Jame Renner

Speaking Fee: $200
Hometown: Akron, OH
Restrictions: none

James Renner is a novelist, freelance journalist, and blogger. In his spare time, he hunts serial killers. His true crime stories have been published in the Best American Crime Reporting and Best Creative Nonfiction anthologies. His film adaptation of a Stephen King story was an official selection at the 2005 Montreal World Film Festival. A graduate of Kent State University, Renner lives in Akron, Ohio.

Speaking Topics

It Came from Ohio! Strange but true scary stories from the Buckeye State
James Renner has researched sightings of frightening creatures across our state for the new book, It Came from Ohio! Subjects include The Loveland Frog, a Toledo werewolf, UFO’s over Portage County, and sea monsters in Lake Erie.

Books by James Renner

David Lee Morgan, Jr.

Speaking Fee: $200
Hometown: Rocky River, OH
Restrictions: none

David Lee Morgan, Jr. was a sports reporter for the Akron Beacon Journal from 1995 to 2010, where he won several awards for his coverage of high school sports, including the James A. Sutherland Award, given to the top rookie reporter in Northeast Ohio. He is a former high school and collegiate athlete.

Speaking Topics

Who is LeBron James and where did he come from, really?
Most audiences want to know what LeBron was like as a kid raised by his single mom (Gloria) and how he became such a great basketball player. The story is mind boggling and an inspiration to all.

Was LeBron a good student at St. Vincent-St. Mary?
Morgan discusses LeBronÕs dedication to his classwork not only in high school, but in middle school as well. Morgan also talks to his audience, especially middle and high school students, about the importance of doing well in school and being disciplined when it comes to study habits.

As an adult, why am I such a LeBron fan?
Although you may see LeBron as a superstar on television and helping the Cavaliers win, you’re attracted to his whimsical and carefree attitude. That’s exactly what makes LeBron so unique and why kids of all backgrounds feel like they live right next door to LeBron.

Books by David Lee Morgan, Jr.

Scott Lax

Speaking Fee: $200
Hometown: Chagrin Falls, OH
Restrictions: none

Scott Lax is a novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist, film and television writer, and writing teacher. He has also worked as a salesman and a professional musician (performing as a drummer with Bo Diddley, among others). He studied Shakespeare at the University of Cambridge after graduating from Hiram College, and was a Bread Loaf Scholar in nonfiction and Sewanee Fellow in fiction. He was named Midwest Filmmaker of the Year at the Cleveland International Film Festival in 2002 for his work as source-writer and producer of the film adaptation of his first novel, The Year That Trembled. Scott lives with his wife, Lydia Lax, son, Finn Scott Lax, and stepson, Angus, in the Chagrin Valley near Cleveland, Ohio.

Speaking Topics

Translating Personal Experience into Fiction
Scott Lax takes his listeners on his personal journey of translating his young adulthood growing up in Greater Cleveland into his first novel, movie and stage play — The Year That Trembled — and his second novel, Vengeance Follows. With a robust and fun question and answer period as part of his presentation, Scott will have your audience thinking and talking about the relationship between stories including their own lives.

You’re Never Too Young & You’re Never Too Old—A Writer’s Journey From 16 (first short story) to 61 (second novel)
Scott Lax began writing poetry and short stories as well as articles for his alternative newspaper at Chagrin Falls High School in NE Ohio at 16 years old. While his life took detours into the business world and as a professional drummer, his passion for becoming a published writer and novelist never faded. He resumed his writing career in earnest at 39 and never looked back, publishing hundreds of magazine and newspaper columns, two novels, producing an internationally distributed movie and writing a produced stage play. Scott will share hard-won lessons, as well as entertaining tales, tailored for listeners of all ages.

Books by Scott Lax

John Gorman

Speaking Fee: $200
Hometown: Bay Village, OH
Restrictions: none

John Gorman began his broadcasting career in Boston and in 1973 moved to Cleveland to join WMMS, a small, free-form FM station then under new ownership. Over the next thirteen years he helped turn WMMS into one of the most popular and influential rock stations in the country, serving as music director and program director, and eventually operations manager of WMMS and WHK. He helped start 98.5 WNCX in Cleveland and has worked with stations in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Cleveland, and other markets. Gorman received the Radio Consultant of the Year award at the 1985 annual Pop Music Convention and was named Operations Director of the Year in 1995 by Billboard magazine. He was inducted into the Ohio Radio-TV Hall of Fame in 2000 and received an Award for Excellence in Broadcasting from the Cleveland Association of Broadcasters in 2008. He lives in Bay Village, Ohio.

