Archive for the Buzzard Photos Category

WMMS St. Patrick’s Day Parade float, 1986

Posted in Buzzard, Buzzard Media, Buzzard Photos on March 13, 2010 by John Gorman

Here’s our Buzzard float in the 1986 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Cleveland.

Other radio stations protested that there was “nothing Irish” about our Buzzard van, which appeared in previous year’s parades.

The parade organizers responded with a new rule – that all participants in the 1986 parade had to carry the theme of “Irish education.”

So David Helton designed a scholarly Irish Buzzard holding a shamrock in one wing and a diploma in the other for “The Rock & Roll History of Cleveland.”

As we explained to the organizers WMMS listeners were provided a continual educational experience into the history of rock & roll in Cleveland, which included Irish artists like U2 and Van Morrison.

We passed the test.

Click photo to enlarge

WMMS music – over 30 years ago!

Posted in Buzzard, Buzzard Media, Buzzard Photos on January 31, 2010 by John Gorman

Here’s another recently discovered WMMS album chart – this one from November 7, 1979.

The Long Run was the last studio Eagles album the band recorded until Long Road Out of Eden 28 years later.

Led Zeppelin’s In Through the Outdoor was that band’s studio finale, unless you count their cobbled-together outtakes album, Coda, which was released three-years later.

Neil Young was enjoying a major resurgence and recognition for Rust Never Sleeps, an album whose title was provided by two member of the band Devo. They had originally created the slogan for Rust-oleum while working at an Akron ad agency.

Bob Dylan surprised his fans when he converted to Christianity and released an album of original secular songs.

Pat Benatar’s first solo album, In the Heat of the Night, had a prime Cleveland connection with Parma, Ohio native Neil Geraldo’s professional and personal relationship with the artist.

That particular week we began playing a song called “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles, which ended up a Cleveland-only hit – until MTV revived it two years later as their opening and signature tune.

Click on the charts to enlarge

Walls of the Buzzard!

Posted in Buzzard, Buzzard Media, Buzzard Photos on January 17, 2010 by John Gorman

L to R: Matt the Cat, Betty Korvan, Joel Frensdorf (WMMS sales), John Gorman, Debbie Ullman, Jeff Kinzbach, Denny Sanders, Kid Leo, Bob Zurich (RCA Records)

In 1974, when our WMMS promotion budget consisted only of our wit and ingenuity, we searched for every opportunity to make our proposed Buzzard logo visible (it had not been officially sanctioned by Malrite corporate at that time).

Our best shot at visibility came from a deal we cut with Shelly Tirk, owner of the Music Grotto record store on Euclid Avenue, across the street from Cleveland State University. He allowed us to add a huge Buzzard on the side of his building.  The record labels took turns in leasing the Music Grotto’s west-facing side wall to paint building-size reproductions of current album covers.  Because WMMS was the only station regularly programming their product – and since we had no promotion budget to speak of, I proposed that the labels pay for the Buzzard art as well.

The deal provided our Buzzard, perched on a mushroom, a permanent roosting place, and gave WMMS its first billboard – a prominent one.

Years later, we continued our search for buildings we could paint our Buzzard logo on.   For a few years, we had the back of a building Triskett, which faced the then-newly completed I-90.

When Cleveland State University expansion caused the urban removal of Music Grotto, we located a new site for a downtown/Cleveland State wall – on the side of a three-story building next to the Holiday Inn on Euclid and East 21st.

Buzzards and a Byrd

Posted in Buzzard, Buzzard Media, Buzzard Photos on January 13, 2010 by John Gorman

L to R: Matt the Cat, Jeff Kinzbach, Denny Sanders, Murray Saul, John Gorman, Roger McGuinn, Annette Salvatore (programming asst.), Charlie Kendall

