Brian Chalmers 1955 – 2009


with Sheryl Crow

with Sheryl Crow


with Nancy Wilson of Heart

with Nancy Wilson of Heart


We are shocked and saddened to learn of Brian Chalmers’ passing.  He was a sensitive, creative, talented artist and designer.   Brian was a fine friend and colleague.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

WMMS was owned by Malrite Communications.  It was a company that encouraged creativity and originality.  The success of WMMS in Cleveland influenced other stations in our chain to be innovative.  As the company grew, it acquired more properties and our Buzzard artist David Helton took on additional responsibilities, which included redesigning or creating new logos for several Malrite properties – including Z-100/New York.

To do so, David had to find his day-to-day heir at WMMS. His first and only choice was Brian Chalmers, whose work we were familiar with from Scene magazine.

Brian graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 1975 and joined Scene as an illustrator.

Brian worked with WMMS for well over a decade – through five ownership changes.   When OmniAmerica purchased WMMS along with WMJI and WHK in 1994, Brian handled the creative for all three stations – as well as designing art for the Buzzardfest series at Blossom Music Center. He was also the chief photographer for the three stations. When Clear Channel purchased WMMS and WMJI, it was just as clear that his creative contributions would no longer be recognized and valued.

Providentially, Brian was permitted to do free-lance while at OmniAmerica and created art for Belkin Productions, Blossom Music Center, Cleveland Magazine, the Tri-C Jazz Fest, Case

David Helton and Brian Chalmers

David Helton and Brian Chalmers

Western, and the Cleveland Convention and Visitors Bureau, just to name a few.

4475_1150231004061_1476207953_30368792_2531909_nHe also got a call from Dreamworks, Steven Spielberg’s film company, to assist in providing logos and artwork for the Cleveland scenes in the Cameron Crowe-directed movie, Almost Famous.

Following his escape from Clear Channel, Brian joined WKYC-TV/Cleveland where he developed graphic design for ten years.

I’m leaving a lot out.  Let me close my saying Brian lived a rich and full life and his contributions to the local music and media scene were beyond measure.


Brian Chalmers was one of the most creative individuals I have ever known and had the talent, insight and sensitivity of a true artist. His passion for doing great work will forever be an inspiration to me. He was my friend and I loved him like a brother, and I will miss him.


Scene Magazine did a thoughful piece on Brian – click here.

42 Responses to “Brian Chalmers 1955 – 2009”

  1. […] Check out more from legendary Buzzard programmer John Gorman here. […]

    • Snake Rock Says:

      I am deeply saddened at this horrible news. Brian was a VERY dear friend to me when my band was beaqking early ground in Cleveland. I am devastated. Snake Rock

    • Colleen Ventura Says:

      Thanks for writing a beautiful article of your memories of my Uncle Brian. Due to the overwhelming response of his passing the funeral home has to move the service to a larger facility. If you could help pass the word. Brian Chalmers’s memorial service is now going to be at North Royalton Christian Church 5100 Royalton Road, North Royalton OH 44133. Saturday June 27 from 10 am-1pm. Call the church number for any details 1-440-237-4531.
      Brian’s niece ~Colleen

  2. I’ll miss you Brian.

  3. Pam Barker Says:

    Brian was truely one of my dearest friends. He would add that comic relief to your day. He also created on paper so many historic memories for all of us. My family and I will miss him deeply and cherish the wonderful time that we had.

  4. Bill Alford Says:

    To my dear friend. We meet so many people in the course of our lives, but very few are memorable and make an impression. Brian, you were one of those people. Loved and admired by all, you were one of those people who made a lasting impression in the lives of others. You were one of the kindest, most considerate and talented people I’ve ever had the privilege to know. Your passing will leave a hole in the hearts of many people, myself included. I hope you are somewhere where you can feel the love of all your friends and family and what we are feeling right now. We will all miss you, but the memories of you and the times we all spent together will live on. You will always be here with us as long as we remember. Good journey to you Brian. You will always be my friend.

