Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
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Ex-Toledo radio exec seeks lively reunion


Peter Cavanaugh

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Former Toledo radio broadcasting executive Peter Cavanaugh is planning a meet-up with friends when he hosts what he’s calling an “informal Toledo Radio Reunion” today at a downtown restaurant.

The purely social event will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. at Manhattan’s Restaurant, 1516 Adams St., with a cash bar and no cover.

Mr. Cavanaugh was executive vice president and chief operating officer of Reams Broadcasting from 1983 through 1992, when it owned WIOT-FM (104.7) and WCWA-AM (1230), and helped in the careers of some of Toledo’s best-known radio on-air personalities.

“Some of my favorite career memories are from WIOT and WCWA,” he said, “and especially our Rallies by the River in the ’80s and early ’90s and our fireworks on the Maumee [River].”

Mr. Cavanaugh was then vice president and general manager of WSPD-AM (1370) and WLQR-FM/AM (106.5 and 1470) in 1994 through the middle of 1995. Between those gigs, he took some time off and traveled in Ireland.

Mr. Cavanaugh said he’s reached out to some of his old friends, including Toledo Irish musician John Connolly, who broadcasts Echoes of Ireland on WCWA, and is counting on some or all of them coming out to see him and each other.

“Radio people love to talk. You put a whole bunch of them together at the same time; it’ll be bedlam,” Mr. Cavanaugh said Monday.

Rick “Ragtime Rick” Grafing, who met Mr. Cavanaugh as an advertiser for his restaurant Ragtime Rick’s Last Draught and later became a radio host on WCWA, said Mr. Cavanaugh had a big impact on Toledo broadcasting, even though he was not well-known to the general public.

“The guys in Toledo were a big fraternity even though they were on competing stations,” Mr. Grafing said. “And having one of the big guys coming back into town was just a special occasion as far as we were all concerned.”

Among those Mr. Cavanaugh invited and hopes to see are former WIOT personalities Jeff Lamb and Mark Benson, Becky Shock and Bob Kelly of WRQN-FM, former WIOT program director Lyn Casye, as well as Mr. Grafing and Mr. Connolly.

Mr. Cavanaugh, 71, a private broadcast consultant and writer for McClatchy Newspapers, lives with his wife, Eileen, in Oakhurst, Calif.

Unlike most of the political radio programming heard in Toledo, Mr. Cavanaugh hails from the left side of the political spectrum. He’s chairman of a Democratic political club in California and proudly claims credit for giving liberal movie producer Michael Moore his break in radio in Flint, Mich.

Mr. Cavanaugh started in radio in 1957 at the age of 16 in his hometown of Syracuse, N.Y. He spent time in Utica, N.Y., Des Moines, Iowa, and Flint before his stint in Toledo.

He’s been inducted to the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and has chronicled his career in rock’s heyday in the book Local DJ: A Rock 'N' Roll History.

Contact Tom Troy at: or 419-724-6058.

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