I was a fan Roger McGuinn’s music and managed to see every incarnation of the Byrds (except for the original five – with Gene Clark) from the mid-sixties through the early seventies.   One of the advantages of working at a rock and roll station was getting to meet most of the artists that helped shape our musical tastes.   The final incarnation of the Byrds had broken up prior to my joining WMMS – but Roger McGuinn, now performing as a solo artist, was a frequent visitor to the station.   This photo in the parking lot of our 50th & Euclid building, was taken during a station visit and guest on-air performance from sometime in mid-1975.
While there, I asked him if he ever considered collaborating with Bob Dylan, whose music the Byrds often covered through the years.   He replied something about “Dylan being Dylan” and that he’d been in the business long enough to know that anything was possible.   A few months later, Roger McGuinn did reunite with Bob Dylan – as part of an all-star touring cast, which included a diverse collection of musicians from guitarist Mick Ronson to folk singer Ramblin’ Jack Elliot for his 1975-1976 Rolling Thunder Revue tour.


The Home of the Buzzard meets the House that Hefner built

Posted in Buzzard, Buzzard Media, Buzzard Photos on January 4, 2010 by John Gorman

Long before sexting and amateur porn, there was Playboy magazine.  Given that our male demographics matched Playboy’s, we had a solid rapport with the house that Hefner built.

On one instance, we co-sponsored – with Playboy – a special “Girls of Cleveland” photo spread in their August, 1978 issue – using WMMS as the mail and drop-off point for interested participants.  Tough as it was, we agreed to assist in judging.   And we had thousands of entries from interested women from Greater Cleveland submitting sample photos.

When Playboy approached us on the promotion, we asked for a 24 hour window to confirm our co-sponsorship. The following morning Jeff Kinzbach and Ed “Flash” Ferenc opened the phone lines and asked our listeners – particularly women – if they would be offended by WMMS participation in the “Girls of Cleveland” promotion.  The vast majority of callers – over 90 percent – found no problem with it.

When the seven finalists were selected for the “Girls of Cleveland” spread – Jeff Kinzbach drew the lucky straw and accompanied them to dinner.

One of the winners was Nina Blackwood (second from right in photo). She parlayed her Buzzard brush with fame by moving to Los Angeles to study acting at the Lee Stasberg Institute. That led to a few bit parts in TV and film -  and being chosen as one of the original MTV VJs the same year.

Playboy also picked one of our Buzzard jerseys as T-shirt of the month in their June, 1980 issue.

Click photos to enlarge

The WMMS John Cougar Mellencamp Coffee Break Concert

Posted in Buzzard, Buzzard Media, Buzzard Photos, Buzzard Video on December 18, 2009 by John Gorman

Backstage at the Agora following John Mellencamp's Coffee Break Concert. L to R: Matt the Cat, John Gorman, Jim Marchyshyn, Kid Leo, John Mellencamp, Dia Stein

Never give up.

It started with a dinner, months earlier, either sometime 1983 or early 1984 at a restaurant in the Marriott Airport hotel on W 130th, where John Mellencamp was staying.   It could have coincided with a tour date or a promotional appearance.

John Mellencamp, a few of us from the station (Can’t remember who was there. My guess is Kid Leo and Jim Marchyshyn for starters),  a label rep and either his manager or road manager, were discussing artists with songs that sound equally good when performed acoustic or electric.   That conversation led to a discussion about the history of our Coffee Break Concerts – and how they started as acoustic studio affairs and evolved into a weekly afternoon live performance.   Somewhere in that conversation a pitch was made to John and his band to do a Coffee Break Concert show and broadcast.

It was a long shot.  John had been performing for a decade.  He started out playing clubs in Indiana over a decade earlier and was now able to sell out major venues, including the Richfield Coliseum.

We played John’s first album, Chestnut Street Incident in 1976, which was released under the name “Johnny Cougar” – against his better judgement by his mangaer, Tony DeFries, who was best known as David Bowie’s manager during his Ziggy Stardust period.  Though we gave it a fair shot, it didn’t catch on with our listeners. It was also around that time that music director Shelley Stile went to Bloomfield, Ind. to see John in concert.  We also played his second album, The Kid Inside, in 1977, but that album failed to ignite as well.

In early 1978, his third album (as “Johnny Cougar”), A Biography was not released in the U.S. Someone sent us an import copy, and we played the track “I Need A Lover” a few times – but it was up against some stiff domestic-release competition that year – and our listeners were anticipating the long-awaited, long-delayed (due to legal issues) release of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run follow-up album, Darkness at the Edge of Town.

1978 was also our tenth anniversary, which was packed with concerts and special events – and it was also a year filled with superstar album releases – and break-out artists like Meatloaf, Eddie Money, The Cars, Dire Straits, Van Halen, and Bob Welch as a solo artist.

But in 1979, MCA records released the self-titled John Cougar album, which included the “I Need A Lover” track from the import.  We started playing it again and this time it took off becoming one of our most-requested tracks – though it was the only track on the album to catch on.

The following year, John released It Doesn’t Matter and What if it Did – and the tracks “Ain’t Even Done with the Night” and “This Time” became top-requested tracks.

In 1982, when American Fool was released, Cougar went straight to number one on the strength of two tracks – “Hurt So Good” and “Jack and Diane.” It also helped that their radio airplay was augmented by their music videos picking up heavy spins on a new cable channel called MTV. A few weeks after hitting number one in Cleveland sales – it did the same nationally.

In late 1983, when Uh-Huh was released, John went from being an established artist to superstar.  That was also the year he added his real surname, Mellencamp.

It took a few months of heavy lobbying – but John finally agreed to do a Coffee Break Concert - but instead of doing it will a full band – he asked to do it as an acoustic performance – a throwback to the original version of the show.   We agreed to a one-time only broadcast, which was stipulated in the contract – nor were we to play any excerpted songs from the performance, which we often did with our other live broadcasts.

The opportunity of having John Cougar Mellencamp do a special Coffee Break Concert was a major coup for us.   He was now one of the biggest names in rock and roll.  For crowd control purposes, we gave away tickets for his Coffee Break Concert in advance of the show.

John took the stage at the Agora at 1 PM on Wednesday, August 25th and performed a 20-song acoustic set, which included a number of cover tunes, including the Beach Boys’ “Little Honda,” Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower,” Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz,” John Prine’s “Sam Stone,” the Vogues’ “Five O’Clock World,” the Stones’ “Street Fighting Man,” and Elliot Murphy’s “Last of the Rock Stars.”

The show was one of our finest and proudest moments.

The concert broadcast has turned up on occasion at various Bit Torrent and bootleg trading sites.  There are also a couple of bootleg CDs of the show.  One can only hope that this concert sees a legitimate release in the near future.

Photo courtesy of Jim Marchyshyn.  A few interesting notes about this photo.  When it was first shown, the question was whose clothes were worse?  My shirt or Leo’s pants.  Related to that, a few months earlier I had kicked up my 3-½ packs a day cigarette habit – and gained a ton of weight.   Today, John Mellencamp’s 14-year-old son has a Facebook group campaign to help his father kick the habit.   He says, “I made a deal with my dad that if I get 1,000,000 to join this group he will quit smoking.”   If you’re a Facebook user – find his page, sign up, and help John Mellencamp ditch the smokes.

No video was made of John Mellencamp’s Coffee Break Concert but here’s one featuring John with Johnny Cash from the Concert Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in September, 1995.

For more on the Coffee Break Concerts turn to Chapter 16 in The Buzzard

WMMS TV simulcasts

Posted in Buzzard, Buzzard Audio, Buzzard Media, Buzzard Photos, Buzzard Video on December 13, 2009 by John Gorman

Here are a couple of David Helton ads promoting our stereo simulcasts.

Back in the seventies and much of the eighties, television audio was delivered in monaural sound.

We knew technology would eventually change that – but until then we took full advantage of providing the stereo soundtrack to musically-oriented television shows.

We did a number of network – and even early cable and pay-TV (remember Preview?) – stereo simulcasts.  It was a boon for us since television, which had a much larger audience than radio, would run a crawl on the screen inviting viewers turn to WMMS’s 100.7 frequency to hear the audio in stereo.

Locally, we also did a series of Live at the Agora concerts with WJW-TV, featuring artists from WMMS Nights Out at the club.

Note the hemostat, joints, and talon styled sneakers in the first ad and the two slightly hidden joints in the second.

Here’s Todd Rundgren from a Live at the Agora TV show.

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