WMMS, WEWS, 16 Magazine, Gene Simmons and KISS
16 Magazine’s demographic (which was closer to 11, 12, and 13 year olds) wasn’t exactly the target audience of WMMS then – but it would be a few years from now. One of our internal slogans was “get ‘em young and train ‘em our way.” A 13 year old in 1979 would be 18 by 1985.
It was the musicial balancing act we played. A small number of our older, long-time listeners took offense to our relationship and airplay of KISS, claiming the band, with its simplistic lyrics and music and costumes were closer to bubblegum music than progressive rock. Our stance, as a popular culture station, was that “rock and roll” was a broad-based term that incorporated all styles of music from doo-wop and rockabilly to progressive rock – and that included everything in-between.
When asked about the difference and similarities between Cleveland audience and those in other cities during the WMMS interview, which was live – and never on delay, Simmons replied, “Cleveland girls have the same taste as New York girls.”
Cleveland-based and nationally known photographer Janet Macoska shot these photos for the April, 1979 issue of 16 Magazine.
Though the shots were done in late 1978, months before the magazine appeared on the stands, the intent was to provide exposure and generate interest in the forthcoming KISS album, Dynasty, which was scheduled for release shortly after this issue of 16 Magazine appeared on the newsstands.
Dynasty included KISS’s biggest hit single, “I Was Made for Loving You,” which recently resurfaced in a controversy over its similarity to Bruce Springsteen’s “Outlaw Pete” from his current album, Working On A Dream.
We also took advantage of Gene Simmons’ visit by pitching WEWS-TV’s Afternoon Exchange to feature a segment with Simmons visiting Tony Isabella’s Cosmic Comics at the Colonial Arcade in downtown Cleveland with Denny Sanders handling the interview. A video of that interview can be found here.
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