’m on my 18th year with Atlantic Records as Senior Promotion Manager. There was something so very special about WKNR. I’m honored to be an alumni.

Michael Stevens

Lynn Marentette – Transistor Radios and Go Go boots

Keener 13 was my favorite radio station when I was a girl. My first transistor radio was white and came with an earplug. I was about 6 or 7 years old..I still remember how excited I was to listen to Keener 13 on that radio, just like the big teenagers. Around the same time, I got my first pair of go-go boots.

Lynn Marentette

Kim Sulek – Theatre of the mind

I’ve been fascinated with that theatre of the mind we call radio since I built my first transistor radio when I was seven. I used to keep it under my pillow with an earpiece, and at night I would slowly scan the dial from one end to the other, amazed to be able to hear stations from somewhere other than Detroit, and confounded by the technological magic involved. When Keener hit the airwaves I became an instant fan. The music, the jingles, the timing, the era, everything was perfect, life was good.

When I was in junior high, Keener was running a Disk Jockey Look-alike contest. {There’s a piece on the beginning of Bob Green’s air check from 1964 about it} On the back of those nifty Keener Music Guides were pictures of all the jocks and I guess I looked a bit like Bob Green, who had the 3-to-7 afternoon shift. So I sent in my picture and one day at school one of my buddies heard my name announced on Keener as a winner.

I ran home, called the station and they said come on down to pick up my prize, a brand new Zenith AM/FM transistor radio! The real prize to me was Bob Green inviting me to tour the station, and being able to spend time in the studio while he was on the air! I couldn’t help thinking, You get paid to do this? I wondered if I could ever do it. Okay, I was young and full of dreams. Weren’t you? I loaded up on a pile of Keener Music Guides and station goodies and they also gave me a fresh copy of The Beatles 2nd Album, which I still have!

When Keener 13 gave way to Keener FM, the tightness of the Keener sound segued into free-form underground radio, with characters like Jesse Crawford and Dan Carlisle. I had worn out my little Zenith and discovered stereo. Between Keener and WABX, then WRIF and CJOM, I was seemingly always tuned in. And when I wasn’t, I was taping shows on my little cassette recorder to send to my brother in Vietnam. And I still thought being on the air would have been the coolest of jobs, but circumstances just didn’t allow me to even try for it. Life went on and I pursued other interests.

I had always been told that if I wanted to get a job in radio, I’d have to do it somewhere other than a major market like Detroit, and I needed training and experience. Easier said than done. In 1980 I had a full time job, but I went back to school and happened to take a Mass Communications class, which led to an opportunity to interview with WNIC (the former WKNR – KEENER 13) for an internship. I had no training, no experience, but I told them my little story about looking like Bob Green, and basically pleaded that I just wanted an opportunity chase a dream. I suppose having a decent (but untrained) voice helped, and they let me become an intern at Detroits Nicest Rock, WNIC AM 1310 / FM 100.3.

Suddenly I found myself in the same building on Michigan Avenue that produced those great Keener memories, and at the old WKMH transmitter building off I-94. The studios and equipment ranged from pre-historic to state-of-the-art. It was fascinating and overwhelming, and it didn’t matter that I wasn’t getting paid. I obtained my FCC license, and did all the gopher things interns do, and I had access to the studios where I spent hours learning how to work the board, cue records, do segues, splice tape, do 30-second spots in 30 seconds, and basically play disk jockey. Soon I was working the board for real, and it wasn’t long before I finally got a chance to be on the air. When I opened the mike for the first time my heart was pounding so loud I could hear it in my headphones.

I became Kim Frederick, The Unknown Disk Jockey, and was fortunate enough to become a regular part-timer, working weekend graveyard shifts and holidays. I worked the board on New Year’s Eve for radio-legend Lee Alan . Everyone at the station was great to work with and very friendly and upbeat.

I worked both the AM and FM, sometimes both at once as the only person in the building at night. Guess what? Its not as easy as you might think. I found it to be pretty stressful at times, like when a tape would get eaten or a record skipped. Might have been those Keener ghosts! (Or Van Patrick’s?)

WNIC went through a lot of management changes while I was there, but it was a major station in a major market, making money. It was a great experience, but in 1986 I landed a new full time job in property management (at the Golden Tower of the Fisher Building in Detroit — home of The Great Voice of the Great Lakes WJR 760) and decided to give up the radio dream. Between the challenge of a new job, and the birth of my daughter, I just couldn’t commit to the additional hours as part-time air personality. Six years of living out a dream satisfied my curiosity then, but I still yearn to get back into radio or maybe do some voice over work. And in those six years, I never played any Barry Manilow!

That’s my Keener connection.the memories are great and thanks to the Keener13.com website, much more vivid. Keeping sharing them with us.

Kim Sulek
June 2002

Keith Radford – A Keenerfan who became a 20/20 newsman

I grew up in Windsor and listened to Keener 13 when I was a kid. it was a great station, actually maybe the only station to give CKLW a run for its money in top 40 radio back then. the first time I heard dick Purtan, he was on keener. Years later I ended up doing the news on his show when he came to CK. I still have some of the old “Keener 13” music guides somewhere in my files. I used to pick them up in the music department at Woolworth’s. Tommy Shannon is still on the radio here in Buffalo, playing the oldies each day in afternoon drive. I’ll make sure I tell him about this site. Thanks for the memories.

Keith Radford/news anchor
WKBW-TV ABC buffalo NY

John Meagher – Memories of a Keener Contact Newsman

I well remember the jingle, “WK-WK-WKMH at 1310 on your diallllllll!”
During two summers in high school in the mid-50’s, I worked for Multi-Products in Hazel Park. They made – among other things –
electronic garage door remote controls and Ham radio receivers and transmitters.

The Ham receivers would also tune the broadcast band. They kept one of the radios tuned to WKMH and the audio blared out over the room from open until close! Not knowing much about the radio business at the time, I inferred that they stacked up records in the morning, played the stack through then turned them over and played the other sides. I was close!

I am attaching two pictures that I took at Keener more than a decade later (who knew?) One is Scotty Regan with Vahan Trafalian, dressed up like a werewolf. The idea was to cruise Detroit in a limo and have Vahan jump out and confront folks – who, if they hadn’t died of heart failure – would win a prize.

The other is a montage of pictures taken during the debacle that was the Favorite Principal Contest. Yes, those boxes contain ballots from various high schools. It pretty much got out of control and turned into a fiasco. A group of parents went to court to block announcement of the winner…but they took the papers to the offices in the Sheraton-Cadillac in downtown Detroit. (Why not? The promo jingles said, “….with offices in the Sheraton-Cadillac.”) It proved to be the parents’ downfall. The REAL offices were in Dearborn and Detroit telephoned ahead to tip us off. Bobby Green made the winner announcement on the air – scant minutes before the dissidents’ lawyers huffed and puffed their way out to Michigan Avenue.

Too late!

I had lunch with Frank Maruca in Raleigh NC, earlier this year and if there ever was a promotion he would have wished to take back – that one was it! You may recognize Paul Cannon. The woman in the striped dress is Olga Chokreff – who Frank tells me – has passed away. Olga was the traffic manager at Keener.

I downloaded the 1968 newscast from the site. It would be nice if I still sounded like that!

All the best,
John (Jack) Meagher
Southern Shores NC

Jim Donahue – Keener’s JA connection

It was the fall of my junior year of high school – September 1964 at Thurston in Redford. At lunch time there was a Junior Achievement meeting in the auditorium. I decided to check it out. One of the companies who would be sponsoring a JA group: Keener 13 – WKNR.

