Rock 'n' Roll Revival

Seven years after disappearing from your radio dial, Pat "The Producer" Johnson and his "Inner Sanctum" Sunday-night local music show are back on the city's airwaves.

It’s still a few hours before “Inner Sanctum” takes over 92.3 K-ROCK’s airwaves for the evening, but Pat “The Producer” Johnson is already buzzing with anticipation. He pops CDs in one after the other, showing off what’s ended up in his mailbag lately.

“We’re getting a lot of great stuff,” he says of the submissions from local bands hoping to get airplay on a CBS radio station. “There’s a diversity of really great talent here.”

"There's a diversity of really great talent here, " says Pat, who now showcases local bands on 92.3 K-Rock.
Photo by Thom Sivo

The way he sees it, the city is set for a rock ’n’ roll comeback — a wave of talent that demands attention.

“We’re right on the verge,” he says. “There’s a big metal fan base that follows bands like Mushroomhead and Disengage. There’s Kate Voegele for pop talent and there’s a lot of underground punk. … Cleveland could have a bunch of mini-explosions rather than just one type of music [getting attention].”

The recent comeback of the “Inner Sanctum,” a popular local music show Pat hosted on alternative-rock station 107.9 The End for six years during the 1990s, could help light the fuse.

Created in 1993 as a way to promote the city’s rock scene, the show ended up a casualty of shifting musical attitudes. In May 1999, The End — one of only five alternative rock stations in the nation when it went on the air in 1992, Pat says — was replaced by a hip-hop format.

Pat left radio after that, created Web sites and became the baker at Ohio City’s Flying Fig, where he works today.

Then last year, burned out on rap-rock, 92.3 Xtreme Radio was looking to make a change. Program director Kim Monroe planned a “Smells Like The End” weekend, featuring the music and deejays from the days of 107.9 The End, including Pat and “Inner Sanctum.”

That weekend stint ultimately returned “Inner Sanctum” to a Sunday 8 to 10 p.m. time slot on the renamed 92.3 K-ROCK. Former co-host Jim Benson has also returned to the show, which features in-studio performances and music Pat says surpasses what bands were sending in 10 years ago.

“It’s a direct result of the technology that’s now available,” he says.

Maybe the do-it-yourself, MySpace-fueled environment the rock industry now calls home will finally give Cleveland bands their due. The broadband world the radio industry lives in has already done that for “Inner Sanctum,” at least according to one e-mail Pat has received since the show’s return, from a former Clevelander living in London: “Wow. Can’t believe you’re back. … Now I can hip these English to what’s cool.”

Pat’s Picks
10 songs by Cleveland bands that are grabbing his attention (in no particular order):

Kate Voegele, “On Top of the World”

The Black Keys, “Just a Little Heat”

Disengage, “Pharmacyland”

Roue, “Some Future, Some Despair”

Nicholas Megalis, “Oh Woman”

The New Lou Reeds, “Looking for a Boogaloo”

Minor Setback, “Molly”

This Moment in Black History, “Tape Don’t Lie”

Us Who Are They, “You’ll Know Soon Enough”

Chris Allen, “Tilt a Whirl”

For more information, visit

Share this story: