Radio & Records 1981 on the WMMS Buzzard and other station mascots


WMMS wasn’t the first station to have a mascot.

WOLF_1961The earliest one I found was WOLF in Syracuse, NY back in 1961. Theirs was a…well, you know.

WMCA/New York launched the “good guys” in 1963 with a logo that was a precursor to the smiley face.   Other stations around the U.S. WMCA_1963picked up on calling their air talent “good guys” –  minus the logo.

WQAM_1965A few stations had tigers, including WQXI/Atlanta (1964) and WQAM/Miami (1965)

KYNO/Fresno had a kangaroo and KDWB/Minneapolis-St. Paul predictably had twins.KYNO_1963

It’s safe to say that no radio station ever had a mascot quite like the Buzzard. It can also be said that it could’ve only happened here (though over the years other stations began using buzzard mascots)  The WMMS Buzzard’s origin takes up a full KDWB_1962chapter in The Buzzard and there’s even more about its origin, its earliest days, and how we found artist David Helton after he found us – here.

The Buzzard made its initial appearance in a print ad a little over 35 years ago. Just one year after its debut, a group of Case Western Reserve sc03a176c5University MBA students did a market study, which proved that the WMMS Buzzard was the most identifiable logo in Greater Cleveland, even beating out the Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo and Coca-Cola (Cleveland is one of the few markets where Pepsi outsells Coke).

ShawmutOur initial plan for having a mascot for WMMS came from sports teams and – of all things – an Indian-head logo used by the former Shawmut Bank of Boston, which was that city’s most identifiable image.

Over the next few years, more stations – especially those playing album rock – implemented mascots.  You had a plethora of chickens, frogs, penguins, and bears. Unlike other stations, we did not want a “live mascot” – someone dressed up in a Buzzard costume.  Our philosophy was that all WMMS events should be hosted by our airstaff.

This is an article from the national trade magazine Radio & Records from sometime in 1981, which covered the then-emergent trend of radio station mascots.


Click article and images multiple times for a readable or viewable size.

3 Responses to “Radio & Records 1981 on the WMMS Buzzard and other station mascots”

  1. Dan Hirschfeld Says:

    With the luxury of hindsight it was obviously a great decision to never have gone with a live Buzzard-suited mascot. David Helton’s drawn character was THE Buzzard.

    Regarding the “Good Guys” identity mentioned in John’s piece, I believe WHK used that label for their on-air crew sometime around the mid sixties.

  2. Y107/Nashville, programmed by Marc Chase, who’s “Power Pig” (WFLZ/Tampa) was an interesting mascot. In Nashville he had “Tookie” as a mascot. Station had Bumper Morgan as the Prod Director/promo voice, and Ernie Anderson as the ID voice.

    Tribute site

  3. I recall WNAP-Indianapolis ID’ing themselves “The Wrath of the Buzzard” this had to be around 1973.

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