How the Rock Hall was won.


Though it’s extensively covered in Chapter 29 in The Buzzard as well as here, and what started the campaign in the first place, here, a friend recently found a piece from a May 9,  1986 issue of Radio & Records, which announced Cleveland winning (contingent upon raising $20 million from the public and private sector) the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Anyone living in Cleveland at that time remembers how the entire region was galvanized to bring the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to this city.

What made the campaign successful was that it was presented to both the government and the citizens of Greater Cleveland simultaneously.

Had we presented it to only one or the other, the Rock Hall campaign would’ve been buried alive by the political morass that habitually beats new proposals to death in this region before they’re even formally introduced. Page through Tech Czar Michael DeAloia’s Cool History of Cleveland for specifics.

It gave our regional constituency the voice to make their opinions known to elected officials that this was a project that Cleveland had to fulfill.

Cleveland was the most competitive radio market in America in the 70s and 80s – much of it having to do with a limited number of advertising dollars.   The television market was always undervalued – and stations charged far less than they should have for advertising.  This, in turn, devalued radio advertising.  To win the Rock Hall everyone radio station – no matter how deep the hatred – had to bury the hatchet and work collectively to bringing it here.

At the time of this announcement, the proposed site for the Rock Hall was to be part of the Tower City complex, along with a Neiman-Marcus department store.


With only a minor skirmish here and there, local radio was unified in bringing the Rock Hall to Cleveland.

This piece from Radio & Records shows how the project was covered nationally to the radio and record industry.

r&r rockhall 1

r&r rock hall 2_0001

BUZZARD BOOK COVER SMALLClick multiple times to enlarge to a readable size.

For more on the how the Rock Hall was won see Chapter 24 in The Buzzard

One Response to “How the Rock Hall was won.”

  1. […] of everyman’s mind’s eye.  (Note: Below embodies WMMS. And I still remember their efforts at rallying the city to give Cleveland the Hall of Fame nod.  That said, the Rock Hall in an […]

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