Archive for the Buzzard Media Category

WMMS St. Patrick’s Day Parade float, 1986

Posted in Buzzard, Buzzard Media, Buzzard Photos on March 13, 2010 by John Gorman

Here’s our Buzzard float in the 1986 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Cleveland.

Other radio stations protested that there was “nothing Irish” about our Buzzard van, which appeared in previous year’s parades.

The parade organizers responded with a new rule – that all participants in the 1986 parade had to carry the theme of “Irish education.”

So David Helton designed a scholarly Irish Buzzard holding a shamrock in one wing and a diploma in the other for “The Rock & Roll History of Cleveland.”

As we explained to the organizers WMMS listeners were provided a continual educational experience into the history of rock & roll in Cleveland, which included Irish artists like U2 and Van Morrison.

We passed the test.

Click photo to enlarge

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WMMS music – over 30 years ago!

Posted in Buzzard, Buzzard Media, Buzzard Photos on January 31, 2010 by John Gorman

Here’s another recently discovered WMMS album chart – this one from November 7, 1979.

The Long Run was the last studio Eagles album the band recorded until Long Road Out of Eden 28 years later.

Led Zeppelin’s In Through the Outdoor was that band’s studio finale, unless you count their cobbled-together outtakes album, Coda, which was released three-years later.

Neil Young was enjoying a major resurgence and recognition for Rust Never Sleeps, an album whose title was provided by two member of the band Devo. They had originally created the slogan for Rust-oleum while working at an Akron ad agency.

Bob Dylan surprised his fans when he converted to Christianity and released an album of original secular songs.

Pat Benatar’s first solo album, In the Heat of the Night, had a prime Cleveland connection with Parma, Ohio native Neil Geraldo’s professional and personal relationship with the artist.

That particular week we began playing a song called “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles, which ended up a Cleveland-only hit – until MTV revived it two years later as their opening and signature tune.

Click on the charts to enlarge

Walls of the Buzzard!

Posted in Buzzard, Buzzard Media, Buzzard Photos on January 17, 2010 by John Gorman

L to R: Matt the Cat, Betty Korvan, Joel Frensdorf (WMMS sales), John Gorman, Debbie Ullman, Jeff Kinzbach, Denny Sanders, Kid Leo, Bob Zurich (RCA Records)

In 1974, when our WMMS promotion budget consisted only of our wit and ingenuity, we searched for every opportunity to make our proposed Buzzard logo visible (it had not been officially sanctioned by Malrite corporate at that time).

Our best shot at visibility came from a deal we cut with Shelly Tirk, owner of the Music Grotto record store on Euclid Avenue, across the street from Cleveland State University. He allowed us to add a huge Buzzard on the side of his building.  The record labels took turns in leasing the Music Grotto’s west-facing side wall to paint building-size reproductions of current album covers.  Because WMMS was the only station regularly programming their product – and since we had no promotion budget to speak of, I proposed that the labels pay for the Buzzard art as well.

The deal provided our Buzzard, perched on a mushroom, a permanent roosting place, and gave WMMS its first billboard – a prominent one.

Years later, we continued our search for buildings we could paint our Buzzard logo on.   For a few years, we had the back of a building Triskett, which faced the then-newly completed I-90.

When Cleveland State University expansion caused the urban removal of Music Grotto, we located a new site for a downtown/Cleveland State wall – on the side of a three-story building next to the Holiday Inn on Euclid and East 21st.

Buzzards and a Byrd

Posted in Buzzard, Buzzard Media, Buzzard Photos on January 13, 2010 by John Gorman

L to R: Matt the Cat, Jeff Kinzbach, Denny Sanders, Murray Saul, John Gorman, Roger McGuinn, Annette Salvatore (programming asst.), Charlie Kendall

I was a fan Roger McGuinn’s music and managed to see every incarnation of the Byrds (except for the original five – with Gene Clark) from the mid-sixties through the early seventies.   One of the advantages of working at a rock and roll station was getting to meet most of the artists that helped shape our musical tastes.   The final incarnation of the Byrds had broken up prior to my joining WMMS – but Roger McGuinn, now performing as a solo artist, was a frequent visitor to the station.   This photo in the parking lot of our 50th & Euclid building, was taken during a station visit and guest on-air performance from sometime in mid-1975.
While there, I asked him if he ever considered collaborating with Bob Dylan, whose music the Byrds often covered through the years.   He replied something about “Dylan being Dylan” and that he’d been in the business long enough to know that anything was possible.   A few months later, Roger McGuinn did reunite with Bob Dylan – as part of an all-star touring cast, which included a diverse collection of musicians from guitarist Mick Ronson to folk singer Ramblin’ Jack Elliot for his 1975-1976 Rolling Thunder Revue tour.


The Home of the Buzzard meets the House that Hefner built

Posted in Buzzard, Buzzard Media, Buzzard Photos on January 4, 2010 by John Gorman

Long before sexting and amateur porn, there was Playboy magazine.  Given that our male demographics matched Playboy’s, we had a solid rapport with the house that Hefner built.

On one instance, we co-sponsored – with Playboy – a special “Girls of Cleveland” photo spread in their August, 1978 issue – using WMMS as the mail and drop-off point for interested participants.  Tough as it was, we agreed to assist in judging.   And we had thousands of entries from interested women from Greater Cleveland submitting sample photos.

