Composite: CKLW-FM 94 Windsor Ont. | 1988

800 Windsor Ontario Detroit CKLW

Here’s another one we have to make an educated guess as to the year. This was the short-lived recreation of the Big 8 – on FM! Judging from my trip to Detroit in the early 90s, I remember this station and it really DID sound good.

One of the very few Oldies stations to effectively recreate the original sound of their AM (KFRC 99.7 TRIED, we’ll give them credit), CKLW brought just about everything back except all the old jocks. Imagine, trying to make new jocks sound like they did at 800 on the dial in 1974. Well, they did it here. Listen for CKLW 20/20 News – one can almost expect Byron McGregor to be anchor!



  1. Larry

    I enjoyed the aircheck of CKLW FM however the only thing that I noticed was that some segues between songs were heard without jingles or jocks talking up and hitting the post. The original CKLW was not known for this.

    I realize that may sound to critical. Overall it is one of the better recreations of the original sound and yes, it does sound like the unforgettable 20/20 news.

  2. Donovan Tildesley

    Interesting aircheck. Live reads were rare to nonexistent in 1993. Does anyone know how long this lasted? And what were the ratings like? I’m surprised they got away with this on FM. for those who don’t know, the CRTC does not allow oldies on FM. Any song prior to 1980 is referred to as a “hit”, and anything after 1980 a “non-hit”. I only heard one non-hit (Toto’s “Africa”). No way this could legally work unless 50% of the music was post-1980. Either that, or else this was a dayparted format.
    Back in 1984, CHR on FM was against CRTC regulations (maybe someone with more knowledge can explain). At that time, CKLW-FM attempted to run CHR as “94 Fox FM”. Problem is, they could only run it four hours a day!

  3. The reproduced Drake id is lame. The jock sounds tired, not just laid back. A little more of the old CKLW energy might have saved this station but it sounds like a lame attempt by an easy listening station to recreate top 40 radio.

  4. Gino

    i grew up on the big 8 listened to 93 those were good days. motown was king, as it switched to 93 they did a great job. im 45 and if they station came back in any format close i would listen. the big 8 was gone, no need to be so critical they came close and it was a good run.

  5. Chris


    CKLW-FM actually made two attempts at Oldies with the classic “Big 8” sound. The first lasted from around 1986 to 1988 or 89. The second was the era you hear here, which lasted from about 1991 to 93.
    In between, the station had the calls CKMR with an Oldies/Gold AC format as “More 94,” and also made a VERY short attempt at R&B/Soul Oldies under the name “I-94.”
    Being born in 1980, this was the only taste of the “Big 8” style that I got to hear firsthand and not through airchecks. It may not be 100% like the original, but it’s close enough and I would welcome it back on the air today.
    As for ratings, although the station sounded good, I can’t imagine the ratings were very high. Listeners who wanted oldies were probably getting it from either WOMC or Honey Radio WHND-AM at this point. Plus the CHUM Group has never done a particularly good job of promoting 93.9 FM.

  6. Chris

    Incidentally, CKLW-FM’s first try at Oldies in the ’80s included a lot of ’80s music. The Big 8 tribute website has an aircheck of the format which includes “You Should Hear How She Talks About You” by Melissa Manchester, from 1982, which was probably only four or five years old at that point. Of course, in the golden days of AM Top 40, a song became an Oldie as soon as it fell off the current charts.

  7. Steven Green

    First time I listened to CKLW-FM with this format was in October, 1988. I was pleasantly surprised to hear this station then, and I love this aircheck now.

  8. Melissa Talbot

    I would like to know what i have to do to win tickets to the Gwen Stefani concert in London. My nephew who is 8 told me that you were giving away tickets and he is the biggest fan of Gwen. I would really like to surprise him with the tickets and take him to the concert. Please get back to me with the details. It would mean alot Thank-You very much.


    Hmm some of my own thoughts.

    CKLW-FM should try to sound like a HIT MUSIC Station of the era we’re in right now….as if the BIG 8 just kept going and switched to FM.

