Cleveland hears a Who….exclusively on WMMS!

This past May, afThe_who_face_dances_albumter a 29-year run, Northern Ohio Live magazine folded.  It served as Greater Cleveland’s bi-weekly (and later monthly) arts and freeSubscripLogo-1cultural magazine.   It had been founded in 1980 by a group of area writers and investors.

In its April 6-19, 1981 issue, writer Scott L. Powers’ investigative report successfully traced the long strange journey of a WMMS exclusive, the Who’s Face Dances album.

I was a bit stunned to learn that someone was investigating the source of one of our exclusives.  Providentially, this exclusive originated from a pipeline that was not a prime source.

Having an exclusive album by the Who was nothing new for WMMS.  We had a string of Who album exclusives going back to 1974. This was hardly the first and it wouldn’t be last.

The origin of music exclusives came from the days of top 40 radio in the 1960s, when stations would scramble to be the first with a new single by the Beatles, the Beach Boys, or the Rolling Stones.  The winning station would milk it for all it was worth, building anticipation by tracking the progress of a record from the airport to the station, playing it with great fanfare, and grandly releasing it to other stations, which they’d claim were taping.  It was great radio.

Labels hated exclusives. They wanted airplay, which amounted to free advertising for their product, but they had elaborate marketing and sales campaigns worked out.  Advance exclusives muddled their plans and brought complaints from other stations wanting exclusives or favors of their own.

WHONOL81-1WHONOL81-2 WHONOL81-3Click on individual pages multiple times for your best readable size

For more on the Who exclusive click here

BUZZARD BOOK COVER SMALLFor more on the many WMMS Exclusives – including our secret weapon – The Switch – can be found in The Buzzard, Chapter 12.

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