"It's 20 minutes before the hour in Windsor and Detroit..."
CKLW 20/20 News

One of the things that helped complete the sound of CKLW was their "20/20 News", which ran at twenty minutes before the hour (I think that a short "headline" version also ran at 20 minutes after the hour). Most other stations ran their news at the top of the hour, usually for about five or six minutes, but CKLW always played music during that period. Thus, if you were the type that always pushed the button on your car radio when the news came on, you'd likely change to CKLW at the top of the hour, and the hope was that you'd leave your radio there until at least the long newscast at twenty minutes before the next hour. However, you might actually stick around for the news on CKLW, because the way it was delivered made it very listenable. The late Byron MacGregor in particular had a talent for delivering news in a rapid-fire style, but of course there were others who also did a great job of delivering the news during that period.

[Byron MacGregor, Joe Donovan and Grant Hudson] Byron, whose real name was Gary Mack, came to CKLW from Calgary, where his father, Clarence Mack, had been a Calgary radio institution. Of their father, brother Hudson Mack says, "He owned the morning ratings with his 'Toast and Marmalade' program on CFAC in the '50's and '60s." Hudson also states, "My late brother, Byron MacGregor, had a very successful career, pioneering the 20/20 news style at CKLW Windsor/Detroit, and highlighted by his multi-million selling record 'The Americans', donating all proceeds, more than $100,000 to the Red Cross." (These quotes from Hudson Mack are from the Web page put up by his employer - Hudson is currently a co-anchor on the CHEK channel 6 news at 5:30 in Victoria, B.C.)

The photo is a snapshot of three former 20/20 newscasters: Bryon MacGregor, Joe Donovan and Grant Hudson. It was taken in the front yard of Joe's house, probably sometime in the late 70's. The picture was snapped by Joe's wife after one of the infamous 20/20 newsroom parties, and was provided by Grant Hudson.

One of the classic sounds associated with "20/20 News" was the incessant clacking of the teletype machine in the background. Back in the 60's, virtually all radio stations of any size had at least a couple of the old, black teletypes spewing out roll after roll of paper containing news and weather information. But when I heard the same sound during CKLW's early 1990's revival, I got a bit suspicious, because by then the old teletype machines had long since been replaced, first by silent versions of the teletype and later by computers. I figured it had to be a recorded sound, so I asked Charlie O'Brien about it. His response was that "It was a tape THEN (in the 60's) and exactly the same tape we used later (just recorded on cartridge at a lower volume because of FM.) That exact teletype sound was used on all Drake-RKO format Top 40 stations in the 60's and was part of the jingle package." Tape or not, it added something to the "sound" of "20/20 News", and I'm glad they used it!

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