Show to celebrate Bob Martz’s careerWritten by Michael Drew Shaw | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It was a small building with gray shingles sitting in the middle of a corn field in the South End. Under 1,000 square feet and not much bigger than the old Koral Hamburg on Detroit Avenue. The mailing address was and still is 3225 Arlington Ave. It was in this one story structure that radio history was made.
The building was situated behind Southland Shopping Center at the corner of Byrne and Glendale and was home to SuperTalk 1560 WTOD-AM. With two broadcast towers spiraling skyward only a few hundred yards away, it had the classic look of many famous radio stations in the 1950s and ’60s.
Did you ever see the shack Wolfman Jack did his show from in “American Graffiti?”
It looked just like that.
The station was owned by Booth Broadcasting in Detroit. John Lord Booth, who inherited his fortune from the family newspaper chain, operated seven AM radio stations, including WJLB, his namesake in the Motor City. In Toledo, WTOD stood for “Top of the Dial.”
In 1959, WTOD changed its format to Top 40. Two years later, a wild and brilliant bunch of disc jockeys got together and launched one of the greatest success stories in broadcasting history.
At one point WTOD held a nearly 60 percent share of the total listening audience, according to Hooper, the only reliable rating service at the time. No other station in America could make that claim.
Even more amazing, WTOD was a “daytimer” that was on the air only from sunrise to sunset.
Bob “Mr. Music” Parkinson worked the afternoon show from 2 to 6 p.m. John Garry did the midday show, and the morning man was Bob Martz. A true legend in his own time, Bob would have been 77 in May.
On this week’s May 29 edition of Limelight America and again June 3, we will devote our show to “Bob Martz, A Sentimental Journey,” a tribute originally broadcast in 2008 to mark Bob’s 50th Anniversary in radio.
During the show, you will hear many familiar voices, past and present, talking about Robert F. Martz and the impact he had on Toledo radio. It is a heartwarming and hilarious story, and I hope you will listen.
As Toledo Free Press reported when Bob passed away in 2008, he received induction into the Radio/Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame of Ohio in 2004 for his work, which began as a disc jockey in 1958 at WSPD. He also served as program director and general manger for other local stations.
His penchant for cleverness and ability to stretch a radio station’s limited budget earned him kudos from his audience and his employers.
Limelight America can be heard on Fox Sports Radio 1230 WCWA-AM, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday from 5 to 6 p.m. and online at www.limelightamerica.com.
E-mail Michael Drew Shaw at email@example.com.