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The Buzzard: Inside the Glory Days of Wmms and Cleveland Rock Radio--a Memoir Hardcover – September 21, 2007

30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


A nostalgic, narcotic ride through the history of a station that broke some of music's top groups while leaving local competitors in the dust. -- Currents, November 15, 2007

For anyone who remembers the days when the Buzzard ruled the airwaves, this is a rare glimpse into the sex and drugs, music and merchandising that made the station so successful. -- Northern Ohio Live, November 1, 2007

Gorman's book is filled with anecdotes that transport the reader back to the rebellious days of radio (before corporate culture took over and deals could still be made with words and handshakes alone,) and his recollections provide a fly-on-the-wall perspective of the station's hallways, concert events, DJ personalities and celebrity interviews . . . His memories and behind-the-scenes accounts are the next best thing to having the WMMS of the late-1970s to mid-1980s still on the air. This entertaining and amusing read will be appreciated by avid listeners of "The Buzzard" during its heyday and anyone interested in Cleveland's music history. -- Cleveland Magazine, December 1, 2007

John Gorman is a personality and an astute radio guy . . . his energy and ingenuity-and the requisite ego-shine through here, making [the book] a vivid, entertaining addition to the Cleveland rock story. --, December 5, 2007

What was it like behind the scenes at WMMS, the nation's hottest station during FM's heyday from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s? John Gorman, who ran the Cleveland radio station as music and program director and later operations manager, provides a riveting look at the events and people who shaped the station's history. -- Maple Heights Press, December 20, 2007

Written in an easy manner, parading zany, wonderful stories in a coherent, wildly entertaining style, Gorman's book reveals much about the inner workings of WMMS -- Goldmine Magazine, July 19, 2008

About the Author

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 would help turn WMMS into one of the most popular and influential rock stations in the country. He served as music director and program director, and eventually became operations manager of WMMS and WHK.
In 1986 Gorman and twelve other staff members left WMMS to start 98.5 WNCX in Cleveland. He also founded a radio consulting firm, Gorman Media, and has worked with stations in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Cleveland, and other markets.
Gorman won the Radio Consultant of the Year award at the 1985 annual Pop Music Convention and was awarded Operations Director of the Year in 1995 by Billboard magazine. He was inducted into the Ohio Radio-TV Hall of Fame in 2000. He lives in Bay Village, Ohio.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gray & Co., Publishers; First Edition edition (September 21, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1886228477
  • ISBN-13: 978-1886228474
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #795,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Nicole on November 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is so good that my husband and I clearly needed two copies, as we wrestled each other nightly for reading rights (I finished the book last night, so he has it all to himself now).

The Buzzard is John Gorman's unique memoir and singular history of WMMS. For people who love Cleveland/Northeast Ohio and WMMS, it's a must-read.

The book is also a remarkable insider's view of the beginnings of FM radio. My sons (in their 20s) are music aficionados, and I've tried and failed to convey to them the thrills, the excitement, the quantum leap that FM radio was many moons ago. Where I failed, John Gorman succeeds brilliantly, in prose that's conversational, intelligent, and engaging.

I also found The Buzzard to be a timeless primer on genius in marketing and promotions, and the physical/mental/emotional and spiritual dedication required to achieve greatness in a business endeavor.

I'm still laughing at Gorman's stories about Joan Jett's visit to WMMS and the "Welcome WMMS Buzzards" banners at the Roman Gardens restaurant -- my favorites among dozens of unforgettable moments he shares.

Enjoy The Buzzard!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John E. Hannibal III on November 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a must read for radio fans, rock music fans, Cleveland fans, marketing fans. In other words, a number of people will find different things to enjoy about this book.
The book describes the rise and fall of one of the greatest radio stations. For Clevelanders who've always tried to describe what we had to others...well, hand them this book.
I plan on buying multiple copies for Xmas gifts and for friends hitting 50 as I'm about to do.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James D. Grazko on April 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is fantastic for anyone who came of age during the 70's and early 80's in Cleveland, OH, and listened to radio. WMMS was what EVERYONE under 30 was listening to back then, and the DJ's were larger than life personalities who were friends with Springsteen, Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music, etc. This book gives insights into the world of WMMS of that era. HIGHLY recommended from this displaced Clevelander now living life in Seattle (sigh....)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gregg Eldred VINE VOICE on January 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Radiophiles, rock history buffs, Clevelanders, marketing and promotions people, and anyone interested in the rise of a major FM radio station would be interested in this book. Many people equate the current FM product as "corporate," "homogenized," and, worst of all, "lame." Take a journey back in time when FM radio was none of those things.

Foreword; Find Me; Welcome to Cleveland; Radio Architect; A New Identity; "That's MY Station!"; Number One; It's Still a Business; Hatching the Buzzard; The World Series of Rock; Got-ta Got-ta Get Down!; "We Don't Go to Work; We Go to War"; Continuous Party; The Switch; The Voice of Rock and Roll; Moving On Up; The Buzzard and The Boss; Coffee Break Concerts; Beatles Blitz; Chimps, Rats, and Buzzard Killers; Into the '80's; Pride of Cleveland; Video Stars, Radio Stars; "Bring the Next One On"; Your Modern Music Station; Buzzardland; Taking the Fight To The Airwaves; Choosing Sides; "WMMS Can Call Itself Anything It Wants"; Departures and Divisions; The Rock Stops Here; Know Your Close; End of an Era; Acknowledgements; Cast of Characters; Index

The Buzzard: Inside the Glory Days of WMMS and Cleveland Rock Radio--A Memoir, by John Gorman, takes you behind the scenes and off the air, with one of the greatest rock stations ever. Gorman was the music director, program director, and operations manager of WMMS and WHK (the AM station that was owned by Malrite Communications). He finally pens the memoir for the many people that have been waiting. He relives 1973 to 1986, the years that took WMMS from one of the lowest rated radio stations in Cleveland to the hottest station in the country.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Best Of All on July 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
It was a special time in Cleveland, Ohio, when stations on something called FM radio became more than playing programming from its AM affiliate.

Though WMMS had been building a solid local following by late-1969, it was the early-1970s when the station became a powerhouse through amazing creativity and having an atmosphere of ownership with the audience.

July 1973 was a watershed moment for the station, as John Gorman was hired as music director and was soon promoted to program director & operations manager, the posts he held until 1986. Gorman and co-author Tom Ferran provide an insider's account to those golden years when WMMS ruled the roost in northeast Ohio and beyond.

From the unique Buzzard logos - created by local artist David Helton, Gorman and Denny Sanders - to promotional tie-ins with Belkin Productions, Blossom Music Center, the Agora Ballroom, and the Front Row Theater & unique programming like the live Coffee Break Concert, it was a party that was never going to end, that included monster ratings and propelling artists into the national spotlight.

By the time Gorman left in 1986, the FM landscape had changed and the popularity of WMMS began a swift descent. Gorman briefly returned to the station in the 1990s as vice president and director of operations, but the magical time was gone for good.

But it was a wild ride and Gorman's recollections are an important piece to the rock-n-roll puzzle in this amazing era for pop culture in the "Rock-n-Roll Capital of the World."
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