There were a number of stations during the 70’s and 80’s which were using the Drake-Chenault formats, including the AC “Hit Parade”(later called “Contempo 300”) the Gold/Current Mix “Solid Gold”(later called Contempo 200”), the CHR “XT-40”, the Country “Great American Country”, the Oldies “Classic Gold”, the AOR XT-100.” As far as I can remember here is a grouping of stations in Central Illinois and a few from surrounding areas using each of the Drake formats. Not many of them continued with Drake-Chenault formats past the early to mid 1980's, having changed to live programming or to satellite networks. Drake-Chenault was sold to Wagontrain Enterprises in 1986 and the operation was moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 1989 it was purchased by Jones Radio Networks in 1990 and moved to Denver. It operates today as part of the Jones Radio Network which along with other music services, formats an array of radio station formats via satellite which are broadcast by stations across the country, under the guise of being a local station.
based from 8399 Topanga Canyon Road, Canoga Park,
CA 92304. Their phone number was (213) 883-7400. Sales
material from them stated their "formats are designed to be run on
standard automation equipment readily available from several
manufactures. A basic system sufficient to run the complete
formats, 24-hours a day, can be purchased for as little as $18,000 or
leased for as little as $425 a month."
It was great to get
more information by e-mail
from Denny Adkins,
who was the "original" PD of WBNQ when it went with the
"Olde Golde"(from Draper-Blore) format in August of 1972 and left to
work for Drake Chenault in 1976. He was President of
Drake-Chenault when he left the syndication company in 1987.
also produced the long form
program "The History of
Rock and Roll." The special was a 52-hour program narrated
Bill Drake and researched, written and co-produced(with Bill
Drake) by Gary Theroux. I heard from Gary, who told of his
experiences at Drake-Chenault. He explained that "The History of
Rock and Roll" debuted on more than 400 stations in the U.S. and over
400 stations overseas and won Billboard's "Top Special Program of the
Year" award. He also explained how the 52-hour program was broken
down into "modules, each designed to focus on and spotlight a
particular genre, or in some cases, a key artist in rock
history." The "modules were presented, more or less
chronologically, starting in the early '50's(prior to "Rock Around the
Clock") and running through to what was current in the year the program
was produced: 1978." Gary also designed each hour of the show to
stand on it's own which would allow
stations to strip the show throughout the
week, and use
any number of hours each day. Gary went on to describe the show
taking the approach of a "reporter" not a critic, and tried to have the
individual artists tell their story as much as possible, using the
narrator Bill Drake to tie each story or items together. It was
who did chose to end the series with the Number One montage of all of
the number one hits of the rock era. The time sweep is available
at Reel Radio .
More on Reel Radio later.
I remember "The History of Rock and Roll" as
being a holiday tradition at WDNL when I was there in the early
years. The show debuted on Memorial Day Weekend in 1978 on D-102
where it was an instant hit. I remember one advertising client
whom I tried to persuade to advertise on the show, having turned me
down, was upset that I didn't persuade him more. The next time we
ran the show....on Labor Day weekend in 1978, he was the first to sign
up for sponsorship!
It appears that, and has been confirmed by
contributors, that Drake-Chenault ownership and management failed to
ride the changing tide of technology and re-direct the format services
from being a reel to reel format supplier to that of being a satellite
format programming supplier, of which there are several operating
today. What was left of the original company's assets were
ultimately absorbed by the Jones Radio Networks.
It's unknown if the original "History of Rock
and Roll" would be available today.....but I would suggest perhaps a CD
To hear an air check of "Solid Gold" go to the CHR History page and look under WWTO and WBNQ.
Drake Chenault From the Inside Here's a wealth of information about "how they did it!" as described by the Director of Engineering at Drake Chenault from 1974 to 1988. Henry "Hank" Landsburg's narrative of the technical aspect of supplying over 300 radio stations with formats is featured on this site. There's more to be added including pictures and audio, so check back often for updates!!! Be sure and return here!
to Denny Adkins, former PD of WBNQ in
Bloomington, Illinois and a former President of Drake-Chenault for his
Many thanks to Hank Landsberg, former Director of Engineering at Drake-Chenault Enterprises, Inc. 1974-1988 for sharing his incredible experiences!
