CLEVELAND - In my high school days at St. Ed's in Lakewood, John Lanigan on the radio woke me up and made me smile. My neighbor, Russ Erny, was a big fan of Lanigan and had him on his car radio as we winded through the streets of West Park and Lakewood.
Lanigan was the morning man for 1220/WGAR from very early in the 70s to 1983. The station was a powerhouse when AM radio dominated the industry. Lanigan came to Cleveland replacing Don Imus and radio listeners here have been treated to one of the best ever since.
Lanigan played music, had big names in for interviews and did schtick. Comedy, entertainment, music and jingles took Lanigan and WGAR to the top.
A few items in Lanigan's entertainment bag of tricks were the "Flex Club" a double-entendre filled dedication segment, the "I Can't Get a Witness Newsreel" (a take off of our TV 5 Eyewitness Newsreel) and his hand off to mid-morning jock Joe Mayer at 10 a.m.; poor Joe spent 5 minutes snorting and laughing at Lanigan's quick wit.
The video in our player shows a few moments in the 70s and 80s from Lanigan's career.
First, and this clip has no sound, Lanigan at WGAR bet the morning man at WGR in Buffalo on the outcome of the Browns/Bills football game - the loser had to change a billboard to the winner's call letters.
The Browns lost in 1981. Lanigan did a live remote from an "A"-less billboard. I recall another time Lanigan and the Browns lost - Lanigan did his show from the huge billboard along the Innerbelt on a miserbly cold morning with the "A" covered up.
Next in our player, his second to the last day on WGAR. We hear Lanigan's destinctive laugh throughout this clip. This was the next-to-last day on WGAR. Lanigan was leaving Cleveland in 1983 to do radio in Tampa.
The Tampa gig was a short one and he came to WMJI in 1985.
Finally, film from the 70s of Lanigan on remote at Randall Park Mall during the station's radiothon.