Thursday, October 15, 2009

WTAM-1100 The Big One

Seeing that this is post 1100, I thought I would do something fun with this post and write about an 1100 that has had a presence in most of my life. At night it can be heard in 38 states and half of Canada(in the right conditions). Now currently doing business as Newsradio WTAM/1100.

It started out in 1923 as WTAM. It was said that the call letters meant "Where The Artists Meet" and the original owner was the Willard Battery Storage Company. NBC eventually became owner of the station and shortly after I was born, NBC coerced Westinghouse to trade with them their Philadelphia AM, FM, and television stations. WTAM-AM& FM became KYW AM & FM(105.7) and WNBK-TV3 became KYW-3. This was in 1956.

As I was getting ready for elementary school in the morning, we would listen to the morning show on KYW, hosted by Harry Martin and Specs Howard. I remember some of the skits played during my wait for the school bus, such as Congo Kirk(takeoff on Tarzan) and Sponsor Place.

In 1964, my family moved to Brienigsburg PA. The station we listened to before going to school was WKAP "in the Lehigh Valley". One of the TV stations we watched was from Philadelphia, WRCV, channel 3. One Saturday morning in 1965, I had noticed that channel 3 was now KYW. In my nine year old mind I wondered why this was so. Fact of the matter was that the FCC had ordered the swap of 10 years prior to be reversed.

In August 1965, we moved back to Ohio. What was KYW/1100 became WKYC. The format was top 40, and it was on in our home most of the time when we listened to radio. My favorite DJ during that time was Big Jack(Your leeeeaaader!). In Cleveland, John Larsch was originally on WIXY as Jack Armstrong, and could not use that name on WKYC(radio 11).

In Cleveland, the top 40 airwaves was eventually ruled by WIXY/1260, so KY-11 switched to a more adult oriented format. The airwaves in my home were ruled by my mom, so WKYC remained a fixture on our home radio. But I would have more reasons in the future to listen to 1100.

In September, 1972, 1100 became WWWE, or 3WE. Along with the change of calls, came play by play of the Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Cavaliers. Also one of the greatest sports talk shows of all time moved to the "Midwest Sports Giant"-Pete Franklin's Sportsline. Sweet Pete was very knowledgeable in sports and the show was a ratings giant. Although many swore that they didn't listen to the show, many others knew who the regular callers were. Callers who called themselves "The Swami", "The Prosecutor," and one who Pete had sarcastically named "Mr. Know it All". More about the last one later. Pete Franklin left 3WE to go to WFAN in New York in 1987.

In the late eighties, WWWE nearly lost their broadcast license due to the antics of shock jock Gary Dee. He was one of the original personalities to push the envelope and the station almost payed the price for his transgressions.

The nineties brought change and deregulation. For years WWWE was an also ran in the ratings and ownership in the attempt to shake things up decided to change the call letters. They wanted to let their position as AM 1100 known and to their surprise the original calls of WTAM were available. Mike Trivisonno, the afore mentioned Mr. Know It All, was now doing a sports talk show in the evening. His show was changed to issues oriented talk and he became the afternoon drive time host. Triv has also mentioned me on his show, not always complimentary...Well not ever complimentary.

I still listen. The station has the Indians, Browns, and the Cavaliers. I get my news there driving home in the afternoon. I don't depend on it for traffic reports though.

9 comments:

Margaret said...

You sure know your Cleveland radio. All I remember is the Buzzard. But I spent most of my time in Ohio listening to LP's in dorm rooms.

Mike Golch said...

I remember the kyw logo.Man am I getting old.Oh well.stuff happens.

Houlihan said...

There is traffic in Cleveland?

Tim Lones said...

Cliff:
Good Article. I remember the 3WE days fondly..Along with the Cavaliers and Indians, they had Crusaders Hockey..The 70's..Those were the days..The Cleveland teams mostly were awful, but The Sportstalk was actually entertaining, unlike today..

On Radio-Info.com several years ago, I brought up..What if Westinghouse had stayed in Cleveland?..You might have had "KYW Newsradio 1100" "All News all the Time" and KYW-3 Cleveland would eventually be owned by CBS..and 19 to NBC..Who knows what might have happened?

clean and crazy said...

mr. know- it- all with his head up his butt!!
great article, funny how notoriety can get you a job huh? or maybe being a jerk raises ratings, i still am a fan of friends and honest people like you.
congratulations on 1100 posts, wow!!

Houlihan said...

I still don't understand why anyone needs traffic reports for Cleveland? It is not like you don't know the alternate routes around the area already?

Righty said...

Mike Trivisonno is a great talk show host. Love his views and his beliefs. Tired of hearing whiney liberals on the air all the time. Go Mr. Know it all!

74WIXYgrad said...

Houlihan, whoever you are, I want to thank you for coming to check out my blog. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I don't desire to use the comment section of my blog for a (spitting) contest. We can save this for the Listening Party.

Pat Jenkins said...

a chapter from your book you should be writing....