When Playboy approached us on the promotion, we asked for a 24 hour window to confirm our co-sponsorship. The following morning Jeff Kinzbach and Ed “Flash” Ferenc opened the phone lines and asked our listeners – particularly women – if they would be offended by WMMS participation in the “Girls of Cleveland” promotion.  The vast majority of callers – over 90 percent – found no problem with it.

When the seven finalists were selected for the “Girls of Cleveland” spread – Jeff Kinzbach drew the lucky straw and accompanied them to dinner.

One of the winners was Nina Blackwood (second from right in photo). She parlayed her Buzzard brush with fame by moving to Los Angeles to study acting at the Lee Stasberg Institute. That led to a few bit parts in TV and film –  and being chosen as one of the original MTV VJs the same year.

Playboy also picked one of our Buzzard jerseys as T-shirt of the month in their June, 1980 issue.

Click photos to enlarge

The First WMMS “End of the Decade” special – the Seventies!

Posted in Buzzard, Buzzard Audio, Buzzard Media on December 26, 2009 by John Gorman

A WMMS print ad by David Helton from early 1975

Since we’re commemorating the end of a tumultuous decade this week, it’s only fitting that we turn back the clock thirty years ago this week and present a review of an equally tumultuous decade – the seventies!

Though decades actually end on their tenth year, which end in 00, following World War II media began to review the prior ten years and observe the new decade a year earlier – so we did the same.

For weeks leading up to the end of 1979, the WMMS staff collected and compiled the music, the pop culture, and the newsworthy events of the seventies for a special presentation, which we ran at the end of the year.

Ed “Flash” Ferenc, Denny Sanders, Betty Korvan, and Al “The Bear” Koski provide the commentary.

Though the original masters of the 1979 decade review were lost, we owe special thanks to one of our WMMS listeners, who prefers to remain anonymous, for taping and saving the original broadcast.

The original special ran commercial-free for twelve hours on  Sunday, December 30, 1979.

Due to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we cannot feature the music played during the special.

Here it is for your downloading pleasure:

WMMS 1970s Decade special, tracks 1 -20 – click here.

WMMS 1970s Decade special, tracks 21-40 – click here.

WMMS 1970s Decade special, tracks 41-62 – click here.

WMMS 1970s Decade special, track 63 – click here.

The WMMS Christmas Carol – 34th Anniversary!

Posted in Buzzard, Buzzard Audio, Buzzard Media on December 23, 2009 by John Gorman

We closed out 1975 with a project that became one of our crowning achievements, a contemporary version of A Christmas Carol.

Denny Sanders and promotion and marketing director Dan Garfinkel scripted the adaptation from Charles Dickens. Murray Saul was Iggy Scrooge, and he played it to the hilt.  David Spero was his ghostly partner, steel magnate David MarleyKid Leo was Little Leo, Matt the Cat played Matt the Crachit, and Shelley Stile was Mrs. Cratchit, with Betty Korvan as daughter Martha.

The three spirits – of Christmas past, present, and future – were Len “Boom” Goldberg, Charlie Kendall, and Steve Lushbaugh. Our “world’s greatest” receptionist for WMMS, WHK, and Malrite corporate Verdelle Warren played Scrooge’s fianceeSteve Lushbaugh, Jeff Kinzbach, and Ed “Flash” Ferenc were various men about town.    Denny Sanders narrated. Guests from outside the staff included Michael Stanley and Alex Bevan.  It was directed and produced by Jeff Kinzbach and Steve Lushbaugh.

We recorded it during the busiest production time of the year and its recording and production had to be  worked around the commercial production schedule, which, during the Christmas season, was limited to late Saturday and Sunday afternoons and evenings. Since we hadn’t budgeted in advance for the project, no one could claim overtime for participating. It was a true labor of love.

The entire production was done with antiquated equipment and recording tape at our decrepit studios at 50th and Euclid, and took hundreds of hand-made tape splices to complete.

We called it a production of the Buzzard Theater of the Air, a satirical take-off on Orson Wells’ 1930s radio series, the Mercury Theater of the Air.


Murray Saul on A Christmas Carol

My first thought is how much the production reflects the mood we’ve been talking about of all being on the SAME TEAM and enjoying it.  From the Dan Garfinkel script to Jeff Kinzbach in the control room.  Denny Sanders keeping his eye on the whole project. To call it a labor of love is not hype.  Me, being Scrooge was a great kick.  It was very much like being in your high school play Buzzard-style.

Denny Sanders on A Christmas Carol

I remember that it was taped over two consecutive weekends in December, and edited on the third in time for broadcast on Christmas Eve, 1975.  It was all manual cuts, and fly-in dubs from second and third machines.  Here’s a story:  In the final scene before Murray wakes up everything went quiet.  There was a pause and then the next taped segment (waking up) was to be inserted.  Because it was dead quiet, you heard the electronic relay click of the tape machine starting.  I remember that this drove me crazy, so either Steve Lushbaugh or Jeff Kinzbach (I forget who) backed the tape way up, timed the insert, and rolled it early so that the click was buried in the music bridge just before it went quiet.  When working manual and with old gear, you just had to be resourceful!

To  hear A Christmas Carol, click here

For more info on A Christmas Carol and the Buzzard Theater of the Air – see Chapter 11 of The Buzzard