In his new tell-all, Radio Daze: Stories From the Front in Cleveland's FM Air Wars, Olszewski chronicles how a once-insignificant WMMS became a ratings blowtorch and an icon synonymous with Cleveland. The 468-page book comes to life Saturday at Radio Daze, where legendary jocks -- including Matt "the Cat" Lapczynski and Denny Sanders -- take the Agora stage to introduce local bands (including Easy Street and the Dave Bacha Band) and autograph copies of the book.
They'll revisit the early '70s, when WNCR became the "electronic backyard fence" for those who "had long hair, smoked dope, evaded the draft, and got pregnant," as former WNCR DJ Ginger Sutton puts it. As FM radio aged, the mud continued to fly. In the summer of 1994, Howard Stern was in town to hang effigies of WMJI's John Lanigan and WMMS's Jeff & Flash, his morning-show rivals. News of the stunt made the cover of Scene, and WMMS retaliated by grabbing every copy in town and hiding them in its prize closet. A station engineer even snipped the cables to Stern's live show, cutting his broadcast off the air.
"The saying [there] . . . was 'We don't go to work. We go to war,'" Olszewski says. "Sending rats or coffins to competitors . . . indicates just how in-your-face the radio wars became."