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Legendary Former CKLW Music Director Dies

Rosalie Trombley

A woman credited with launching the music careers of many rock bands as the music director for CKLW-AM (Windsor-Detroit) (aka The Big 8) has passed away. Rosalie Trombley, a pioneer in Canadian radio died peacefully Tuesday (11/23) at the age of 82, according to reports from the station.

Trombley started her career as a switchboard operator at the radio station in 1963 but quickly made a name for herself by discovering hit songs by talented artists. By 1968, she was CKLW’s music librarian. In that job she was responsible for reading the trades and researching to see what the station might want to play. She was so adept at it, she was almost immediately promoted to her boss’ job as music director.

“Rosalie was an icon, a trailblazer and our friend,” Bob Seger said in a statement. “Through her hard work and incredible instincts, she achieved a rare level of influence and power in music. When she got behind your record, other stations would follow suit. She was literally a gatekeeper to national success and we were so fortunate to have her support, especially on many of our early records. She was an integral part of our journey and we are eternally grateful. We will miss her.”

According to CKLW, she was credited for also launching the careers of The Guess Who, Gordon Lightfoot, Paul Anka, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Bob Seger, Alice Cooper and many more.

Seger even immortalized Trombley in his 1973 song “Rosalie,” which include lyrics “She’s got the power, the teen queen Rosalie,” and “She’s everybody’s favorite record girl.”

No cause of death was released, but Trombley had been ailing and out of the public eye for some time.  A private memorial service has taken place. A public remembrance event to give all her fans and those of the Big 8, is being planned for a future date.

In June of 2011 she was honored at a huge gala in Windsor.  It was all captured on video by Art Vuolo, Jr. who shares a 42-minute edit of the original 105-minute video:

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