This year WMMS turns the big 5-0! We're showcasing all the memories that WMMS has made over the years starting back from 1968! Stay tuned for monthly updates with new pictures, videos, show segments from the past and more! See how the Buzzard and WMMS has changed over time and enjoy your trip down memory lane in the WMMS vault!
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This month's featured talent is: Denny Sanders
1972 - 1986
Denny Sanders came to WMMS in 1971 from Boston where he’d been working as a DJ from the time he was just 16 years old. During his long tenure doing evenings at the station Denny interviewed hundreds of rock stars including the late John Lennon. He’s heard introducing Bruce Springsteen’s fabled WMMS tenth anniversary show at the Cleveland Agora which is thought to have been the most bootlegged radio concert ever before its official release. Denny left WMMS to start another local station, but returned for a long stay at WMJI. Denny was also instrumental in convincing former WMMS owner Milton Maltz to continue the station’s rock format in the mid-1970s.
Denny Sanders & Fred Griffith. Date Unknown
The Buzzard – 1990
Bruce Sprinsteen & the E Street Band
The Agora – August 9, 1978
"Round for round, pound for pound, there ain't no finer band around. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band!" Kid Leo's boxing announcer themed introduction welcomed both the fans in the audience at the Cleveland Agora and the many more listening on the network radio broadcast, to the evening's "Main Event," the 10th anniversary concert celebration for WMMS, which would be hosted by The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen.
The concert was broadcast on WMMS and an additional seven stations, reaching throughout the Midwest to Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis and other markets and would eventually reach far beyond that radius, thanks to the many who were rolling tape to record the concert from their stereo.
Springsteen's music had become an important cornerstone of the Buzzard playlist and his profile had risen nationally, thanks to the release of the Born to Run album, with the title track quickly becoming an 'MMS staple that would endure for decades. He came to the Agora armed with a new album, Darkness on the Edge of Town. On August 9, 1978, there was no hotter ticket in Cleveland. Springsteen and the band hit the stage full throttle, opening appropriately with a cover of "Summertime Blues," with Springsteen promising, "I'm a gonna raise a fuss/ I'm a gonna raise a holler."
For the next three hours, spread across two sets, Springsteen did just that, telling stories and playing the best of his catalog, including a lengthy version of "Growin' Up," in which he told the tale of being sent to have a conversation with God about what he should do with his life, encountering Kid Leo along the way, who was "prayin' for more watts" for WMMS. "I gotta blast this baby all the way to New Jersey," Springsteen quipped.
The announcement came less than two weeks before the show. Fans were encouraged to drop off a self-addressed stamped envelope to a local record store in order to score tickets. Thousands of entries were received, but only 375 lucky listeners received two tickets to the concert. They were rewarded with a night that they would remember for the rest of their lives. And indeed, it remains a special show in the memories of Springsteen, Weinberg and the members of the E Street Band too. In 2014, Springsteen finally released the Agora concert officially on CD and download.
Springsteen Concert Poster - Agora - August 9th, 1978
Springsteen - Agora - Scene Magazine - August, 1978
Listeners signed up to participate in the contest “What would you do for $5,000” which took place at Dick’s Last Resort on the Flats East Bank. The WMMS morning show “Dick Dale & Rick” hosted the event. Contestants got a little crazy and ate everything from maggot sandwiches, piles of people’s left overs, urinal cakes and fish guts. Needless to say, for health reasons, this contest changed the way promotions were done going forward at WMMS.
Stone Temple Pilots
June 30, 2000
BuzzardFest 2000 took Place on June 30, 2000 at Nautica on the Flats West Bank. It was the first time Stone Temple Pilots performed in Cleveland in six years. For STP vocalist Scott Weiland, who spent time as a kid living in Bainbridge Township and attending grade school in Chagrin Falls, the concert was a homecoming experience and he referenced his time growing up in Northeast Ohio during his conversations with the crowd that evening.
The band clearly enjoyed performing on Nautica's stage, right next to the waterfront, with Weiland stopping at one point to point out the large boats that were passing by. "Those guys who pilot those ships through here? Those guys are f--kin' heroes!" Weiland and STP were touring in support of No. 4, their fourth album, which had been released the previous year, but dug deep into their back catalog for a crowd-pleasing set that featured all of the hits and a hefty selection of deeper tracks that were also fan favorites.
Read more about WMMS history in:
Radio Daze: Stories from the Front in Cleveland’s FM Air Wars by Mike Olszewski (Kent State University Press)
Cleveland Radio Tales by Mike & Janice Olszewski (Gray & Co., Publishers)