Matt the Cat video aircheck from September, 1985
Matt the Cat joined WMMS, initially as a part-time weekend and fill-in announcer 36 years ago this week – on April 21, to be exact. It was a one-day belated birthday present.
Born in Belgium, he’d immigrated with his family to the U.S. in the 1950’s, stopping first in Massachusetts and then settling in Greater Cleveland, when his father accepted a position at the Immaculate Heart of St. Mary Church in Cleveland as a church organist.
Matt was destined to be in radio. He and a friend ran a pirate radio station, which ran a top 40 format and became the unofficial voice of Chanel High School. It had a fairly powerful signal and often changed frequencies to confuse the FCC. Listeners were notified in advance when the frequency changed. A Cleveland radio engineer heard the station and notified the FCC, which shut the station down but did not prosecute.
Matt was truly Cleveland radio’s master of middays – “at-work listening” in radio jargon – an essential but difficult time period for any one radio station to dominate – but he owned it for well over a decade. He was Arbitron-rated number one overall and number one in all demographics under 40 equally with both men and women. He also had the leading continuous daily time spent listening of all radio stations in Cleveland in middays – and was just as dominant in his long-time Saturday, 12 noon to 6 PM shift.
He also hosted the Coffee Break Concerts, which during its live remote broadcast years at the Agora would require him to leave the station – make a bee-line to the club host the program and return to the station for the final hour of his show.
This is a brief video segment was shot by Art Vuolo, “Radio’s Best Friend,” for his “Video Air-chex” series in September, 1985. at the newly-remodeled WMMS studios at the Statler Office Tower in Cleveland.
More on Matt the Cat – including how he got that name in Chapter 1 and other chapters of The Buzzard.