    94 C-K-L-W

    Why try to re-create days gone by – except for a nostalgic weekend here and there.

    I would drop the FM reference except for the odd Official sounding ID.

    Also get some JAM jingles. Nothing says radio better. LOL.

  10. Martie

    I would prefer to hear the classic “Big-8” on satellite radio if possible. Trying to resurrect the old CKLW doesn’t work these days. 20/20 News on CKLW FM was lame back in the early 1990’s, and there would be no way the station could use their classic tabloid-style “Blood and Guts” 20/20 news today that gave them their high ratings back in the ’70’s. The CRTC would shut them down in a second.

  11. Gerry Finley

    On April 30 I won a three day two night trip to Vegas while listening to the Dr Joy Brown show. Also included were two tickets to a comedy show. I was told that I would receive a package in the mail within seven days which has not happened. Could you please tell me who to contact about this?

  12. The Network

    To clarify a couple of things about this aircheck:

    1) This aircheck comes from the Summer of 1986, when CKLW-FM was in it’s infancy. I lived in Toledo at the time and the “send your 3 favorite songs on a postcard” promotion was definitely used in the first few months of the station’s existence, as they wanted to shape the format around what people wanted to hear (Something stations can’t or won’t due to anymore due to their corporate suits dictatorships).

    2) The “live reads” over the instrumentals was part of a CRTC requirement. Through some strange requirement (CKLW did get to play oldies on the FM through what I had heard was called an ‘experimental format’ license from the CRTC), they HAD to play a certain percentage of instrumentals during the day to retain this license. A playing of an “instrumental” had to be at least 60 seconds to qualify as a full song. The way CKLW-FM got around that requirement was, along with playing one or two full-length instrumentals in the hour, to do a top and bottom instrumental of at least 60 seconds, and either doing PSAs, traffic reports or station promotions during the required time. Then they would play a Drake-jingle ID, then back to the music.

    Then for an hour around 10 or 11 at night, they would do a full hour of instrumentals, again only playing 60-second snippets to satisfy CRTC requirements. There was also a bizarre show during that time of the night called “Tapestry”, in which some lady would read fairy-tale like stories intertwined with relevant music. I assume this was a Canadian-Produced show in order to meet additional CRTC rules. Tapestry lasted less than 6 months, IIRC.

    Speaking of other requirements with the CRTC license: All Canadian stations had to play at least 30% Canadian music, which was defined as any song sung by a Canadian, had a prominent Canadian Member in the group, was recorded in Canada, or was produced by a Canadian. Some of this was probably achieved via the 60-second instrumentals that met the requirements, while BTO, Anne Murray, Paul Anka and the Guess Who would be played a little more often than the Beatles, because of their Maple Leaf roots.

    The reason why by the early 90’s they were changing call letters and formats so much (CKLW-FM 94 to CKMR/More 94 to I-94 then back to 93.9/CKLW) was probably due to issues with the CRTC, since the formatics pretty much remained the same.

    Despite CKLW having a great sound and deeper playlist than most other oldies stations at the time, they were restrained with so many “Canadian Radio Requirements”, that they never had a real chance to be as dominant as it’s former AM dynasty was, despite bringing back former Big 8 Alumni to man the airwaves, and finding out loopholes to satisfy the CRTC rules.

