Around 1968, Ms Trombley and her husband separated (they later divorced), and around the same time she was offered the opportunity to take over as the registrar of the station, which was going on maternity leave. The station’s program director soon took notice of her ear for hits and put her in as music director, a job she held, Tim Trombley said, until she was fired at in the early 1980s as part of a downsizing effort.
Miss Trombley relied on more than her own taste; she called local R&B stations to see what they were playing, which led her to donate 50,000 watts of CKLW to black artists. She has also fostered the careers of Canadian artists such as Gordon Lightfoot and Guess Who, as well as a number of Detroit stars including Bob Seeger.
“Seger never had a problem getting into CKLW,” she told the Detroit Free Press in 2004, when Mr. Seger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “Look at the songs. Listen to the lyrics. I’m a lyrical freak. When someone says something in a song, I can’t be the only person interested in it. “
Well Mister Seger nearly never had a problem getting to the station. Some of his new material came into her possession in the early 1970s, and she edited them. He sat down and wrote a song about her called “Rosalie”, which contained many malicious winks.
“He was angry when he wrote this song about me,” she said. “He told me!”
Payola – which offered pay-per-song performance – was part of the radio business during Ms. Trombley’s reign, and her son said that it was common knowledge in the industry that she was a single mother, so some promoters did it on her own. that there was money.
“She did it less discreetly,” he said, “that if they want to continue meeting with her every week, it’s not like their tape will be broadcast on the radio.”