I signed up on the spot. Before I knew it, I was working with other students at Keener. They gave us office space in the building just west of the studios. You see, the nice brick-fronted building at 15001 Michigan didn’t yet exist. The original building was very old and run down, and only ½ the size. Tom Ryan was a kid who used to work nights and weekends answering the switchboard and taking requests.

Our company was given a one hour slot on Sunday nights. We would sell advertising time that would run then. It was a first for JA. We made more money than any JA company ever had. Everybody wanted to buy an ad from us – they were only $20 a minute – because it was a JA company. We made so much that we had to give most of it to JA to improve their building in west Dearborn.

We helped with the commercial production and got to work some with Bob Green and Gary Stevens. We were the envy of our school. We were working at Keener 13. We had music guides by the stack to give away at school every week. And, we knew and worked with the Keener jocks. Wow!

What a time it was.

About a year ago, I talked with Bob Green and exchanged some emails with Gary Stevens. They both remembered. I always will. It was a phenomenon.

Jim Donahue
Canton, Michigan

Jim Vassallo – Won Beach Boy tickets

I was in 8th grade and there was a contest to win Beach Boy concert tickets and a Motorcyle. All us guys were at EJ Corvettes in Redford and fill out the entry forms. Some weeks later and group of friends come running up to my house yelling You Won You Won. I called the station and hell yes I WON. Saw and meet the Boys and then received my cycle which my mom made me sell the next week. Now when ever the old gang is together that’s they talk about.
Jim Sanders – On the air when JFK was shot

I was on the air (Jim Sanders) at WKNR all those years ago when JFK was killed. Bill Bonds was doing news and we were the only people in the building. The only record I could find from the playlist that wasn’t totally insensitive was The Singing Nun. We played it several times after the first bulletins (before the death was confirmed). Then Bonds (who was hired for his first broadcast job by me at WALM in Albion in 1959) and I decided to go all talk.

I was usually on noon to 3 but stayed on with Bill till about 5 PM that day when the management found some funeral type music to put on after our news/talk marathon. That kind of all talk format adjustment is standard today, especially after bulletins. In 1963 it was considered daring!

I’ve been in Milwaukee in management and a few years as the top 40 morning personality in the late 60’s for WOKY.

I came back for a Detroit radio reunion and saw Garry Stevens and others a few years back.

Nice site. Lots of memories, especially this historic week.

I’m retired and running the Milwaukee radio association www.MilwaukeeAreaRadio.com now.

Thanks!

Jack Lee (Jim Sanders/Jim Beasley)

Jim Kacmarsky – Keener played stuff that others didn’t

Read about your site in the Detroit News, and what can I say – instant bookmark! I started listening to rock music in 1970, and although I lived in northern Ohio, my favorite station was CKLW. One day while flipping the dial I found Keener 13, and I was hooked! They played songs that CK didn’t, like “Rock and Roll” by Mitch Ryder and Detroit, SRC, “Baby Let Me R & R You” by 10 Years After, and one I especially remember, “Persecution Smith”, by Bob Seger. People in Ohio never heard of Bob Seger, but “2 + 2” is a total classic. And I got to hear them all on 13!! When I went to college I got into FM (WRIF, WABX, WWWW), but I will always have a place in my heart for WKNR. I now live in Saginaw, which fortunately has a great AM station (WKNX), which features actual dj’s playing a mixture of EVERYTHING. FM radio is too boring and predictable. Give me the old days of AM.

Thanks a lot!!

Jim Kacmarsky

Jay Martin – WKNR got me into radio

My name is Jay Martin and I’m program director of KZ95 in Jackson Hole WY and I just want to say the reason I got into radio was WKNR and CKLW in Detroit. To be able to hear Scott Regen again brought a tear to my eyes.

When the other kids were outside playing, I was listening to Keener13. The happiest days of my childhood in Detroit was listening to Keener 13.

Your website Rocks!!! I will be logging on frequently!!!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!

Jay Martin KZ95
Jackson Hole WY

James Frederick – Guess your spooky voice

Boy do I remember!

