Posted March 26, 2014 by Sam in CLE

Dave Jingo: Helping The Buzzard’s legacy rock on

Buzzard Film Logo
Buzzard Film Logo

Dave Jingo grew up in Canton, Ohio. The soundtrack to his adolescence was provided by iconic Cleveland radio station WMMS 100.7FM. A lifelong rock fan, Dave hopes to pay homage to themusic that moved him and the frequency that delivered those life-changing tunes with a new documentary project, The Story of WMMS FM “The Buzzard.”

Jingo started out as a video editor and producer for television andmore commercial projects before turning to big screen, IMDB-recognized entertainment. “After the crash of 2008, when the money wasn’t there and the technology changed, I realized I needed to alter my business strategy,” he says. Since then, Dave co-directed Thirteen and O: The Story of the 1981 Canton McKinley Bulldogs with his brother.He also did post-production for The Yank, a feature film shot in Cleveland.“I wanted to do something I really liked and I like films and documentaries. Now that I have a few under my belt, I think I am well on the way to reinvention.”

We talked to Dave about the glory days of terrestrial radio in the “rock and roll capital of the world” and what it takes to make a movie about it last week.

How did this come about?
I grew up in Northeast Ohio a big music fan and a huge WMMS fan. The station really shaped me early on in terms of my musical tastes and my musical knowledge. I read John Gorman’s book [The Buzzard] several years ago and I really enjoyed it. It brought back good memories. I contacted John through social media and we ended up having a few lunch meetings. We talked about the scope of a WMMS documentary featuring their heyday—you know, the 1970s into early 1980s. He liked the idea of a film and my vision for it, which was to have it pulled from the fans’ points of view. We both decided to give a shot. I put together a promo piece with a few truncated interviews. We spent a day getting a little taste of what’s out there and we wove what we got together into a 6-minute demo.

Why is WMMS important to you?
Like I said, I grew up here. I loved everything about Cleveland—the Browns, the Cavs, the Indians, Big Chuck and Little John, Hoolihan . . . I’ve always been a fan. Sometimes this town can get beat up in the media and I think that isn’t always deserved. There are so many things that have come out of this city to be proud of and I wanted to highlight some of those positive stories. This one happens to be near and dear to my heart. I have a very personal reference so I am excited to share it.

Why do you think Cleveland and this station were so important to rock history?
I think it was kind of the perfect storm. There was so much rock music coming out at that time; it was a tidalwave of creativity. And Cleveland had always been a music mecca—even before rock ‘n’ roll. There are a lot of ethnic groups here and lot of different types of music being performed and supported. Of course we had deejay Alan Freed, who is credited for coining the term rock ‘n’ roll. So, in Cleveland there was a passionate base of largely blue collar people who really enjoyed their music. With WMMS there was a group of forward-thinking people who were aggressive, who were masters of promotion and who clearly were not afraid to play a band that no one had ever heard of at the time. This music town just ate that up.

You had groups that weren’t successful anywhere else but when they came to Cleveland it was just a frenzy—you know, bands like Bruce Springsteen, Rush, Roxy Music and David Bowie. 

Who were the deejays at that time?
The man behind the scenes, John Gorman, came to the station in 1973.Denny Sanders came from Boston around that same time. And there was a lot of up-and-coming radio talent here in Cleveland. Guys like Matt the Cat, Kid Leo, Ed “Flash” Ferenc and Jeff Kinzbach all ended up at WMMS. That lineup stayed intact for, I want to say 10 years, if not longer. It was a pretty amazing run.

Who do you hope to include in the movie?
We already know the deejays are onboard. John Gorman is involved, of course. We’re also always connecting with fans that have great stories about what WMMS meant to them. Now we’re trying to see whether or not we can get interest from some of the bands. You know that WMMS launched a lot of careers and there are a lot of people out there who are grateful for that. We are trying to contact them to see if they would be interviewed.We don’t think it’s just a local story—especially if we can get some of these big acts to weigh in. Then it really becomes documentation of rock ‘n’ roll history.

What are your next steps?
We’ve put a team of people together who are interested in seeing the documentary come to fruition. It’s all in some way very reminiscent of the fans of the bands and the station back then. There’s an energy. These people are passionate. Right now we have a Facebook group—WMMS Buzzard Film–with more than 200 members who are sharing their memories and photos of memorabilia they have. There’s a lot of excitement there.

We’re just getting to the point of asking for financial contributions to get this done. We have a 501(c)(3) all set up through a company called Fractured Atlas.  People can make donations to the project through that website and it’s totally tax deductible.

Why did you choose the nonprofit route versus say a Kickstarter campaign for this creative project?
Crowdfunding is not off the table. Fractured Atlas is affiliated with Indiegogo. The reason I chose Fractured Atlas is that the budget, while very small by any film standards, is bigger than some independent artistic projects that I have seen on Kickstarter. There are a lot of people that grew up in Cleveland that might want to contribute to this though, I think.

When do you expect this to be done and where can people go to make a donation and help make it happen?
By the time we get fully funded—and I don’t know when that’s going to be—it could be released a year from then. Right now, we want to let people know about it. We have a logo designed by artist and illustrator David Helton who did all the WMMS art in the ‘70s. Anyone who has photos, video, audio or memorabilia to share can email [email protected]. Fans who want to learn more about making a donation should visit Fractured Atlas here


Sam is live-music -loving vegetarian communications professional with an entertainment, travel and tourism background. A restless soul, Sam believes in getting out there and doing things because you only go around once but knows she could benefit from a little more sleep. Give her a reason to see a movie, catch a concert or explore a new destination at [email protected].