EC horror comics, Fritz the Cat, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and Looney Tunes – all served as inspirations for the "bird of prey with attitude" concept.The station was known as "The Home of the Buzzard" at first.Metro Media found major success with progressive rock at KMET/Los Angeles, KSAN/San Francisco, WMMR/Philadelphia and WNEW-FM/New York, but low ratings and revenue in Cleveland led the company to drop the format at WMMS by May 1969.The station first turned to adult contemporary, then Top 40, big band and finally the Drake-Chenault automated Hit Parade '69.Rather, WMMS adopted a buzzard as its mascot in April 1974 because of the then tenuous economic state of Cleveland – less than five years away from becoming the first major American city to enter into default since the Great Depression – and the winged-creature's classification as a scavenger.In other words, the carrion-eating bird represented "death and dying" – a darkly comic reflection of the city's decline.
WHK-FM became one of a handful of commercial stations in the country to try that format, many of which were owned by Metro Media.
Based on considerably high record sales in the Cleveland market, Bowie (in his Ziggy Stardust persona alongside The Spiders from Mars) kicked off his first U. tour in "The Rock Capital" (a term coined by Bass).
In November 1972, WMMS was sold to Malrite Communications, a Michigan-based firm that relocated to Cleveland upon purchase.
A federal offense, the act nearly cost WMMS its broadcasting license.
radio station WHK – owned at that time by United Broadcasting Company, a subsidiary of Forest City Publishing, itself the parent company of The Plain Dealer – launched an experimental FM station under the callsign W8XUB at 107.1 megahertz (MHz).