Speaking Topics

The Glory Days of WMMS & Cleveland Rock Radio
A tour of WMMS from the 70s underground “progressive rock” era to the creation of a popular culture, mass-appeal station with international influence in the 80s. Exploring how the on-air personalities came together, the creation of the Buzzard mascot, the unique contests and promotions, and the pioneering of merchandising the station. Relive the live music scene from the Agora to the World Series of Rock, and hear how it all came to an end with WMMS staffers leaving to launch WNCX.

Cleveland Radio in the Nineties
John Gorman’s media consultant firm has been headquar-tered in Cleveland since the mid 80s. During the 90s. his team, made up of former WMMS staffers and seasoned professionals, relaunched soft hits WMJI as a rock and roll oldies station–a first for Cleveland FM radio. He consulted syndicated radio programs aimed at teen and young adult audiences. In the late 80s he launched a number of new rock-oriented stations throughout the country, which led to his return to WMMS in 1994 to create a new alternative rock-leaning format with an almost entirely new staff as “Buzzard Radio: The Next Generation.”

Radio and the Telecommunications Bill of 1996
In 1996, Congress passed a bill to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to address the new technologies in the telecommunications industry for the 21st century. Senator Bob Dole added a “midnight rider” to the bill, which contained massive revisions for regulating radio stations. The revisions deregulated rules and regulations regarding radio station ownership, license renewals, and community service.

Radio Formats
How are radio formats created, designed, and redefined? Why do some formats last and others vanish? From the late 40s through the 90s, Cleveland was considered a “break out” market for new music and trends. Many well-known personalities’ careers were created by certain formats and forced radio to make improvements in quality and audio processing. Why are some formats, like oldies and classical, vanishing from radio?

A history of payola and pay-for-play schemes
Payola: the illegal practice of payment by record labels and managers to secure airplay on the radio. The practice and definition have changed many times since the scandals of the 50s. Not all stations participate–and those that do provide giveaways, which can clearly be heard if you know what you are listening for.

Books by John Gorman

Bob Dyer

Speaking Fee: $250
Hometown: Akron, OH
Restrictions: none

Since joining the Akron Beacon Journal in 1984, Bob Dyer has earned 53 regional and national writing awards. He was voted Best Columnist in the Nation by the National Society of Professional Journalists (2008) and Best Humor Columnist by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (2013). He was named Best Columnist in Ohio by at least one professional journalism organization for six consecutive years. Dyer was one of the lead writers for “A Question of Color,” a yearlong examination of racial attitudes in Akron that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994.

Speaking Topics

Boys Just Wanna Have Fun
Thirty years of column-writing have led to some interesting adventures, from piloting the Goodyear blimp to panhandling on a street corner to arguing with Al Sharpton on the Dr. Phil show.

Life With Omar
What it was like putting together a best-selling book with one of the most popular athletes in Cleveland history, Omar Vizquel

Cleveland Sports Legends
A look at the best and worst moments in 100 years of local sports

Books by Bob Dyer

Dan Coughlin

Speaking Fee: $200
Hometown: Rocky River, OH
Restrictions: none

Dan Coughlin has covered Cleveland sports for more than four decades, as a sportswriter for The Plain Dealer (1964-1982) and on WJW-TV 8 (since 1983). His columns also appeared in the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram, Medina Gazette, Lake County News-Herald, Painesville Telegraph and other newspapers. He was twice named Ohio sportswriter of the year and was honored with an Emmy award. He traveled with the Browns and Indians, and covered some of the biggest college football games of the 20th century, including five major bowl games. He was at ringside for several world championship fights as well as the Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier series. He covered 17 Indianapolis 500s and several auto races in Europe. He lives in Rocky River, Ohio.

Speaking Topics

Just One More Story …
Last Call! Dan tells his last batch of stories about the most unusual, eccentric and outlandish people he’s known in 50 years as a sports journalist. Dan has hundreds of great stories, and he tells them in his naturally boisterous style.

Books by Dan Coughlin