I am so there: A Canadian documentary about one of the most influential radio stations of my young life — Windsor’s legendary CKLW (Motor City rock!).
Great detail: Key to the story of the station and McNamara’s documentary is Rosalie Trombley, the former switchboard operator who became one of radio’s most powerful behind-the-scenes influences. She and her staff painstakingly researched request lines and record store sales to see what kids were listening to, compiling the information into the Top 30 chart that was published weekly and distributed to record stores.
She also had an ear for talent. Bob Seger, Elton John, David Bowie and Alice Cooper are just a few of the performers who owe a big part of their success to Trombley. It wasn’t unusual to see members of the Four Tops or Temptations waiting for their turn outside Trombley’s office to personally deliver their latest single.
“Rosalie had that kind of reputation as someone who could pick a hit before anyone else,” McNamara says. “Getting a song on CKLW meant that automatically other radio stations far beyond the region would add the record.”
Seger even had a song about Trombley, “Rosalie,” which included the lyrics, “She’s got the tower, she’s got the power.” Though flattered, she said she’d quit if it ever played on her station.