  5. Susanne Mayer Says:

    To my best friend I have known over 30 years. Brian, you were so special to my daughter and I. You always made me laugh through good and bad times. In life, when you meet such a special person as Brian, you are blessed. I wish you peace and God’s Blessings. I know you are in a better place. You will always be in my heart and my best friend. With all my love, Susanne

  6. Daffy Dan Gray Says:

    Brain was a great friend and a prolific contributor to Daffy Dan’s. He was a natural, creative and talented. Brian was a caring a compassionate person, always a smile and easy to make laugh. He will be missed my friend.

  7. Chris Bik Says:

    A true friend since junior high. No matter what, he was always there with a kind word, great advice, and a crazy joke or impression. I will miss him so much and know my life will not be the same without him in it. My thoughts and prayers are with you my friend, and with your family. Hopefully the pain you felt is gone. Say a joke for all of us and I know that once the grief subsides I will once again be able to smile when I think of our times together. Your friend, Chris.

    P.S. I will always wish you called me back!

  8. Tom Giulivo Says:

    I will always remember the laughs and good times we shared. From the Statler Office Gang get togethers, the B.B.B. & T. nights out and all of the times we sat, talked and laughed. I will miss you my friend.

  9. Nancy and Tedesco family Says:

    You will be so missed by our whole family. This year would have been the 14th Tedesco Reunion where we watch you climb up on the roof to take our family photos… OH… it will be so sad this year. You are a part of our family and will always be. We will miss your smile, jokes and especially your kind heart….We wish you peace my friend and we will see you again. May God hold you, bless you and keep you safe.
    Nancy and Tedesco family

  10. tom beres Says:

    I worked with Brian during his stint at Channel 3.
    He was great at figuring out a way to design easy- to- understand graphics to illustrate complex topics issues.
    He had pride in his work, was a great team player, could deliver under pressure and made our stories much better.
    We missed him when he had to leave Channel 3 and are saddened by his passing…
    Sincerely, Tom Beres

    • Colleen Ventura Says:

      Thanks for your kind words. I’m not sure if you can let Channel 3 know of my uncle’s memorial service and if they can broadcast where the service will be held but there have been some changes and if you can help pass the word it word be greatly appreciated. Due to the overwhelming response of his passing the funeral home has to move the service to a larger facility. Brian Chalmers’s memorial service is now going to be at North Royalton Christian Church 5100 Royalton Road, North Royalton OH 44133. Saturday June 27 from 10 am-1pm. Call the church number for any details 1-440-237-4531.

  11. News of your passing hurts. After all the years that have passed, we meet again on Ebay of all things. Your memory will remain with me forever. Godspeed Dear Friend. You will be greatly missed.

  12. Lisa Bik Says:

    I am sure wherever you are, you are making them laugh.
    Peace my friend.

  13. Colleen Ventura Says:

    Uncle Brian
    I wish it wasn’t true but I know you are with God, resting and in peace. The best uncle I ever had! Always playing around with me and my brother, scaring us at Halloween with your goofy masks, taking us to the marvel comic movies, going out to eat, taking photos of all of us, including my wedding (which is something I will treasure for life), and always at all our parties. I will miss your hugs and slapstick comedy moments. I always thought you were so cool since you met all these celebrities, took pictures at rock concerts, and drew the buzzard. You still are cool :o) I love my uncle and will forever miss him.

  14. Randi S Says:

    BC —
    I wish you could have hung around longer.
    You had so many more photos to take, and websites to design, people to meet and places to go.
    More overseas adventures, and Las Vegas dinner shows, Chicago concerts and trips to Big Fun.
    I can’t believe I won’t talk to you soon. (Or listen to you soon.)
    We’ll always have the New York Spaghetti House.
    Love, RS

  15. Brian…. the sense of loss is so deep, you will never be gone from my heart… I have the many memories, laughs, and tears we shared. How do you say goodbye to someone who was so much a part of your life…
    I’M thinking….
    God needed an artist to do sunsets…
    Love you my brother…..

