Soundwaves bounce back!

We didn’t have a marketing budget – period.   Existing promotional dollars were funneled to the promotion of WHK’s dreadful “cover hits” format.


In the fall of 1973 – hallelujah I got approval to run one quarter-page paid print ad – for the National Lampoon Radio Hour’s “Richard Nixon Impeachment Special.”  It ran in Scene’s December 26th issue, promoting the Sunday, December 29th show.  Since it was a throw-away holiday week issue, we got a low-ball rate for the ad.   The ad design came from National Lampoon.  We added the call letters and frequency to the slick using old Letraset sheets we found in a storeroom.

The Lampoon Hour featured a cast, which included Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, and Michael O’Donahue, and was the radio precursor to Saturday Night Live.

Around the same period we were pitched by a new alternative bi-weekly, Zeppelin, which guaranteed a full Scene-competitive distribution of the paper throughout Greater Cleveland.  Their debut issue was planned for the second week of January, 1974.   We worked out a trade deal – where we would run a number of radio spots in exchange for a full-page ad.  One problem.  We had to come up with the artwork and design.


I approached Walt Tiburski, who was sales manager of WMMS at the time, and whose sister Judy designed the “mushroom” logo.  We asked if she could handle artwork for a full-page ad in Zeppelin. 

Due to other commitments, she was unavailable.  Walt suggested Greg Souchik, a staff artist for the Tokyo-Shapiro audio chain.   I didn’t have the means to pay him – but worked out a deal where he’d do it for albums and concert tickets.  Denny Sanders and I designed a full-page ad with the headline YOUR TOWER OF POWER and I sketched-up stick-figure illustrations of a radio tower shooting out lightning bolts.   When we learned the slogan was copyrighted by a religious group, we came up with an alternate, SOUNDWAVES BOUNCE BACK.

I added notations for caricatures of the air staff to be placed in individual circles around the tower and provided Souchik with photos to work from.  

At that time our line up was:

6-10 AM – Debbie Ullman

10 AM – 2 PM – Len Goldberg

2 PM – 6 PM – David Spero

6 PM – 10 PM – Denny Sanders

10 PM – 2 AM – Steve Lushbaugh

2 AM – 6 AM – Kid Leo

Weekend shifts and vacation fill-in:  Matt the Cat

The end result – our first full-page – and pre-Buzzard print ad is here:


click to enlarge

More on the WMMS promotion and marketing history in Chapter 7 of The Buzzard

One Response to “Soundwaves bounce back!”

  1. […] reproduction of The Buzzard book cover.  Her companion in the photo is sporting a repro of the pre-Buzzard mushroom sticker. I received another photo of this couple […]

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