I won the WKNR Guess Your Spooky Voice Contest on Oct 31, 1963 and with the
13 dollars I won paid for my first HAM radio station.

I also manage Detroit based singer, Kate Patterson, of The Whitney.

Kate is one of this Country’s best singer/entertainers and has just produced
a CD.

Thanks For The Memories,
James Frederick
JAKA PRODUCTIONS
Dearborn, MI

Idele Ross – The first button on my radio

Detroit Radio was my first love in the front seat and in the back and Keener was there! Even today, an oldies tune on the radio throws me back to the concerts, the dances, the cruisin’ and the excitement of growing up in a city where radio rocked and Keener was at the top of that playlist and the first button on everyone’s car radio. I’m in radio today, news albeit, but have never lost my love for the songs and the dances of my youth. Only now, I do aerobics classes to the cover versions and am the only.
Helen Wisocki – Flirting with the DJs

My friend, Darlene, and I used to walk to the radio station every week to pick up the week’s list of top hits, flirt with the disc jockies, and I remember wearing the “Think Summer” button proudly that we picked up from the station.

Helen Wisocki

Gary Plank – Keener’s diversity

I truly enjoyed your website! Yes, it brought back wonderful memories of the music and air personalities that were a part of our youth culture. I enjoy the music now as much or more than I did when I first heard it in the early and mid-sixties. We had a fellow student whose dad had something to do with the printing of the weekly Keener guide. It was always exciting to get a fresh copy and see who was number one and see if my favorites were moving up the charts. We loved that music!

One thing (of many) missing from today’s radio: diversity. Even Keener would have a mixture unheard of today-soul, rock and roll, local bands, some folk, ballads, and maybe even a Frank Sinatra song. Now every station is targeted to a very narrow demographic. Boooring!

I try to share the spirit of Keener and the sixties with younger folks. I make sure they know about the vibrant optimism and excitement that came from being young and seeing the unlimited potential the future offered. Do young people feel that today? I can only hope so. That spirit, embodied by the music heard on Keener13, lives within me everyday.

Kudos on your terrific website!

Gary Plank Livonia Stevenson Class of ’72.

Evelyn Osinski – Keener contest winner

Thanks so much for this Web site!! I graduated from high school in 1970 so WKNR was MY station. My sister, her best friend and I were fortunate enough to get tickets to the Beatles concert. The concert was my first (I was 12 at the time) and what I remember the most was the screaming and that it seemed the audience was all girls.

Several years letter I won a WKNR contest with a number of other Keener listeners. The prize an invitation to a party on a plane that circled around Detroit while a band played onboard. I think the name of the band was something like “One-Eyed Jacks.” How I ever talked my mother into letting me participate I’ll never know! I also received a Keener Pussycat pen which I treasured for years (unfortunately I no longer have it).

Thanks for the memories–I’m especially grateful that WKNR brought the Beatles and Dick Purtan to Detroit. The Beatles are still my all-time favorite group and Dick Purtan is my all-time favorite disc jockey–I still listen to him every morning.

Evelyn Osinski

Emil Kovach Jr. – Working with J. Mike

I Promoted dances with J. Mike at Weslow hall in Riverview, Michigan, for years. He ultimately assigned that to another DJ when he when on to CHUM.

I Talked with him approximately 8-10 years ago on the phone. He Told me he was retired, and had a heart transplant. I Asked if he meant
bypass, and he said no, a transplant.

I Also Asked If he Had Any Interest In Coming Back For a Reunion. He Just Laughed, and said no.

EMIL KOVACH JR
6/1/02

Ed Cuffe – Drag racing on 8 mile

Eight Mile road drag racing on weekend nights. I was the best. After blowing off everyone we would go to Homestead lake and swim or go skinny dipping at Walled lake creek. Fenkall Ave dudes hanging at Patterson’s drug store for vanilla cokes, and eating silver dollar size red licorice and black jacks. What a life. Miss it so much.” Ed Cuffe

Ed Cuffe

Don Brown – Keener was my bible

I was more than a die-hard keener 13 listener. WKNR was my bible!! Growing up in Rochester, I remember very well when keener first came on the air. I would go to my bedroom to do my homework every night and listen to Scott Regan. I remember when J. Michael Wilson would come on after Scott at 10pm. i remember when Dick Purtan was on in the morning. I credit keener 13 for the sucess of Tim Tam & the Turn-ons from Allen Park. Of course I can’t forget Gary Stevens at the Northland Mump!! This is truly an amazing web site. This brings back so many memories. A big “Thank You” for anyone and everyone involved in making this happen.

Don Brown- Now living in Grand Rapids.

Dave (Bennie) Penney – TC and the Alleycats

During 1964 thru 1966 I was the drummer in a band called T.C. and the Alleycats from Flat Rock. We played record hops with Robin Seymour and Bob Green and also played many of the local clubs like the Thunderbird Bowl in Allen Park and the Pink Pussycat Club, where Martha and the Vandella’s almost kicked in my bass drum one nite.. Also played a record hop with Bob at St. Frances De Salles in Detroit, were we got mobbed by the kids and I almost lost all of my drums, and backed Dell Shannon in Utica and one other place I don’t remember. The other members of the band were Tom Caulkins, hence T.C., on Alto Sax, Mike Dudek on Tenor Sax, who passed away at the young age of 23 of cancer, Brian Ernst on lead guitar and Steve Orange on bass. We called Steve “Stevie One Note”. We even wrote to Hanna Barbara in California to get permission to use our name and had a big poster made of us.

What a wonderful time that was…. I had a 1965 Mustang 2 + 2 fastback at the time with the hi performance 289 in it and would be at Detroit Dragway every Saturday nite if we weren’t playing somewhere or I wasn’t at the Michigan Drive-in on Eureka and Dix Toledo with my girl, Joyce.

What a great website this is. I found it by looking at the Dream Cruise articles on the Detroit News website. I now live in Louisiana and visit Michigan only in the summer.

Thank you for keeping Keener alive for us old people who remember it so well. I even had a reverberator in my Mustang so it would sound like stereo. You young folks wouldn’t remember that though.
Thanx again!

Dave “Bennie” Penney

Danita (Kroll) Cave – Keener influenced my career.

When I lived in Michigan–(1964-1971)–KEENER 13 was what we listened to at my house in Bloomfield Hills. Little did I know I would have a career in radio sales, spanning 1982-2001. Although I am currently in the television business, my first radio love was KEENER 13 and was a good influence on my 19 years in the radio business. I can even still sing their jingle from when it aired back in the 60’s. Those were great days to live in Michigan!!
MOTOWN ruled.

Danita (Kroll) Cave
Marketing Specialist
WPEC NEWS 12 CBS Affiliate
West Palm Beach.

Chris Morton – Rapping with Russ

Being a rabid XYZ/Keener/CKLW radio listener since ’61 after seeing “House On the Haunted Hill” at the ripe age of eight, sometime during ’67 I made the switch from AM to the new “underground radio” format popping up on the FM dial. At that time WABX was the forerunner, broadcasting an experimental show once a week or so prior to going fulltime with the format. Soon ABX was joined by WKNR-FM and, later, WRIF.

That same year I joined a busload of Cranbrook students to go to a Sunday afternoon, underage concert at the Grande Ballroom, “Uncle Russ” Gibb’s answer to the Fillmore (we were treated to an initial Detroit appearance by Cream). Enthralled by the euphoric Grande scene, I waltzed into Russ’ office and, introducing myself, soon landed an assignment to produce a Grande handbill promoting a B.B. King concert.

Such was my interest in rock music that I spent many evenings and weekends talking to the underground jocks-the late Dave Dixon and Russ Gibb in particular-on the telephone. It was in talking to Russ about having seen an unknown English avant-garde group, Soft Machine, upstage Jimi Hendrix at Masonic Temple that he invited me down to KNR’s studio on Michigan Avenue to pick up an advance tape of that group’s forthcoming first LP. Hitchhiking down there the following Saturday, that tape was an instant hit in the school’s language lab come Monday.

Being an ever-faithful listener of Gibb’s show, I was captivated one weekend when he interviewed a fellow on-air about multiple clues, taken from Beatles’ LPs, leading to the possibility that Paul McCartney had been killed and replaced by a look-alike. Though I don’t specifically remember what I contributed, I was very excited to be able to participate in Russ’ show and offer additional “clues,” now that Pandora’s box had been opened.

Stories such as these, including the one about having seen each of the Beatles shows on the Ed Sullivan Show, have been passed down to my two kids.

My wife, of course, has been repeatedly subjected to my far-off reminiscences of that era more times than she cares to remember.

So it was the four of us met in London in August, 2001. On the alert for a suitable birthday present for Dad, my son arranged for the four of us to go on a walking “Magical Mystery Tour”

(http://www.walks.com/beatles_magical.html). Starting very near the location of their short-lived Baker Street clothing boutique, the tour takes in McCartney’s MPL office and several other Beatles sites on its way to the former Apple headquarters, where the Fabs played the famous “Get Back” rooftop session.

From there it was on to the world famous Abbey Road Studios in St. John’s Wood, where our guide launched into a dissertation on the famous zebra-crosswalk photo appearing on the Beatles’ last album cover prior to disbanding. Here Paul is pictured barefoot and a VW license plate reads, “28IF,” Paul’s age at the time of the KNR broadcast “had he lived.” My ultimate delight came from the astonished looks on the faces of my wife and kids when, after explaining many of the clues, our guide attributed the “Paul Is Dead” story to none other than “Uncle Russ” Gibb, my WKNR-FM disk jockey friend!

Other links:
http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/3674/pid.html http://home.att.net/~s.m.geer/

Bruce Bennett – Love in a 62 Fairlane

Many, many memories… spending summer/fall/winter/spring…nights with my girl in my 1962 Fairlane with the AM radio tuned to KEENER, doing what teens always did alone at night in the car. There are very few DJ’s names one remembers, however, Dick Purtan is the name that has always been one to remember. Thanks for creating the website. Bruce Bennett ( Livonia Franklin ’68)

Bob Nyles – Worked at WKFR

I’m glad I discovered your site. From 1966-1970 I worked at sister station WKFR Keener 14 in Battle Creek and had a lot of association with my counterparts in Detroit. I especially enjoy the Jingles section. I used to have sub masters of all the KNR & KFR jingles but they’ve disappeared over the years. Thanks for the great site

Bob Nyles
Cox Radio Orlando

Bob Morrison – Hundreds of pancakes..

I remember the pancake eating contest between high schools. We ate hundreds of Silver Doillar pancakes at the Pancake House in Plymouth. Also, I remember the ‘write in’ contest. The high school that had the most postcards with their high school Principal’s name on it was the winner. Trenton High School had over a million postcards, but lost.

Bob Morrison

Becky McCoy – One of the original partners

I just checked out your website after being advised of its existence by Nellie Knorr. My husband is William McCoy, Jr. and his father started the station with Fred Knorr and Harvey Hanson. My husband could share some interesting stories with you of the early days of WKMH and how he as a young man had very different ideas from his dad about what should a radio station be and how the two generations could clash over their different ideas. I enjoyed your website. My memory is that in Grosse Pointe where I grew up, the signal was not very strong at night. Thanks for letting me share that bit of information. In fact, my husband and I are meeting Nellie Knorr for dinner next week.

Becky McCoy

Steve Gilmore – I regarded Keener 13 as the ‘Forbidden Pleasure..