  16. Brian was a joyful and humble artist.
    May God’s perpetual light shine upon you.

    My deepest sympathy, JQ

  17. tina wells Says:

    brian- i am so saddened to know that you left us so soon. i was looking forward to seeing you this week and was shocked to hear how suddenly that isn’t possible. i will always be so fond of our friendship, i still laugh out loud at memories of the statler office tower gang, rock and roll toasters, and the special song written for me “havin’ my baby.” i know there is a rock and roll heaven. love you much.

  18. jim kegelmyer Says:

    Brian’s news graphic design and animation helped to shape WKYC’s on-air look for many years. He was an excellent designer and a great friend! And everyone at Channel 3 knows what a beautiful person he was! We all miss you.
    Take Care, BC
    jim keg

    • Colleen Ventura Says:

      If you are able to pass the word of my uncle’s memorial service and possibly even help to broadcast it on Channel 3 there have been some changes. Due to the overwhelming response of his passing the funeral home has to move the service to a larger facility. If you could help pass the word. Brian Chalmers’s memorial service is now going to be at North Royalton Christian Church 5100 Royalton Road, North Royalton OH 44133. Saturday June 27 from 10 am-1pm. Call the church number for any details 1-440-237-4531.
      Thank you
      Brian’s niece~Colleen

      • jim kegelmyer Says:

        Hi Colleen,
        First of all. You and Brian’s family are in our prayers.
        I’ll let everyone here know at TV3.

        jim keg-



  19. Brian Fenderbosch Says:

    I’m proud to have called Brian a friend for more than 30 years now. I have many, many fond memories of BC, from the days of the “three Brian’s” at Scene, to our house painting party, BBB&T get-togethers, and wings and cold ones at Cleats just a few months back. Brian is truly one of the most talented, passionate, generous, sincere, and goofy people I’ve had the privilege of knowing, and my life has been enriched because of it. I will miss him very much.

    Thanks and Godspeed, BC. May you find the peace you’ve been seeking.


  20. Patrick Mitchell Says:

    Hey John…not sure if you remember me, I worked with Brian in the promotions department during the Heidi, Withe & Tina days. In any regard, Brian has been a great friend even after those years were but a distant memory. He always cared about The Buzzard and was a steward to the legacy. I appreciate you putting this together and honoring his work. It’s also great to see that you are keeping the history of WMMS alive…it was a great radio station and I consider myself lucky to have had my 3 years at the greatest station Cleveland had ever known. Thanks John.


  21. Kathy Tolchinsky Says:

    There are many people who become a legend in their own mind. There are other that become a legend in the mind of others. That’s Brian. It’s been so many years since my days at the stations but in some ways it is like yesterday. Peace be with you Brian.
    Kathy Tolchinsky

  22. Kim Fatica Says:

    Thoughtful, kind, peaceful, talented…

    Words could never fully blanket the greatness of Brian’s personality or soul. Those of us who worked with him at WKYC, WMMS and other places all know what a blessing it was to have him as a colleague and friend.

    May your memory be eternal, Brian. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  23. Hugh McPherson Says:

    Brian was one of the nicest and most creative guys I ever worked with in my career. I only worked with him for a short time, however, he made a lasting impression on me. We will certainly miss you Brian!

  24. Masina Santangelo Says:

    My friend,
    I wish I burned more garlic bread so that we could keep on laughing.
    I wish I could argue and laugh about your looooooooong resume.
    I wish I could still receive your Christmas card on New Year’s Eve.
    I wish I could e-mail you from Italy to let you know how my day went.
    I wish I could show off the “interestng” gift you gave me for my birthay.


    Much happiness and peace be with you forever.

  25. Laura Ciarniello Casal Says:

    Brian went to the Art Institute with my brother, Tom. I spent many weekends in Pittsburgh with Tom, Brian, Mike, & Rick. Those were happy days. Over the years my brother & Brian talked, always leaving Tom feeling warm and connected to a marvelous time in his life. Brian was a joy to our family. When I think of him, I feel art, humor, and a gentle sense of the world. In times such as these, I need to believe in a heaven where Brian will be greeted with open arms ~ a place where he will have wings and no limits.

