feder: friday on the drive

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Posted by natsuki summer on January 13, 2011 at 19:17:49:

Chicago’s top-rated classic rock powerhouse will kick off its 10th anniversary year by breaking format for a day to air an ambitious, 17-hour “broadcast event” on the history of rock ’n’ roll.

WDRV-FM (97.1), the Bonneville International station known as The Drive, will devote next Friday — from 7 a.m. to midnight — to a retrospective of the genre from its infancy in the ’50s to its universal scope and influence today. To promote “The Drive’s History of Rock ’n’ Roll,” a series of evocative videos began turning up Thursday on YouTube and on the station’s website.

Written and hosted by veteran Drive personalities Steve Downes, Bob Stroud and Bobby Skafish along with Nick Michaels, the station’s imaging voice and host of “The Deep End” on Saturday nights, the documentary has been months in the making.

“The stories they share about this magical thing we call rock ‘n’ roll will hopefully bring our listeners a few chills and goose bumps,” said Greg Solk, senior vice president of programming for Bonneville International. “It truly was an all-star team working on this historic broadcast,” he said, singling out program director Patty Martin and two of Chicago radio’s most seasoned and respected production wizards, Tom Couch and Matt Bisbee.

Presented in hourly chapters, the retrospective starts with the birth of rock (Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis) and covers the British invasion (Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Who), psychedelia and progressive rock (Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Moody Blues), heavy metal, R&B, glam and grunge, Solk said.

Throughout the broadcast, which also will stream online and through mobile apps, listeners will be invited to contribute personal stories about how rock influenced their lives via a comment blog. At the conclusion, an archive of music featured in the special will be available on the station’s website. Included with the songs will be videos, lyrics and artist information.

One of the most successful radio formats of the decade, The Drive debuted April 2, 2001. In the Arbitron Portable People Meter survey for November, it was the top-rated station in the market among adults between 25 and 54 — the so-called “money demo” deemed most attractive to advertisers — with a 5.6 percent share. It ranked fourth overall in the last quarter.

A personal note: My thanks to all of you for welcoming me back to the beat so warmly and making my first week at Time Out Chicago such a happy one. It’s been a great start to the new year. In addition to joining me here, I invite you to follow me on Twitter and my brand new Facebook page.

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