WMMS 50th Anniversary Continued

Matt the Cat

MATT “THE CAT” LAPCZYNSKI

1973 - 1992

Born in Belgium, but raised in Cleveland and Maple Heights, Matt “the Cat” Lapczynski was a radio fan from an early age.    As a kid he was part of a sophisticated bootleg radio station in his neighborhood…until the FCC shut it down.  Matt was part of the early days at Cleveland State University’s radio operation that only broadcast to the cafeteria, but soon after he got in on the ground floor of WMMS during its eventual transition to the Buzzard.  Over the next twenty years Matt did mostly middays and hosted the weekly “Coffee Break Concerts”, likely introducing more concerts than anyone in Cleveland history.  Matt remains one of the most popular air personalities from WMMS’ fifty year history.

 

Date unknown. With Lou Reed.

Denny Sanders

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

B.L.F. BASH

B.L.F. BASH

1976 - 1998

William Lionel Freeman, better known by the name of his long time overnight show, "The BLF Bash" began his radio career in Fargo and later landed on the east coast in Boston.  Arriving from Boston in Cleveland in September 1976, BLF was highly opinionated.  He would read some commercial copy and then "throw them in the bash bucket where they belong" and openly criticize music he didn't care for.  BLF also praised musicians and was a great fan of the Texas Tornadoes and Blue Cheer.  In 1976, Bash began the tripped out tradition of playing Funkadelic “Maggot Brain” in its entirety every Saturday night at midnight.  It was the perfect way to keep the party rolling.  The ritual lasted through his entire career at the Buzzard.   He was on WMMS for more than twenty years, and would end his show with, "Blue skies and green lights to ya.  Mama, come get your baby boy!" 

WMMS-FM---FREEMAN,-Bill-'BLF-Bash'--(Date-Unknown)

 

Jeff and Flash

Jeff and Flash – Buzzard Morning Zoo Bio

1976 - 1994

Jeff and Flash ruled the airwaves for 18 years on 100.7 WMMS.   One of their biggest contributions to our fine city was spearheading a grass roots effort to get the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame here in Cleveland.   Jeff and Flash were accompanied by a list of other talent over the years which made up the Buzzard Morning Zoo.   The cast included Casey Coleman on sports, Pat Brady with traffic, Len “Boom” Goldberg as the voice of the morning show, Ruby Cheeks, Spaceman Scott, Captain Kenny Clean and Mr. Leonard.   They brought pleasure to the average Clevelander’s workday with segments like Token Jokes of the Morning, Spousal Arousal and Blow Something Up.

 
 
 
 

Murray Saul

Murray Saul

Murray Saul joined the WMMS staff as a salesman. One day a co-worker overheard him ranting in the halls of the radio station and got the idea to feature him on the air with a salute to the weekend. Saul kicked off the weekend every Friday at 6:00pm with his Get Down rants helping Clevelanders get ready for the weekend. He would go on and on about what is wrong with the world, horrible co-workers and bosses and the daily grind of the work day. “You gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta get dooooooowwwwn!”

His rant followed Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.” The kickoff to the weekend continued with Ian Hunter’s “Cleveland Rocks” and Earth Quake’s “Friday on my mind.”

 

Kid Leo: Afternoons, 1973-1988


Lawrence James Travagliante - aka Kid Leo. His radio career began in 1973 with Cleveland on 100.7 WMMS. Being one of the highest-rated radio stations in the country, he  became the afternoon drive DJ in 1974, all the way until December of  1988 - which he then decided to part pays with Cleveland. He influenced  many listeners of the station and kept the momentum alive pushing new  music into the ears and speakers of the audience of WMMS. He gave many  new up and coming artists exposure and put them on the map to their road  to stardom.  Some of those artists were Bruce Springsteen, John  Mellencamp, Pat Benatar, Roxy Music, Cyndi Lauper, The Pretenders, New  York Dolls, and Southside Johnny.

