The Buzzard invades Parma!
I’ll be speaking and showing videos at the Parma South Branch Library at 7335 Ridge Road Tonight, June 8, at 7 PM. It’s north of the Ridge & Pleasant Valley intersection. I look forward to seeing you there.
As Cleveland served as a bellwether market for breaking new rock and roll for the rest of the country, Parma was one of our prime barometers for reception to new music and new artists we were playing.
The immediate response stores were Record Revolution on Coventry in Cleveland Heights, Melody Lane in Lakewood, and the Music Grotto, downtown. We monitored sales in those stores closely since their customers would be among the first to react to new and cutting edge music in the Greater Cleveland area.
The true litmus test – most likely to illustrate mainstream reception to a new album or artist came from Parma and Parma Heights retail outlets. Record Theater on West 130th in Parma Heights was, for all practical purposes, was our top suburban barometer store.
There were exceptions. A few acts, including Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes and the Sensational Alex Harvey Band sold like superstar acts in Cleveland but, for reasons unknown, never caught on beyond our signal range.
If an act failed to crossover in sales in Parma and Parma Heights, it was a nearly fool-proof indicator that it would not catch on with our listeners.
We also found that local groups that sold very well in Cleveland like the Michael Stanley Band, Love Affair, and American Noise were unable to duplicate their regional success elsewhere due to their management’s lack of savoir-faire in dealing with the national labels.
As the eighth largest city in Ohio at the time, Parma was crucial suburb for ratings – and I’m pleased to say that during the seventies and eighties WMMS dominated the region.
It’s al about the musical balance. Being cutting edge and mainstream at the same time. Success is popular culture is understanding where media influence ends and mass acceptanace begins. It’s easier said than done.
My Parma library appearance is my library tour finale. I will recommence my speaking engagements later this year. For my final appearance, I managed to dig up a few WMMS Buzzard collector’s item rarities from the seventies and eighties that I’ll be giving away in a “how well you know your Buzzard” trivia contest.