The San Diego based Peters Production’s formats included the CHR format, “The Love Rock” and the beautiful music format “Music Just for the Two of Us.” Below is a demo for "Love Rock". "Love Rock" was very similar to Drake-Chenault in sound....basically formatted reel to reels with announcer intros and outros, jingles, position statements, id's, buffers and etc.. I can only assume that the methodology was very similar to that of Drake-Chenault with dead rolls, "EOM" placement and formatics. "Music Just for the Two of Us" was a beautiful music format with voiced buffers, no song identification was done.
thanks to Jon Roher for the "Love Rock" demo
thanks to Dave Bickford for the "Music Just for the Two of Us" demo
TM "Stereo Rock"
This automated contemporary music format included a complete package of music, production elements and jingles allowing for the use of local elements. This was a much lower energy presentation of contemporary music, a more adult approach and very much unlike what was heard on many AM Top 40 stations at the time.
thanks to Jon Roher of We B Video for his TM "Stereo Rock" demo.
|TM "Beautiful Rock"
This automated contemporary music format included a complete package of music, production elements and jingles allowing for the use of local elements. This format used a beautiful music style of presen tation with complete fade outs of songs, periods of silence between songs and other program elements and was very low key. The music featured were from the original pop artists instead of using intrumental versions of the hits by cover artists.
thanks to Jon Roher of We B Video for his TM
"Beautiful Rock" demo
|WHBF-FM, Moline, IL(mid 1970's)
WMBD-FM, Peoria, IL(mid 1970's)
WFBQ-FM, Indianapolis, IN(mid 1970's)
|More Music Programming|
Facts about More Music Programming are difficult to find. The only information I have comes from around 1975 with a demo of a recording of an automated format called "The Performers" which featured a "live like" sound with four different announcers used each day. Each jock would have a shift at your station which would run 6-10am, 10am-3pm, 3-7pm and 7pm to midnight. It was called a "progressive MOR" format and featured contemporary easy listening songs from the 1960's and 70's. It would be comparable to a "light rock" format of today.
The format seemed to be similar to TM's Stereo Rock, in that, the current music selections would be grouped in pars and voice tracked right on the reels. There seemed to be more than one way to announce the current two song sets, some were announced during the segue, others would drop in a custom station ID slogan line, but each set would end with a back announce of the two songs. Each announcer would have his(no hers at the time, it was 1975), set of reels, probably day-parted as to time slot. Oldies were back announced and would lead into spot sets. Each jock also did a series of local PSA's which were inserted within spot sets, and custom weather intros, which would lead into local announcers with weather, news or whatever local programming elements programmed. There were also customized drops with station ID's for music segues.
It was really not a bad sounding format and sounded somewhat "live like" although it would have been impossible to react to any local issue which would have come along that would have been normally mentioned with a real live announcer. Local issues like bad weather, local news events, etc. would have been totally ignored by the on-air announcer.
I'm not familiar
with any station using the format within central Illinois, or at least
within my listening area. The station on the demo was KASK.
thanks to Randy and Michelle Middleton for the More Music Production demo for "The Chronology of American Hits"
thanks to Chip Douglas Mosley for his information about Century 21!!
thanks to Cliff Rogers for his contribution of music reels from Century 21's "Z Format" and "AC" format.
Chris Edwards also described the radio formats produced by Radio Arts. "American Rock" included a 2-thousand cut library, "Sound 10" was the adult contemporary format, "Encore" was similar to the "Music of Your Life" format with MOR standards, and "The Entertainers" contained several variations which could range from MOR standards to an MOR/soft rock format." The voice of "The Entertainers" was Ron Russ who was also working at KBIG. Brian Bierne was the voice of "American Rock" while working at KRTH, Jerry Bishop of KFI/KGIL was the voice of "Sound 10" and Dick Sinclair who also hosted the "Polka Parade" Show was the voice of "The Bright and Easy Country" format. The company also offered unannounced versions of their music reels, but also offered custom promos, time announcements and other custom production elements for their clients.
The studios were located in Burbank, California at the end of the southbound Pass Avenue off ramp on the 134 Freeway. Chris admits the company joke about some drunk failing to break and wind up as part of the furniture in Studio B.
It's unknown how many stations the company serviced or for how long during the era, or what happened to the company. As far as I know there were no central Illinois format clients, although local Danville, Illinois AM station WITY ran the "Your Hit Parade" program during the 1980's.
thanks to Chris Edwards, Client Services of Radio Arts for his information about the company!!
Programming International, Inc.
Very little is known about this company. I have a demo produced by the company called "Classic Rock" but it just contained snipits of a few older Top 40 selections and a few which weren't hits.
The address was listed as:
Broadcast Progamming International, Inc.
PO Box 2027
Bellevue, Washington 98009
(206) 454-5010 Toll Free 1-800-426-9082
I liked the consistent , jock-less sound of the formatics and the custom jingles, as I had never heard anything like it before. The format was later replaced by one of local origination which ultimately was better than any automated format in central Illinois for quite a few years. Check out details on WDZ section of Area CHR Stations.
WBNQ, on the other hand, left Draper-Blore in either 1973 or early 1974 and went with Drake-Chenault. Former WBNQ P.D. Denny Adkins, years later, said the format change was made because of quality issues and problems in getting programming updates on time. When and where Draper-Blore appeared and disappeared to is unknown. If anyone knows anything about this once prominent radio programming company please e-mail me at dougquick @ dougquick.com.
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