Almost anyone listening to WMMS in the 70s and 80s could effortlessly recall the names and day parts of our air staff. WMMS was not a “(fill-in-the-name)” in the morning, the best rock and roll all day” station. We were personality radio 24 hours a day.
Our achievements must be shared by our unsung heroes – a diligent, ingenious behind-the-scenes team that ensured we were was seen and heard – from the front office to the front lines.
Dan Garfinkel and Jim Marchyshyn managed the promotion and marketing of WMMS. Dan invented the position for radio in the early seventies and Jim took over in the eighties following a successful run of promoting shows for Belkin Productions.
Their objective – a modest proposal – was to make certain that every man, woman, and child in Greater Cleveland had at least one gross impression of the WMMS call letters and Buzzard every day.
Long before non-traditional revenue was a buzzword – WMMS was reaping profit on its merchandising campaign, which included the sale of everything from T-shirts and jerseys to roach clips, scarves, jeans, and posters. And we donated the profits to regional charities.
Bumper stickers were printed in the hundreds of thousands and distributed free. Costs were covered by couponing the backs of stickers.
At any event whether it be a concert to a pro sports game – WMMS and the Buzzard had displays that were loud, proud, and impossible to ignore. Dan and Jim made sure of it.
Then there was our audio processing. WMMS was the loudest, best processed, and most heard radio station anywhere – and we did so because of the two best chief engineers in the history of radio – Frank Foti and Steve Church.
Any station could over-modulate and jack-up its sound to pin the needle – but it comes with a cost of poorer audio processing, which creates listener fatigue – often in the form of a dull headache.
I was always on the crusade for WMMS to be the most pronounced station on the FM band. But what I was asking for couldn’t be done because the processing equipment hadn’t been invented yet. So Frank and Steve took it upon themselves to do it.
Frank bestowed an on-air presence that no other station could duplicate. When he moved to New York to do the same for Z-100, Steve Church took over the chief’s position and our audio processing continued to be years ahead of the competition. Steve also hosted a weekly talk-show on WMMS, Live Wire.
Today, Frank and Steve are the principals of Telos Systems, a company they founded in the mid eighties, and the world’s leading manufacturer and supplier of audio processing equipment.
More on Dan Garfinkel and Jim Marchyshyn’s WMMS adventures can be found in Chapters 11, 18, 23, 25, just to name a few, in The Buzzard.
More on Frank Foti and Steve Church’s audio adventures can be found in Chapters 12, 19, 28, just to name a few, in The Buzzard.