50 Years of The Buzzard!


Cleveland Stories Dinner Parties

  • Venue:Supper Club
  • Showtime:7:00 pm
  • Doors open:5:00 pm
  • Free Admission, Table Reservations Required
  • Free Entry

Storytellers: David Helton, John Gorman & Denny Sanders

WMMS Buzzard


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
  • In addition to our regular menu, a Prix Fixe 3-course dinner special is available for just $25
  • This week’s special
    • Chopped Salad with Garlic Vinaigrette
    • Fried Chicken and Mashed Potatoes
    • Peanut Butter Pie


Story topic this week…

50 Years of The Buzzard!
No radio mascot is iconic as the WMMMS Buzzard. What started as a drawing on a complaint card that David Helton sent to John Gorman, evolved into a memorable logo making it’s first appearance on April 16, 1974 in the alt weekly Zeppelin. Over time, the buzzard was cleaned up a bit with a haircut and a shave to become the image we all know today. The buzzard has graced many t-shirts, bumper stickers, and coffee mugs over the years, and has become symbolic with the city of Cleveland.


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!

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.

Gorman also founded a media consultancy, Gorman Media and conferred radio stations and program syndicators throughout the U.S., including New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Detroit, Salt Lake City, and Buffalo and was a consultant to regional political campaigns. In 2000, he founded Radio Crow, an online portal for listening to worldwide radio stations and a precursor to TuneIn and RadioNet.

In 2007, Gorman’s book, The Buzzard, a memoir of his years with WMMS was released, which became a regional number one bestselling book. 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 had a six-year run but ceased broadcasting due to advertising losses during the pandemic. WOW Media remains active and plans to return to online broadcasting later this year.

Among other accolades, Gorman has been named the Pop Music Survey’s 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.

Denny Sanders Bio

Denny began his career at the M.I.T. radio station in Cambridge, Massachusetts (then called WTBS, now WMBR) in 1969 and after stops at WNTN and some fill-in work at WBCN, he arrived at WMMS in Cleveland in October 1971 where he remained until August 1986. Denny was consistently rated the #1 nighttime radio personality in Northeast Ohio, as well as working behind the scenes as the producer/director of the popular “Coffee Break Concert” series. Later, after an abbreviated run at WNCX, Denny spent the next 13 years at WMJI, eventually becoming Program Director. From there, he joined The Telos Alliance, an international broadcast equipment design company as an executive for the next 17 years. Finally, after acting as music consultant for WDLW in Lorain for 3 years after departing Telos, Denny retired. You can check Denny’s website: dennysanders.com for some cool pictures, audio and video, interviews, as well as some of the articles that he wrote for various publications.

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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