I couldn’t pick up Keener 13 while growing up in defiance, Ohio, due to it being overpowered by the local station WONW being at 1280. Nonetheless, I regarded Keener 13 as the “Forbidden Pleasure” simply because I couldn’t pick it up in Defiance. Our family often went to Port Clinton and East Harbor on Lake Erie, where K-13 came in clear, so I thought of being able to hear K-13 as one of the forbidden pleasures of going to the beach in that area.

I grew up listening to CKLW, whose legend needs no further explanation. It was the only AM Top 40 station you could pick up in the daytime in Defiance. Nonetheless, I noticed some differences between your two stations when venturing east of Bowling Green, where K-13’s signal started coming in clearer. Most notably, you played “The Ballad of John and Yoko” and Janis Joplin’s “Down on Me” while CK didn’t.

I went to college at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, 35 miles from Cincinnati and 45 miles from Dayton in the early 1970’s. In those days when FM was just starting to become a major force, I studied to AM stations WSAI out of Cincinnati and occasionally to WING out of Dayton. CK became the “Forbidden pleasure” of my college years, CK’s signal didn’t go very far south of Interstate 70, so upon returning to Defiance for Christmas and spring breaks, I yearned for the Big 8. Still, if we went east to Toledo or Bowling Green or Lake Erie, I moved the AM dial to K-13 when we got there. Then after being in Defiance for a while, I yearned for WSAI as the “Forbidden Pleasure” of Southern Ohio, so returing to Miami reunited me with that quasi-legend out of Cincinnati (after living many lives after the demise of AM TOp 40 radio, WSAI, is now an all-sports station).

Thanks!

Steve Gilmore
Charlotte, NC USA

13 comments
  1. Dec 26th, 2009 at 20:48 | #1

    Wow! I live in Brazil now and I thought I would check the internet for any info on WKNR and Scott Regan. Those really were the days. I remember the time Scott Regan came into town. I don’t know what made him so popular, but I knew I liked him. I remember he had the donations for charity. I sent in my money and received a little box in the mail that was suppose to be a box of fresh air. Of course when you opened it the note said you lost the good air. It was a cute gimmick and all for a good purpose. I also remember Robyn Seymour and Gary Stevens. Ahh if only we could go back in time. Glad to see a site that has some of those old memories. I am sure most of this disc jocks are gone now, but they will be remembered by those of us that had our transitor radios and did our best to tune into their shows. Bless everyone of them

  2. wscottw3
    Dec 26th, 2009 at 20:52 | #2

    Hi Cathy!

    Actually, we’re still blessed to have many of the WKNR Key Men still around. Scottie is now retired and divides his time between New York and Florida. Bob Green is still producing outstanding commercials in Houston. Robin and Gary are still in good health. I saw them a couple of years ago at the last Detroit radio reunion. Thanks for visiting keener13.com!

    Scott Westerman
    Curator

  3. Leo Rengers
    Mar 9th, 2010 at 15:38 | #3

    Hey…you guys…You probably never heard of Lee Rengers…I’m 81 now… looking back…I was announcer/DJ at WKMH in 1956…Along with Robin Seymore…Joe Vann… Van Patrick (mutual network sports) Grew up on east side…Denby High…also worked at WXYZ radio/tv…WWJ…Started in Detroit at WJLB 1951…wound up in Chicago WCLR 1980…Now I’m doing Nothing in North Carolina…So good to read all your stories about the old days around Detroit…
    Lee Rengers

  4. Jim Willis
    Mar 22nd, 2010 at 02:34 | #4

    Back in the mid 60’s Sangoo had his famous garbage can. Later this was mentioned in a Beach Boy’s live ‘Barbara Ann’ song about Sangoo’s famous ash tray. I seem to remember that when Sangoo left one of his radio stations there was a problem because the radio stations claimed that ‘Sangoo’ and the garbage can were copyrights and Sangoo could not use them in the future. Does anyone remember that hassle?

  5. maurice Lincoln
    Feb 20th, 2011 at 16:42 | #5

    Russ sponsered the East India company a high school circuit that played mostly iggy stooge performances in the late 1960s. he was friend with the mr mouse of the mouse house of detroit inspiration to daddy roth of the rat fink! and dearborn music

  6. Rev. Peter Rafuse
    Jun 5th, 2012 at 12:32 | #6

    I have enjoyed reading about WKNR. I wish we could have the AM stations of the 60’s and 70’s back again. AM Radio sounded great with a good receiver. For example the Heathkit PT-1 with its wide bandwidth setting. In Nova Scotia our favourites were 92 CJCH and 96 CHNS out of the capital city Halifax. Both stations had a sad ending as FM with its pathetic 60 mile coverage took over. Those of us who had the privilege of listening to AM stereo know it had much better channel separation than FM. Also many tricks were used to punch up the sound of AM with the result being that on some stations AM sounded real good!

  7. Mary D.
    Jul 18th, 2012 at 06:36 | #7

    I grew up behind the station and had NO idea what was there on Michigan Avenue UNTIL a friend of mine and I discovered the weekly Keener guides. We’d knock on the front door and our own personal vision of perfection always answered. He was about 6′ tall with long hair…and to our 12 year old selves he was the nearest thing to a rock superstar we had ever seen. Every Saturday we’d walk up there, knock, and he’d give us our Keener guides. WHO WAS THIS GUY?!? This would have been in the late 60s! Since then, I’ve co-hosted my own radio show on WJR newstalk radio; who would have ever DREAMED that a gig in radio would be part of my destiny! (Though I’ve never forgotten Mr. Wonderful either!) LOL! Mary D. Northville MI

  8. Capt. Dan
    Dec 14th, 2012 at 12:22 | #8

    WOW!!! Those were good days!! A great radio station playing great music in a great city!! WKNR (Music) Keener13!!

  9. Rhonda S.
    Jan 1st, 2013 at 15:01 | #9

    Yes! Those were absolutely the days! I grew up in Dearborn and in Jr. High and High School and was always tuned into Keener Radio! Great memories!

  10. Ken Hissong
    Jan 24th, 2013 at 22:28 | #10

    I can thank Jerry Goodwin, Dick Purtan, and especially Phil Nye for my nearly 40-year broadcasting career. Worked with Jerry doing record hops in ’65. Joined the Air Force and was a DJ for Armed Forces Radio and TV Service in Viet Nam and Korea. Phil hired me as a TV news producer at WXYZ-TV and that is just part of the story. Keener will always be THE best of the best…Camelot time for radio.

  11. linda stephens
    Jun 13th, 2013 at 15:58 | #11

    great music memories. i’m trying to remember the transition from/to cutie, wqte…………can’t seem to get the time frame straight. and how can all these people remember keener 13 without mentioning tom clay, formerly of wjbk jack the bellboy fame? his career ended badly, but all my teenie bopper girlfriends worshiped him. linda, dearborn hi ’65

  12. linda stephens
    Jun 13th, 2013 at 16:20 | #12

    as soon as i posted i started to really think………….i’m confusing whnd and wqte 560, which were bubble-gum then oldies stations with the great keener 13. those of us who graduated hi school in 1965 are getting senile…. linda again, still dearborn hi 65

  13. Ross Ewage
    Apr 25th, 2014 at 21:39 | #13

    I lived in New England so I never got to hear Keener l3 but in l965 I went to school in Rochester NY and an old-line middle of the road music station WRVM had just changed format to WNYR “Winner 68”. it played country music hits but with a top 40 approach including “Winner Contact News” twice an hour. several years later I learned that the guy responsible for this format was John Mazer who had come from Detroit and had patterned the station after Keener l3. in one rating book the station went from dead last to number 2 in the market. it sounded much better than the leading top 40 station in town WBBF which had DJ’s that talked too much and were about 20 years out of touch with the music and the audience.

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