During last week's Third Friday
event at 78th
Street Studios, oWOW
, a professional Internet radio station launched
earlier this year, held an open house for guests to tour their newly completed studio space. The operation was formerly housed in makeshift offices.
The paint was still drying, but oWOW founder John Gorman, the legendary machine behind WMMS's glory years, seemed pleased with the results.
"We wanted an area at least wide enough to ride a horse in," he quipped of the 1,600-square-foot space.
Work began shortly after oWOW launched in February. Steve Kibler was the general contractor. Mark Yager
of Y Design, in collaboration with building owner Dan Bush, designed the space.
"They came up with this funky but chic design. They wanted it to be very cool, but they wanted it to reflect the building as well," said Jim Marchyshyn, director of sales and marketing, "We're really happy with it. Hopefully we'll grow into more space."
"If we have to, we'll go through the wall," added Gorman. Although no one was reaching for a sledgehammer just yet, the station is steadily growing.
"Each week we pick up more listeners," said Gorman," and the listeners stay. The biggest growth is between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Those people are listening at work, which is what we'd hoped to do. The majority of our audience is in Cleveland, Akron and Canton." The station, which runs live programming 12 hours a day, has eight full-time and four part-time employees.
"We have a lot of dedicated people that have put a lot of sweat equity in this," said Marchyshyn.
In addition to expanding its audience, oWOW has adopted a couple of mascots
and partnered with other area arts and culture events
such as the popular summer mainstay event Wade Oval Wednesdays. They've also welcomed
Steve Bossin as director of business development. He's been tasked with maximizing advertising.
"He's got a lot of experience in Cleveland radio," said Marchyshyn.
The past months haven't been completely smooth. Early on, the staff realized its operating system, described by Marchyshyn as the "brain that controlled everything," wasn't as sophisticated as it needed to be. "It didn't work. We realized that very quickly," he said of the previous system, which he declined to name. The replacement, however, is an RCS
Hence, when Steve Pappas queues up the Led Zeppelin/James Brown mash-up "Whole Lotta Sex Machine," Springsteen's "Born to Run" and Murray Saul's notorious call to "get down" every Friday at 5 p.m., it all goes off without a hitch.
"That signals to our audience," said Pappas, "it is officially the weekend."