  26. Wally Gunn Says:

    We were shocked when Peanuts called letting us know he had passed away.

    Brian sent me some Small Faces/Steve Marriott pages from a book he contributed to with his photos, taken while working for WMMS. Now and then he would call and turn me on to a job lead, that he thought I qualified for. He was always thinking about his friend’s well being.

    I last spoke to him when The Dukes of WIndsor, played at Wexler’s. He lived near there and he really liked our song list, which included a song by The Small Faces and lots of early Stones material. Some of his favorite music.

    He was a great guy! I really enjoyed our music and art discussions. He will be missed and I am grateful that I knew him personally.

    Wally Gunn

  27. Joe Molnar Says:

    WOW! I am truly stunned at Brian’s passing. I too, hope he has found the peace he was looking for.

    I had the honor, the privllege, and a ton of fun working on projects with Brian. My fondest memories of BC have to be when I worked on the Buzzard calendars, and Brian was alway always gracious to give me credit. Credit for being an adult having fun coloring Brian’s illustrations under his “Award-Winning” direction! It got to the point where I could almost visualize what Brian was thinking. He would sketch a few ideas, ink in a final drawing, then I’d get to have the pleasure of playing in one of Brian’s coloring books. I’m a lucky man to have been able to work with him like I did.

    I am so numb right now. I don’t understand how or why anyone can decide to quit early, leave so much unfinished, and leave so many friends behind to wonder why. My wife and I reached out to him a few weeks ago and tried to get him some help with his ailing mother, who he’d been taking care of. He was quite distant and obviously down at that point, but I never thought that was the last time I’d hear from him, at least in this life.

    Brian, I’m going to miss you tremendously. I’m going to miss those overstuffed 9 x 12 envelopes full of articles, memorabilia, references to work we did together, and your latest creations. I’m going to miss the phone calls and emails. But I have the memories… the memories of the hours spent perfecting those calendars, memories of crazy hours working on The Buzzard Bone, memories of going to Nashville together, memories of many other projects, memories that I know I’m more fortunate than most to have.

    Thank you BC…

    You WILL be MISSED!


  28. Colleen Ventura Says:

    ATTENTION: I noticed the change of hours has not been posted. Visitation hours are from 11am-1pm and the memorial service from 1pm-2pm. Please make note and pass the word!
    Brian’s niece, Colleen

  29. I can’t even put into words the great loss that has occurred with Brian’s passing and how he will be missed by all of us. I too was one of the Statler Gang and it is where Brian came into my life. His willingness to help, his dry wit and his extremely funny Christmas cards touch me deeply. He was one of those guys that probably didn’t have an enemy in the world. Anyone who ever had the pleasure to meet him bonded to him immediately. I just hope Brian gets his email in heaven. He would have enjoyed this tribute to him. We should all be so blessed.

  30. As the recipient of the best rock-n-roll toasters ever, I feel so lucky to have known and laughed with Brian and the Statler Office Tower Gang. Although I haven’t been in touch with the Gang in many years, there is a very special place in my heart where those memories live. Brian always made me laugh, he was such a naturally funny and kind person.

    May you find the peace you were looking for my friend.

  31. Warren Kuhfeld, friend to brian posed a question on the Addicted To Vinyl blog:

    Could anyone draw and distribute at the memorial or via computer a buzzard with a tear? What a fitting way to remember a great friend, and a wonderful talent.

    I second that! Can WMMS do that?

  32. Danielle Fink Says:

    I’m stunned and saddened by Brian’s passing. It was a pleasure and honor working with him at Channel 3. In the new building he’d have to walk by the news desk each and every day and always said hello, had a kind word, and would ask how I was doing. One of the most creative individuals I’ve ever met or worked with….I’m most impressed with his unassuming, gentle ways. Never tooted his own horn or boasted about his stellar accomplishments, yet if anyone had the right to do so, it was Brian! We sure did love listening to his great stories! It’s certainly not goodbye but until we meet again. We are praying for his family and friends during this very difficult time.