Kid Leo was actively involved in  the campaign in bringing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to Cleveland -  which lead to the mayor Geroge Voinovich granting him a key to the city  in 1990.  He is part of the permanent radio exhibit in the Rock and Roll  Hall of Fame.

 

Len "Boom" Goldberg

Len Goldberg - aka Boom.

Len "Boom" Goldberg's unmistakable voice was heard for three decades on 100.7 WMMS.    In addition to Boom's deep pipes being used every hour in the Top of the hour ID's, station sweepers and commercials, he held two   on-air shifts on the weekends which he coined the Boom 'till noon. He offered "Solid Goldbergers" and ordered us to "EN-joy".  Boom also spent time on the Buzzard Morning Zoo and filled in during other air shifts. In 1995 he was the PA voice introducing acts for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Grand Opening concert at Municipal Stadium. 

 

The Buzzard – 1992

The Buzzard – 1990

The Buzzard – 1977

The Buzzard – 1975

The Buzzard – 1974

April 16, 1974 the Buzzard was born.   The Buzzard made its first appearance in a print ad in a magazine called Zeppelin.   The first buzzard which has penned the name “The Wrath of the Buzzard” can be seen sitting atop a mushroom paying homage to the former logo along with the competitor’s call letters WGCL and WIXY grasped in its beak.  David Helton who at the time was working for American Greetings is the man responsible for giving us the iconic symbol we still use to this day.

WMMS logo 1963 - The FIRST ONE!

The very first logo to ever be created for WMMS was a red and white rainbow. It was supposed to be a colorful logo including all the rainbow colors - but at the time, the station didn't have the budget to do multiple colors so they kept it one color. Good old Red!

Tongue – 1968

The second logo, first one in print, used by WMMS was the Tongue Logo.  It was the same logo used by all of the FM radio stations owned by Metromedia at the time.   It was in use in 1971 but was discontinued after the band the Rolling Stones issued a cease and desist order against MetroMedia for it resemblance to their logo.

Mushroom – 1973

In 1973 WMMS unveiled a new logo – The Mushroom. The phallic like logo depicted a large mushroom with a little elf hanging out smoking a joint. The new logo depicted the sex, drugs and rock and roll image that the owner was looking for. The call letters WMMS stand for "MetroMedia Stereo". Some other possible meanings "Where Music Means Something" or "Weed Makes Me Smile".

Rolling Stone Magazine – Reader’s Poll

Rolling Stone Magazine conducted a yearly Reader’s Poll to which WMMS won “Best Radio Station of the Year” nine years in a row from 1979 to 1987.   In 1988 The Plain Dealer printed a story which said the employees of WMMS had stuffed the ballot box to reign as 10 year champions.  Rumor has it that WMMS had ballots printed so the public could fill them out at various events.  WMMS beat out large market radio stations like WNEW in New York, WMMR in Philadelphia and KROQ in Los Angeles.

Almost Famous

WMMS Art Director, Brian Chalmers was approached by Dreamworks to provide artwork and logos for their movie Almost Famous which came out in 2000.   The flick which takes place in the 70’s tells the story of a teenage boy who writes for Rolling Stone with the main focus being the rock band Stillwater.   The movie is loosely written about director, Cameron Crowe’s life who as a child did in fact write for Rolling Stone and spent time on tour with bands like Led Zeppelin, Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd.   The WMMS Mushroom Logo can be seen a few times throughout the movie - During a backstage scene at the Music Hall right before Stillwater takes the stage and when groupie Penny Lane played by Kate Hudson is dancing alone in the empty venue - you can see a banner with the Mushroom Logo and the slogan “Where The Music Means Something”

 

Buzzard Bone Publication

The debut issue of Buzzard Bone, arrived in September of 1995 and featured the brand new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the cover story, with an article tracing the history of the museum, which had its grand opening that same month. The short-lived music magazine featured a diverse mix of interviews, opinion pieces, album reviews,  Buzzard playlists, concert listings and photos from station events. With content being supplied by journalists and WMMS personnel, it was the perfect companion to what WMMS was doing on air at the time with a focus on the new bands and artists of the alternative music era. 'MMS listener favorites like Green Day, Letters to Cleo, Everclear, Better Than Ezra, Alice in Chains, Garbage and Silverchair were just a few of the bands featured in Buzzard Bone.