  13. Charlie O'Brien

    The early CKLW-FM transitioned out of an automated Drake-Chenault format that was running on a huge automation machine with 10″ reels of tape and carts! Dave Shafer was the PD and morning host. It was several months before they were able to cart music and get it tighter. I returned on air and music dircetor at CKLW-FM about a year later. Dave was also programming CKLW-AM with a successful “Music of Your Life” format. The FM was the weak sister.
    Dave continued the morning show and let me program FM. The result was the “The Legend” – that was Lee Alan’s idea. Lee was airing a show called “Back to The 60’s” on the station. We had absolutely NO budget and did everything on a shoe string. Lee’s company came up with Legend logo – a large 93.9 monolith – a bow to the Big 8 logo. We were owned by a cable tv company at the time. They didn’t get radio.
    We tried to re-create the Big 8 as closely as possible. Scott Miller in afternoons, Dave in mornings and me in mid-days.
    Grant Hudson anchored 20/20 News – no one could do it like the original Grant!
    We did have an experimental licence – and still to some effect. Our non hit requirement was 13%, Cancon was 15% – but we were strapped with “foreground” programming by the CRTC. It wasn’t hard to make the numbers. Today the non-hit rule doesn’t apply to the Windsor stations and the Cancon is 20%. The CRTC really doesn’t have anything to say about the ‘style’ of News (a la 20/20) just the content – we had to do an equal Canadian/Us split.
    The top hour voice was Big Jim Edwards (a former Big 8 jock).
    Oh and did I mention the cable company had SOLD most of the on air processing gear!!!!! We did have the 100,000watt transmitter going for us. I think it sounded really good – for what we had.
    The owners brought in a new operations chief and pushed Dave Shafer aside. Sandy Davis was the guy who brought in the MORE94 format. It was Oldies, but Sandy had no clue what oldies were – or what the Big 8 had been. It didn’t last – and he sequed into the I-94 R&B format. He was gone soon after and I became the PD again. CHUM radio had just bought the stations and soon morphed it into the format the The Arrow in LA was doing.

  14. jean-rock

    moi j,aimerais ca que chlw sois comme avant dans les anne 70 maudi la bonne station que j,ecoutais quand j.alais au recolte de tomate waaaaaaaaaaa de bon souvenir

  15. Rick Brancadora

    Congratulations to CKLW!. At WIBBAGE-FM @94.3 Retro Drake is not only in.. its hot!
    CKLW and WIBG were Drakes crowning achievements, and after a year of restoring and reconstructing the WIBBAGE Philiadelphia sound, the results are enormous. The best part of this is the “ear-candy”. Old WIBBAGE airchecks, retro commercials and jingles. We wish CKLW the best of success. And give us a listen online at //

    With all the formula radio today.. Top 40, yadada.. the retro sound is hotter than ever! Drake created a masterpiece in these twin stations, and we wish you the best of success! CKLW and WIBG had local and regional pride, offering local groups coverage and exposure that made them enormously popular nationally, pure personality driven radio with purpose.

  16. Chuck Morgan

    Hi there,
    Just searching through the Internet and came across this CKLW-FM aircheck. Was surprised to hear it! My name is Michael Donovan and was originally hired to work on CFXX (94 Fox FM). I got into Windsor in 1984. The “Fox” turned out to be an incredible disappointment for all involved. After things changed and they decided that we were going to bring the “Big 8” to the FM side … I was asked by Dave Shafer which jock with a produced jingle I wanted to be. I chose “Chuck Morgan”. So that’s me on that aircheck. Brought back lots of weird memories! By the way, that aircheck would have been from early 1988. I left there in about May of 1988 … so it wouldn’t have been 1993.
    Thanks for the memories!

  17. hi thanks for the info mike donovan and charlie o’brien you can here him on am 580 ckww mornings he was on the original 800 cklw

  18. Jay Rudko

    Great aircheck. I wasn’t aware of the CRTC rules that prohibited oldies and even CHR on FM at that time. If I heard correctly, the CRTC is looking to phase AM out altogether in Canada. That commission effectively killed CKLW off in its heyday by imposing CanCon rules, aimed squarely at the most American sounding Canadian station. As oldies stations go, this one sounds really good. I always liked that jingle package, too. The style is much more relaxed; they didn’t even try to keep things as tight as they were when “The Big 8” ruled the airwaves in greater Detroit and Windsor.

  19. Shawn Szymanski

    Based on the comments previously left, and the reference to the “final day of the summit in Tokyo” which is the G-7 Economic Summit, this aircheck can be dated as May 6, 1986.

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