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 is also fluent in the Polish language and once conducted a brief portion of an on-air interview with Polish jazz musician and composer Michal Urbaniak in that language. 

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.

New book review from Small Press Reviews here

2 Responses to “Matt the Cat video aircheck from September, 1985”

  1. Matt’s fluency in the Polish language is rather impressive — I’m fortunate if I’m able to get my thoughts across in English.

    After viewing Art Vuolo’s video montage of Matt the Catt and thinking about it, Matt had the perfect midday voice and on-air delivery: It was friendly and calm, but not too laid back. Matt was the the perfect guy to get you through the middle of the day in a steady, not too hyped-up, not too mellow manner. Then came Kid Leo too get folk’s engines a bit more revved-up for the work day home stretch. Didn’t think about it at the time, but yeah, Matt definitely got you through the daily slog.

  2. Piper Vongphrachahnh Says:

    I am in love with Matt The Cat

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