Image of Bill Hader above wearing WMMS shirt for his upcoming HBO series called Barry. It's about an ex-Marine who is a  hitman in the Midwest on March 25th. He finds himself traveling to LA to  kill someone but ends up becoming a part of the theater scene. In the  trailer for the new show the character Barry, played by Bill Hader is  wearing a vintage WMMS shirt.

You can find the trailer for the show where he is wearing the WMMS shirt here: http://ew.com/tv/2018/02/23/bill-hader-hbo-barry/

Quiet Riot

August 10, 1983

Live at the Agora Ballroom on August 10, 1983.   Quiet Riot played 11 songs.  Featuring Kevin DuBrow on vocals, Frankie Banali on drums, Rudy Sarzo on bass and Carlos Cavazo on guitar

 

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

 
 

Photo Credit: Janet Macoska

Photo Credit: Maureen Gray

Buzzardfest May 18, 1996

Candlebox headlined the 2 stage show at Blossom Music Center on May 18, 1996.   Other artists that shared the main stage were No Doubt, Patti Rothberg, The Tragically Hip, 311, and the Holy Barbarians.   Goldfinger, The Refreshments, Triple Fast Action and others played the second stage at the top of the hill.

 
 
 
 

Bryan Adams Agora photo credit: Janet Macoska

 
 
 
 

Sammy Hagar Odeon photo credit: Daune Raz

Seth's Big Fat Barbarian Wedding - August 19th, 2005 at Shooters on the Water. 

 

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.

Buzzardfest May 18, 1996

No Doubt performed Buzzard Fest on May 18, 1996.   No Doubt shared the 2 stage show at Blossom with Candlebox, Patti Rothberg, The Tragically Hip, 311, and the Holy Barbarians.   Goldfinger, The Refreshments, Triple Fast Action and others played the second stage at the top of the hill.

Photo Credit: Maureen Gray

Mom’s to be participated in the bikini contest for a chance to win $1,000

WMMS White Trash Wedding - February 1999

One listener was selected to marry the love of his life or at least at the time during a live broadcast on 100.7 WMMS.   The contest titled the “White Trash Wedding” prize included everything needed to make a wedding day special – limo, wedding dress, tuxedo rental, flowers, cake and the ceremony which took place at Mickey’s Diamond Men’s Club in the Flats.

Sammy Hagar Motorcycle Contest

One lucky WMMS listener won a Harley Davidson signed by Sammy Hagar!

Buzzard Morning Zoo video featuring Mr. Leonard

September 1985

Mr.  Leonard, the self proclaimed “assistant public service director” made appearances on the Buzzard Morning Zoo for many years.   He made his debut on WMMS in 1984.   We never learned what Mr. Leonard looked like, he never discussed it on the air.

 
 

Stone Temple Pilots

Nautica

BuzzardFest 2000

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.

 
 

Brian and Joe talk to Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20. July 11, 1995

 

Kent State Show – May 4, 1990

This feature ran at the exact moment of the KSU shootings twenty years later.  WMMS News anchor, Mike Olszewski paints a picture of the scene on that dreadful day.  On May 4, 1970 four students were killed by gunfire from the Ohio National Guard at Kent State University.  Students were protesting the bombing of Cambodia by the United States Armed Forces.

During the 20th anniversary broadcast, Mike Olszewski, along with Jeff & Flash, spoke with Wally Bryson of the Raspberries and one of the National Guardsmen.  WMMS did remote interviews at KSU all morning which included an interview from 1972 presidential candidate, Senator George McGovern, KSU student and gunshot survivor, Dean Kahler, other May 4th wounded who survived, Governor Dick Celeste, current students and others. 

 

Kid Leo Interviews Van Halen – April 20, 1980

Kid Leo interviews David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony before their show at the Richfield Colesium.

 
 

WMMS Playlist from March 26, 1991:

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)

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