Mr. Classic Says Goodbye To WNCX

It's Been a Long Beautiful Run

August 3, 2018

It's been a long beautiful run.  Let's all wish our brother Mr. Classic well! Read his goodbye letter and watch some videos of his last show below:

It all began the first day of June 1987 when my friend and I started at 98.5 WNCX. At that time the station was in a state of change, moving towards a Classic Hits format. I came in as a sales person with an agreement to take over as the sales manager, allowing the existing manager to return to the Detroit station. However the station was sold to a new company and that plan changed. 

At the same time WNCX was helping out and advertising the All Nations Festival on Mall C. I had arranged for one of the disc jockeys to appear on stage, tell a few jokes and introduce the band. He was a no show, so I took the initiative to do it myself. Turned out the station program director was in the crowd. He came up to me and told me that was fantastic and asked what else was going on. 

After some conversation he noticed about 12 ladies in tank tops and shorts checking in with me holding pens and clipboards. I explained that they were getting signatures for a petition to bring the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to Cleveland instead of a competing city. The program director asked if that was a function of WNCX.  I said no, those ladies all work for me, at my expense. 

Equipped with all that knowledge, the program director asked me to come into the studio that night to share with WNCX listeners what was happening with the All Nations Festival, the band, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame drive and more. In the studio he went to introduce me and choose not to use my real name, which might have given me an advantage over other station salesmen. He introduced me as Mr.Classic. After a few breaks he said, "you have done this before haven't you?"  I replied that yes, I worked at a Columbus radio station. After a couple more hours he asked if I would enjoy doing the Saturday Night Live House Party. I replied yes, and as they say, the rest was history. 

The show started growing and taking shape as a premium request spot on the weekend, expanding in popularity. Then a wonderful event took place. Bill Louis came to WNCX. That first night together was magic. Bill and I had both been Clevelanders, both went to Catholic Grade Schools, and found out we went to a lot of concerts together, just never met until The Saturday Night Live House Party. 

There was and still is an outstanding chemistry between the two of us. We shared our musical experiences; music likes and dislikes and reached a point where we thought the music on Saturday Night should be expanded. The chemistry and fun spilled over on the show and airwaves. Within a year Cleveland's most popular weekend radio show on wmess was pulled and the Saturday Night Live House Party became the dominating factor on the weekends. 

Over the years Bill let the Saturday Night Live House Party become the program director and the boss and WNCX just got better. We played with different disc jockeys as co-hosts along with a two year stretch with The Ghoul (Ron Sweed). All those were fun, having their place and time. 

But the Saturday Night Live House Party wasn't really about the hosts or the jokes. It was about the music and the listeners. Going in on Saturdays wasn't work. It was getting together with 10's of thousands of my friends and having a party. I came to the studio on Saturdays not to earn a paycheck, but to entertain. 

The Saturday Night Live House Party has been about sharing great music, local fun and a laugh or two. Averaging 300 calls a night, with time to play only 50-60 requests, some listeners did not get their song on the air. However, with over 1600 Saturday Night Live House Parties, you got your request sooner or later. 

I have met a great number of fans, admirers and music nuts over the last 31 years. I learned a great deal from all of you and hopefully you might have learned a thing or two from me. I leave you a great station. Perhaps a Hawaii Saturday Night Live House Party might show up. Note a 6 hour difference during day light savings 5 hour otherwise. You never know, or one of my favorite sayings, you don't know what you don't know. 

But I do know I will miss all of you, the staff at WNCX, my town Cleveland, my state Ohio. 

Rock on Forever 

Walter Garrett 

Check out some moments from his farewell show below: