Boom! Broadcasters in the Rearview Mirror

Boom! Broadcasters in the Rearview Mirror

 

Ever think we’d see the end of radio? Many of us remember when radio personalities were as important as the artists they played, and competition between stations raised the bar on creative programming.

Consolidation, cable TV and the internet all played a role in the diminished importance of over-the-air programming. There’s still great radio, much of it on satellite or online, but let’s not forget the folks who made radio great.

Why isn’t there a legitimate statewide broadcasters hall of fame? A lot of major names have worked here in radio and TV. Jack Paar, Soupy Sales, Casey Kasem, Nancy Dickerson and Alan Freed, to name just a few, went on from Cleveland media to national prominence. Even more stayed here. We should preserve their legacy and their important part of our media history. It’s time for that hall of fame.

There were a couple at one time in Northeast Ohio, but they didn’t last. Maybe it’s time for a respected institution like the Western Reserve Historical Society, the Ohio History Connection in Columbus, or an independent panel of historians, academic types and broadcast professionals to establish a real hall of fame that’s aimed at documenting these important accomplishments in a serious and, most importantly, impartial manner.

Let’s also preserve the artifacts, audiotape and videotape that still exist for future generations. The banner welcoming the Beatles to Cleveland in 1964 is sitting in a basement. Ernie “Ghoulardi” Anderson’s personal effects were auctioned off on eBay. Tapes and other memorabilia often find their way to the curbside when estates are left behind. Libraries could be great repositories. Like the idea? Let me know. The email is listed below.

 

Whatever happened to movie palaces?

I remember when the really big first-run films would open first downtown. I saw “The Sound of Music” at the Palace Theatre at a weekday matinee.

Recently I mentioned a movie I was waiting for and one of my students said, “I saw it.” How? It hadn’t been released yet. “Oh, I have an app for my phone.” It must have come from some weird offshore site that airs bootleg films. I told her I prefer to see it on a bigger screen, and she said, “Oh, I can get it on my iPad, too.”

 

Boomer trivia

Last issue, I asked what Babe Ruth never did at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. The answer? Hit a home run.

The Bambino hit plenty of home runs in Cleveland, including his 500th, but they were all at League Park. Ruth played at Municipal Stadium toward the end of his career; he called it “The Barnyard.”

I got a surprising answer from an 8-year-old. Cole, Cate and Cora are three great kids who live near Jacksonville, Florida. Cole is an exceptional player, but he’s also a student of baseball. From the time he could pick up a bat, he’s studied players and their history. His sister, Cate, is very bright. When I asked Cole the question about Babe Ruth, Cate shot back, “Wear a cup!”

For next time: When “The Adventures of Superman” premiered on TV back in 1952, the medium was still very young and didn’t put a lot of money into costumes or sets. In the very first episode, we see the costumes of two other superheroes. Who were they? I’ll have the answer next issue.

About the author

Mike Olszewski is a veteran radio and television personality currently teaching college level classes in media and pop culture. He can be reached at [email protected]

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