WMMS, WEWS, 16 Magazine, Gene Simmons and KISS

KISS 16-1KISS 16-1_0001

When we learned that 16 Magazine was planning to do a piece on KISS’s Gene Simmons visit to Cleveland, we made sure the coverage would include a visit to WMMS.

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.

Click on the pages to enlarge

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2 Responses to “WMMS, WEWS, 16 Magazine, Gene Simmons and KISS”

  1. Cleveland girls ‘DO’ or did have the same taste as NYC girls. Except we didn’t get the music. The whole punk/wave genre sort of slid on by,,,,if not for college radio and 92.3. Shiny Shiny! Now all those songs once hard to hear on the radio, they are playing on speakers at the grocery stores!

  2. Gotta love Gene. Check out my pics from last years amazing KISS show in Oakland. http://thespiralscratch.wordpress.com/gigs-2009/kiss/

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