The Voices of WIXY 1260
Before FM took over the airwaves, before WMMS became the undisputed champ of Cleveland rock radio, WIXY 1260 AM ruled. Here’s what some of your favorite personalities from the past are up to now.
Young couples may best know Billy Bass as the guy who took their wedding pictures. The former disc jockey opened Billy Bass Photography when he left his final on-air gig at WKBT in 2003.
“It was really a hobby that turned into a business once I got to that age where one must reinvent himself,” the divorced 68-year-old says.
Bass’s incredible radio and music-business career included stints heading up Elton John’s Rocket Records label and developing acts such as Blondie as a senior vice president for Chrysalis Records.
But some of us will always remember him as the DJ who broke away from WIXY’s Top 40 format and played “the music the hip kids really wanted to listen to” — Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Santana — from 6 to 10 p.m. every Sunday.
10 a.m.-2 p.m., 1972-1974
Bob Shannon (real name R.J. Adams) owns and operates The Actors Workshop, an acting school based in Orange County, Calif., that he opened in 1980. Adams has also appeared in TV shows and films ranging from Murder, She Wrote to Rocky IV.
“I never intended to become an acting coach,” the 63-year-old married father of four says. “But it’s been really big for me.”
Adams preferred spending time with his family to hanging out with pop stars during his time at WIXY. But he treasures the time he spent with Jim Croce at a 1973 promotional event the night before he died in a plane crash.
“The two of us just started talking about raising families, things like that,” Adams says. “He was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.”
midnight-6 a.m., 1968-1969
The man once known as “Cleveland’s Most Eligible Bachelor” is working on an autobiography and doing voice-overs for television and radio commercials in his suburban Cincinnati home studio after 40 years in radio.
Although he’s been happily married to his wife, Sally, for 34 years, the 67-year-old father of two admits there were advantages to being a single guy on the air at WIXY.
His most memorable moment was officiating a 1968 search at East Ninth Street and Euclid Avenue for a Cleveland woman with a bust measurement that matched or surpassed that of a female so well-endowed that she had made news for the stir she created while walking down Wall Street in New York City. “I was pretty excited,” LaBarbara recalls.
10 a.m. - 3 p.m., 1966-1972
Larry Morrow is WIXY’s most enduring on-air personality. Many listeners called him “the Duker,” a variant of the “Duke Windsor” nickname he got at CKLW in Canada.
Since Morrow left his last local radio job at Q104 in 2000, he has focused on speaking engagements and leadership training for his Larry Morrow Group, which counts the Cleveland Clinic among its clients. He returned to the airwaves in 2006 to host a semiweekly afternoon show for Sirius satellite radio, but quit after 18 months.
“When you’re on the air in Cleveland, you have an audience that you can talk to — you know the streets, you know the sports teams,” he explains. “When you’re broadcasting nationally, they can’t call in and talk to you about those things.”
10 p.m.-2 a.m., 1974-1975
old disc jockey known for his wild-and-crazy style now has a syndicated daily show carried by more than 200 classic-hits stations on the ABC radio network. (Tom Kent airs live from 8 p.m. to midnight weekdays on Majic 105.7.)
Kent does the broadcasts from his home in Cleveland’s southeastern suburbs — a fact that may surprise anyone who knew the North Carolina native when he first arrived at WIXY.
“I had never been up North before, and I absolutely hated it,” he says. “It snowed every day!” He didn’t develop affection for the city until he returned as WGCL-FM’s afternoon drive-time man in 1978 and met his wife, Karen, in the sales department. “When I fell in love with her, I fell in love with Cleveland.”
The Voices of WIXY 1260
12:00 AM EST
November 20, 2009