No one can overlook Bill Drake's influence. The man who brought the industry the idea of a focused playlist, talent and execution. A formula that has been a part of every modern-day radio format. Without Bill Drake....what?
Aside from airchecks, my only direct listening to a "Bill Drake" format (growing up in Chicago) was when one of Bill's syndicated RKO formats found its way to WFYR/Chicago when it debuted in 1973. WFYR used the famous KHJ top of hour ramp-up/ID. Wonderful.
That said - in reality, I heard Bill Drake everywhere. There's been lots of tributes and memories to Bill written in the last day. Scroll down and find them here.
And this morning, Fred Jacobs offered his thoughts on the late Mr. Drake:
"Drake was the guy who brought discipline and tight music lists to radio. In many ways, radio programming has devolved in recent years to a point where Drake couldn't have liked what he heard. I never met the guy, but I did some work for Paul Drake and Rick Sklar in the '70s - both of whom were Drake disciples and/or heavily influenced by his doctrines. They were both tough programmers, strict disciplinarians, and insistent that a station's sound and packaging be executed to the letter."
"Drake's style of radio was big, bold, and exciting - very different from how much of radio is perceived and programmed today. Drake stations didn't apologize - they were leaders, they set the tone, and they made hits. They were also disciplined - during the day, at night, and on the weekends. When so many stations today are mailing it in, and hoping no one notices, those Drake Top 40 stations sounded tight and bright whenever you tuned them in. It was all about the presentation."All about the presentation. Thank you Bill Drake.
Added: John Gorman offers a great piece on the late Mr. Drake here.