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Saturday, May 14, 2011
The Saturday Aircheck
WGAR AM 1220 - Cleveland, Ohio -- Best Of - 1976
The 1220 frequency in Cleveland was the home to AM radio station WGAR for more than 50 years.
In 1970, new management was brought in to WGAR, and both the AM and FM stations made several dramatic moves. Long only on the air for pure technical purposes, WGAR-FM then went to a 24-hour operation as WNCR, and adopted a progressive rock format that was tapped two years earlier by WMMS. The AM side saw a format shift to adult contemporary and several new personalities, including "Emperor Joe" Meyer, Bob Vernon, Chuck Collier (still with 99.5 WGAR-FM today), Norm N. Nite, and Ron Parks. The station's most noteworthy hire was morning host Don Imus. Imus left a little more than a year later to go to WNBC in New York . He was replaced by John Lanigan. Lanigan, who himself was nearly as controversial as Imus, had a very successful run in mornings until he left for a radio station in Tampa prior to returning to Cleveland at WMJI in 1985.
WGAR abandoned adult contemporary for country music on July 15, 1984. WGAR soon simulcast with its FM sister station, which again became WGAR-FM, starting in 1986.