  33. Aline Dudash Says:

    I met and worked with BC nearly 30 years ago at Scene Magazine (to reference B. Fenderbosch – during the time of the 3-Brians). He was Art Director and I was fresh out of high school. Brian taught me so many things, not just about the art and working at Scene, but about life. Things that, through our many long talks and visits would stay with me throughout my life. In ’83 I moved to Dallas, TX and Brian mailed me a package with the latest “Buzzard” stuff he was working on. I had always been a fan of MMS and I guess he figured I would appreciate it – which I truly did. I remember telling so many of my friends in Texas about Brian and his talent. After that we kept in touch spradically but then I lost touch with him. Memories of our days working together will always live on. He was a good friend and a kind, talented, passionate, genuinely funny and sensitive human being. Passionate not only about his art, but just about any subject under the sun. Brian, even though we haven’t talked in years, your leaving this world has saddened me deeply because I know what a bright place it was while you were in it. Now there is one less light. One less gentle soul. May your soul be at peace.

  34. I just found out today!

    I can’t believe it!

    I can’t say as I am taking the news very well. Brian and I were pretty close friends and met for regular lunches at Denny’s off of Rockside Rd for years after working together at WMMS.

    Brian and I had a brain storm together one night while he was visiting me while I was on the air. I had a great idea that he made come alive with his great art work and that is the 2000 Buzzard Poster that you see in Deanna R Adams book “Rock N Roll and the Cleveland connection.” I still have the original art work from that award winning poster which is slightly different than the final version. I had the idea of “We’re taking this town!” Meaning WMMS in the rating wars since Brian and I were on the front lines together then. It was a mean Buzzard look concept!

    We kept in touch after I was the first to get the Ax from Clear Channel in 1999, but that is OK , if ones long broadcasting career is going to end, what better way to go than being sacrificed at the “ALAMO” of heritage rock stations The BUZZARD – WMMS 100.7 FM !!

    Brian soon thereafter moved on to the TV station to do art work and related work. I want to say he always had a good heart-ed crush on Maria at WMMS , whom I referred to as Maria Warrior Princess. What a wonderful person and dedicated broadcaster.

    Brian thought you were cool as hell Maria and I just thought I would mention it. He also thought I was cool as hell and that is why we were such good friends.

    But, I have to admit, I am not feeling so “Cool as Hell” right now just finding out about the news.

    I Lost my best friend in April of 2009 and that was my dog Bubba who was never more than six feet away from me for a decade. I took it pretty hard and shared some e-mails with Brian and he had informed me about his mother and he seemed pretty upset about what happened to his mom I thought. I guess I just didn’t get it. I never knew Brian to be depressed.
    I explained to him how my mom broke her hip and it completely changed my life, but in late May of 2009 I got real ill myself and somehow got a staff infection in my leg and it was touch and go for myself. I was never so sick in my life. I lost touch with Brian and only found out while tracking back internet searches to my book website, which led to me coming upon the Scene article.

    One of my biggest thrills in broadcasting was meeting John Gorman in December of 2007 – and one of the best friendships I ever had in broadcasting (at work and outside of work) was with Brian Chalmers – it is a pretty cool deal they both spent some quality time together doing what they both do best. Quite frankly, I truly feel like I was a part of something truly great at WMMS, and I survived to “Tell” about it.

    Thanks John for letting me speak my peace. I still can’t believe it, and I have to wonder if I would have gotten back a hold of Brian if I could have made a difference. Nobody I know has had more of train wreck of a career as a result of deregulation than myself. That has to be enough to cheer anybody up that has gone through tough times in the business.

    Brian it is your turn to buy. I guess I know where we will be meeting for lunch next. However, I would just as soon have lunch at our usual place at Denny’s while you are on your lunch break from the TV station.

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