WMMS: How The Buzzard Took Over The World – John Gorman, Flash Ferenc, Denny Sanders, David Helton


Cleveland Stories Dinner Parties

  • Venue:Supper Club
  • Showtime:7:00 pm
  • Doors open:5:00 pm
  • All Ages, Free Admission, Dining Reservations Required




Doors open at 5:00pm, with the storytelling beginning promptly at 7:00pm

  • Weekly series combining great food with great stories about Cleveland’s past
  • Prix Fixe 3-course dinner option just $20
  • This week’s menu:
    • Buzzard Stew
    • Road Kill
    • Apple Crisp


    Story topic this week…

    WMMS: How The Buzzard Took Over The World
    Do you know the Buzzard and the history of the station that helped bring the Rock Hall to Cleveland? This Cleveland Stories session features a panel of speakers who are considered some of Cleveland’s most well-known broadcasters. These gentlemen will tell the stories of the glory days of the radio station that put Cleveland on the map and helped to revolutionize radio.

    John Gorman Bio

    John Gorman John Gorman began his broadcasting career operating a pirate radio station from the attic of his family’s South Boston home in 1962. In 1973 he moved to Cleveland to join WMMS, a small, free-form FM station which he would help turn into one of the most popular and influential rock stations in the country. Following his 13 years at WMMS and WHK, Gorman started WNCX/Cleveland. He formed a national consultancy for radio stations and program syndicators before joining WMJI/Cleveland and taking them to the top in ratings and revenue. He became Vice President of Programming for their parent company, OmniAmerica’s radio chain.

    In 2014, Gorman formed WOW Media, with the intent of broadcasting radio on the internet. The following year, Gorman debuted his first station, oWOW, an adult contemporary rock station (billed as “Timeless Rock” for the 45-plus demographic) which is approaching its fifth year in broadcasting.

    Among other accolades, Gorman has been named Radio Consultant of The Year and Operations Director of The Year, and was inducted into the Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame, The Cleveland Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and the Rock Radio Hall of Fame.

    Flash Ferenc Bio

    A highly regarded, hall-of-fame career broadcaster and self-proclaimed radio junkie, Ed “Flash” Ferenc was part of one of the most popular radio programs in the nation, the “Jeff and Flash Show” on WMMS Radio in Cleveland from 1973 through 1994. Many current programs on the airways still use that show as a foundation for their own formats.

    Denny Sanders Bio

    First heard in Cambridge, Massachusetts over M.I.T.’s FM station in the late 1960s, Denny Sanders was one of the key members of the WMMS staff from 1971 to 1986, hosting the long-running and highly-rated early evening shift. In 1988, he joined WMJI as on-air host and later Director Of Programming and Operations, during which the station won its first NAB Marconi Award for Large Market Station of the Year. In 2001, Denny joined The Telos Alliance, an international broadcast equipment development company, where he held various executive positions including Managing Director and Senior Marketing and Sales Strategist. After departing Telos after nearly 18 years and taking some time off, Denny re-entered the local broadcast scene as Programming Consultant and afternoon air personality on Lorain’s Rock and Roll oldies station, Kool Kat Oldies WDLW, heard on 1380 AM, 98.9 FM and online at WDLWradio.com.

    David Helton Bio

    David Helton has been drawing cartoons and listening to rock n’ roll radio since his childhood days in Tennessee and Georgia. He drew cartoons of the DJs at WGOW in Chattanooga for their weekly “Hit Sheet” and even silk-screened their bumper stickers all while he was still in high school.

    After Ringling Art College, David moved to Cleveland in 1973 to accept a job at American Greetings where he painted cute furry bunnies for cards. That’s where he first heard WMMS radio. David sent a programming critique in the form of a comic strip and that caught John Gorman’s eye. He tracked down David and, along with Denny Sanders, helped create the first print ad “The Wrath of the Buzzard” for WMMS. Cleveland loved having the Buzzard represent their great city’s rock n’ roll history and legacy. And now, almost 50 years later, The Buzzard is still flying as Cleveland’s Rock n’ Roll Ambassador!

    David continued his creative and artistic life in 1989 when he moved back to Tennessee to be near family. He began illustrating for kids and has appeared in Highlights For Children magazine, U.S. Kids, Ranger Rick, Humpty Dumpty, Little Debbie Snacks, Scholastic Press, Random House, and many other publishers and forms of media.

    But his heart will always be in his adopted hometown of Cleveland and the many rock n’ roll fans who remember the glory days of great rock radio!
    The goal of the Cleveland Stories Dinner Party is to bring to life some of the fun, interesting stories about Cleveland’s past – from sports, to rock ‘n roll, to Millionaire’s Row, — the series will focus on tidbits from Cleveland’s past that will really thrill the audience. The Music Box is presenting this series in partnership with the Western Reserve Historical Society’s new Cleveland History Center. We think the Cleveland History Center is one of the most important museums in Cleveland. An unknown gem that Clevelanders should know more about, and support. It is the only museum in Cleveland dedicated to preserving and documenting the history of Cleveland. The Cleveland History Center includes two mansions, the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum, Chisholm Halle Costume Wing, Research Library, Kidzibits Hands-On Gallery, rotating exhibitions, and the Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel.

    See all Cleveland Stories dates here.


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