Patrick Dillon took home a few thousand pieces of Cleveland rock and roll history last Friday.
The Parma resident won the moldy vinyl archives of WMMS, the classic local radio station that helped define FM radio in the 1970s and 1980s. Dillon was one of 8,000 entrants for the giveaway contest, which parent company Clear Channel conducted via radio stations WMMS 100. FM, WMJI 105.7, and WTAM 1100 AM.
The station began transferring to digital in 1983, when it acquired an Japanese import CD of Billy Joel’s 52nd Street. Recalls former Program Director John Gorman, “Our [general manager] at the time, Walt Tiburski, was in the studio, and said ‘The great thing about CDs is they don't skip.’ He then demonstrated by banging his fist on the table housing the newly installed CD player. The song skipped.”
Vinyl at ‘MMS was a memory by the mid ‘90s. The record archives had been slowly warping at Clear Channel’s compound in Independence.
The collection includes albums by Aerosmith, Meatloaf, and Chicago. Apparently, as long as it’s part of a package deal, you can give away Chicago albums. Owning thousands of pounds of vinyl will save Dillon the trouble of having to turn on 98.5 WNCX when he wants to here the songs.
Another local radio veteran who asked not to be identified offered the zinger, “Clear Channel so close to bankruptcy, they would have been better off to pay down debt by putting the old WMMS library on e-Bay and sell them album by album.”
Dillon borrowed a truck to pick up the albums and take them home. The load-out was uneventful and was not interrupted by the DEA, which was apparently uninterested in the hundreds of pounds of residual cannabis and cocaine that resident DJs and visiting record execs chopped up on the album covers during the feel-good decades. —D.X. Ferris