Monday, April 26, 2010

1220/WGAR Means Music and More

This is a special post in number of blog post 1220.

The first cars I owned had AM radios, and on the mid to late seventies one of the stations I had set on mine was 1220/WGAR. Matter of fact, for awhile I worked across the street from their studios in Broadview Hts., Ohio.

Owned by Nationwide Communications, it was a special spot on the dial for the listeners, and a special place for those who made their living there.

John Lanigan was the morning personality. When he first come to town, he was replacing a legend, Don Imus, and he did so admirably. Lanigan in the Morning was a mixture of music, interviews, and plenty of innuendo. 6:50 every morning brought the Flex Club, a way for callers to say hi to others, usually spouses or boyfriend/girlfriend. And Lanigan would always ask if they had an unusual place. you probably get the picture.

10:00 brought "Emperor" Joe Mayer to the mike. But not so fast. There was the crossover, where Lanigan would give Mayer a daily roasting, to which the emperor would reply with hearty belly laughs and end it by telling Lanigan, "you're a nut!" But the show would go on with Joe being the gracious host, helping you settle into the midday, every once in awhile telling listeners after a song that he voted for it.

From 2 to 6 you had Dave "Fig" Newton. "I have hits up to my pits, cause Music is my middle name." Like other personalities at WGAR, Newton was a young comedian, using his sharp with to connect with his audience. He was well liked by his peers.

Next up was "The Real" Bob James, another true professional and sharp wit. He would have listeners call every night with a segment called Rate a Joke. Some would call up with their lame attempt at humor and others would have some real good ones, such as "Why does beer go through you so fast? It don't need time to change color."

So you have a day full of humor, what else do you need from your radio station? WGAR had a full service news department and ABC news. They were Cleveland's station to hear Paul Harvey.
Many top news reporters came through the studios at Broadcast Park. John O'Day, Ken Robinson, Jack Callaghan, Ken Courtright, and Don Olson, are just a few of the news talents that came through the big 1220.

Unfortunately time does not stand still. Times change, trends change. The big 1220 is just a memory, but a cherished one by those who worked there. Some of the folks from that time have set up a tribute page on Facebook.


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Ed said...

Don't forget Phil Gardner!

RexMaximvs said...

Every time I see posts about the Northern Lights I am reminded of my late good friend "Emperor" Joe Mayer (WHK & WGAR - DJ). He was more like a big brother than friend and I miss him every time I see the Lights.

It was about 3 a.m. on July 4th many years ago and we were camped out on the Geauga Fairgrounds in Burton, Ohio. Joe and I had gathered several hundred CB radio groupies to a weekend "Camporee" all to benefit the Hattie Larlham Foundation for serious disabilities. Joe's handle was "Mike Grabber" and I was "Stroker."

Someone rustled our tent and woke us up in the middle of the night and there they were - the Northern Lights right on a hill top in Northeast Ohio. They were beautiful and ever changing. We watched in awe at God's wonderful display until almost dawn.

So every time I read about or see photos of the aurora borealis, I think of Joe. Such a wonderful person I was privileged to call friend.

God Bless you Joe and Rest in the Arms of the Lord!

CNN iReport on Twitter: "Tonight #NorthernLights may be visible as far south as Seattle,...
Tonight #NorthernLights may be visible as far south as Seattle, Chicago, NYC. Share photos: