New Year's Day marks the 35th year of 97.5 WONE's existence. On that first day of 1985, the dial position switched from an easy listening station known as WAEZ, "EZ-97" to a classic adult rock format that offered "more variety and less repitition." It began at 6am with the on-air announcement of the format change from our then-General Manager Fred Anthony and it has been our tradition to replay that first announcement every new years since at the same time. It is followed by our first morning show host Deeya Mckay introducing Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock & Roll" on the "New ONE."
I was hired here a few weeks before the switch and was a member of the original air staff as the midday jock, (10am-3pm). We blew it out that day and for a couple years after with a very wide and diverse library of tunes. I got to work for great folks who knew how to fill the hole of what was missing in the northeast Ohio radio landscape. Group One was our local owner and under the direction of Roger Berk, Jr. to Art Wander and Ward Holmes, they presided over a young air staff that consisted of Deeya, Rich Barnett on news, me at midday, Mike McKelly on afternoon drive, Jim Chenot at night, and Danny Slentz overnights. We all pulled weekend shifts along with two part timers: Dave Sharp and Jeff Daniels, AKA JD. Close friendships were forged and we all really cared for how the station sounded.
Ownership change came a couple years in and with that, some of the jocks went on to pursue other jobs elsewhere including me. I stayed with Group One and became an on camera weatherman on WAKC TV 23. I missed radio so I came back as a part timer for a short time before eventually being wooed back full time in 1994 to work for Rubber City Radio Group, another local company who still holds the keys to the kingdom to this day. My return allowed me to work for JD Kunes, who had become our program director by then, and with the beloved Jim Chenot; a genuine character with a sweet side who I miss to this day.
If it were all to end tomorrow, I could honestly say I am proud of what WONE has accomplished in her three and a half decades. In this day of numerous format shifts, she has stayed true to the original rock focus she was born with. I'm also proud of the roles I've played and my de facto status as "station historian."
Above it all, we will always be eternally grateful to you the listeners who have always made us feel like family. Thank you and Happy Birthday WONE!
Attached is a picture from an early billboard campaign and despite what you see, our heads were never that big nor were our egos that inflated. We strived to remain humble in spite of our brilliance. (Jocks from left to right: Mike McKelly, Tim Daugherty, Jim Chenot, Deeya McKay, Brett Summers).