In northeast Ohio, John Gorman is either deified or demonized by those associated with radio. A large part of his legacy will be an FM radio station that he, and several other folks with a common vision helped build into a powerhouse-WMMS.
WMMS/100.7 started out as a progressive, album oriented radio station and exploded into one of the most popular Cleveland radio stations of all time.
The Buzzard is John Gorman's account of the glory days-1973-1988- of WMMS, the radio station that was very influential in launching the careers of many rock acts that would have possibly faded into obscurity. WMMS was also one of the many voices in the area that helped Cleveland land the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and museum.
I write this post more as a fan of the station during it's glory years, than as a onetime broadcast student. I was one of the many listeners who would enjoy things like the weekend salute, and in this book, I was able to read the story about how Gorman turned a phone call that Murray Saul made to his elderly aunt into an idea that turned into a Friday afternoon tradition for many of us. Many of us remember Murry Saul as the get down man. One of the many humorous stories that Gorman relates in the book takes place during a live "get down," when during the end of the "salute," things reached a frenzy, Saul dropped his microphone and a fan picked it up. You will have to get the book to read what the listener said into the mike.
I wanted to read the book because I was a fan 30 years ago. I was also intrigued when I was reading a sample chapter of the book and saw that Gorman was a fan of Zig Ziglar and Dale Carnegie, two of my favorite motivational authors, and that he recommended their books to those he worked with.
He was also an advocate of "guerrilla marketing," which was how WMMS became one of the best advertised radio stations around despite a low advertising budget. I know. I had my share of buzzard t-shirts and bumper stickers. Yes I paid to advertise their radio station, as back in the day a good part of my wardrobe was WMMS t-shirts.
If you're a fan of radio history, you owe it to yourself to read "The Buzzard." It's a story of the benefits of hard work, from beginning to end. They successfully fought all competition, but in the end, they brought themselves down. The book, to me, was an enjoyable read, 289 pages. One word of caution though. There is some profanity and accounts of drug usage in the book. But to me, it's worth it to read John Gorman's account of some history I got to listen to first hand.
Cliff Note:I had left a comment on the Buzzard book blog last night. John Gorman emailed me the following:
Thank you for the kind words.
I was fortunate to have worked with some great people over the years. We also had strong competition and supportive listeners. They deserve the credit.
I'm glad you're enjoying the book.