Rosalie Trombley

Canadian Radio Pioneer Rosalie Trombley, Dead At 82

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WINDSOR, Ont. (CelebrityAccess) — Pioneering Canadian radio executive Rosalie Trombley, whose ear for hit music made her an influential programmer in both the U.S. and Canadian radio industry, died on November 23. She was 82.

Her passing was announced by her family. A cause of death was not provided for Trombley.

“Mom possessed an innate sense for music and could hear a hit from a mile away” said her son, Tim Trombley. “But more than that, she had the ability to connect with music from a multitude of artists across many genres. Although we are heartbroken, we are comforted by the fact that her legacy and her influence will live on.”

Known as “the girl with the golden ear” Tromley began her career in radio as a part time switchboard operator and receptionist at AM station CKLW – The BIG 8. While the station was based in Windsor, Ontario, its 50,000-watt transmitter allowed it to reach audiences in much of the Northeastern U.S., including Detroit, a market which the station tailored its programming for.

Trombley accepted a job at CKLW’s music library and quickly developed a reputation for having a ‘good ear’ and in 1968, she was offered a full-time role as the station’s music director, one of the few female executives in North American radio at the time.

Artists she is credited with breaking onto the Top 40 CHR charts include: The Guess Who, Gordon Lightfoot, Paul Anka, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Bob Seger, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Andy Kim, The O’Jays, Chicago, Earth, Wind & Fire, Parliament–Funkadelic, Queen, Aerosmith and more.

However, in 1970, new rules mandating that Canadian radio stations play a play a certain percentage of Canadian music led to waning interest from American audiences.

In 2016, became the first women to be honored with the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award at the 45th annual JUNO Awards. An annual “Rosalie Award” is presented in her name to female trailblazers in radio during Canadian Music Week.

Trombley is survived by her three children, Timothy (Renée), Todd, and Diane (David) and by her grandson, Robert.


A private service will be held for family and close friends.

“Rosalie Trombley was a friend and I’m very proud to have made that connection to one of radio’s brightest lights. She was feisty, opinionated and possessed the best ears for music of anyone I know. Bob Seger honored her by writing “Rosalie” about her. I recall Celine Dion and I sitting in the front row together at a Canadian Music Week presentation in Toronto in which Rosalie was honored. A short film of her life was shown. Attentively watching it, Celine then insisted that I introduce her to Rosalie who walked from the podium to the two of us. Celine was awe struck. Rosalie provided breakthroughs into the U.S. for a generation of Canadian artists including the Guess Who, Anne Murray, Terry Jacks, Edward Bear, the Bells, and the Five Man Electrical Band to name but a few. I so miss her,” remembered CelebrityAccess’ Larry LeBlanc.

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