Cleveland Radio Tales

Stories from the Local Radio Scene of the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s

Mike & Janice Olszewski


Meet some of the most eccentric personalities in Cleveland radio history! These tales, mostly from the 1960s to 1990s, share on-air and off-air antics of radio hosts who performed in the nude, battled station owners (and sometimes brawled with each other), broke news stories, discovered new musical acts, and tried any stunt to draw listeners.

Softcover / 188 pages / 5.5 x 8.5 / 38 photos

ISBN: 9781938441905


Remember when Cleveland radio crackled with a nonstop audio parade of larger-than-life characters?

Let’s go behind the microphone to meet dozens of intriguing and innovative local radio personalities, including …

  • “Count” John Manolesco, the talk show host, astrologer, and former vampire who performed an exorcism live on-air
  • A daytime host who raised eyebrows and gained headlines when he did his entire show in the nude
  • Inventive Wayne Mack, whose make-believe big band concerts seemed so real that listeners drove around for hours in search of his fictional “Waltz Palace” ballroom
  • Loudmouth Gary Dee, who scored big ratings interviewing strippers and once knocked a fellow DJ out cold
  • Media mogul Milton Maltz, a “square” who teamed up with hippies to transform WMMS into a rock and roll giant
  • Young Jack Paar, who nearly lost his first radio job while saving Cleveland from a Martian invasion
  • The undaunted DJs of WABQ who broke FCC rules to stay on the air during the Glenville riots in 196
  • Teenage amateurs whose pirate radio stations drew loyal local listeners—and angry visits from the Feds!

Plus stories of live remotes gone wrong, unruly in-studio guests, management scuffles, the river of booze that fueled radio . . . and more true tales.

Additional information

Weight0.59 lbs
Dimensions8.5 × 0.5 × 5.5 in

Softcover, Softcover (Autographed)

Table of Contents

“This station should kiss my ass . . . ” (The Bizarre World of Count John Manolesco)

“Shooting pool with a rope!” (Night Shift Guy in an Alternate Universe)

“You’re never going to make it in this business!” (Local Radio Legends from Earlier Days)

“You stay in that world and you’ll be a bum  . . . ” (Milton Maltz Creates a Broadcast Dynasty)

“Get down, dammit!” (Murray Saul)

WKRP in . . . Willoughby (Hollywood Lands in Lake County)

“I didn’t saddle up to come in second!” (Gary Dee and People Power)

Fired for Being Herself (Shauna Zurbrugg, Fighting for Rights in a Kangaroo Court)

Meeting the Beatles

The Buzzard—Behind the Curtain (More Stories from WMMS)

Belly Up To The Bar (The River of Booze that Fueled Radio)

The Backstage Pass (Bands and Their Demands)

“There’s evil in this building” (WERE and Adventures in Talk Radio)

“Good line, smart ass” (In-Studio Guests)

Theater of the Mind (The Crystal Ballroom, a Phony Funeral, and a Trip to Celebrity Donuts)

Power to the People! (Tales from the Technical Side)

Air Pirates (Illegal Radio Stations vs. the Feds)

Mama, Don’t Let Your Cowboys Grow Up to Be Deejays (Doc Lemon, Cleveland’s Man in Black)

At Your Service (Public Service Programming and the Sunday Morning Graveyard)

Short Circuits

“You’re scaring my kids!” (Denny Sanders Got an Earful)

“Bouncy, Bouncy!” (Jimi Hendrix Meets an Alien in Cleveland)

The Birth of the Buzzard (A Comic Strip by Buzzard Creator David Helton)


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