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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).
Like most early FM stations, WHK-FM mostly simulcast the Top 40 programming of its AM sister station.
The WMMS Coffee Break Concerts were booked by Denny Sanders and hosted by Len "Boom" Goldberg, Debbie Ullman, and later, Matt the Cat.
The concert series continued on well into the 1990s and early 2000s, albeit much less frequently.
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.
In 1966, in an effort to make the medium more commercially viable, the U. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandated that FM stations could no longer duplicate the programming of their AM sister stations.
In November 1972, WMMS was sold to Malrite Communications, a Michigan-based firm that relocated to Cleveland upon purchase.
The station also serves as the FM flagship for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Indians radio networks.
Besides a standard analog transmission, WMMS broadcasts over two HD Radio channels, and is available online via i Heart Radio.
Under Malrite ownership, WMMS would become an album-oriented rock (AOR) powerhouse, much in the same vein as its former Metro Media progressive rock siblings.
During this time, WMMS also began broadcasting a remarkable amount of live concerts, many of which originated in Cleveland and were produced by the station itself.
WMMS was the first radio station to employ full-time promotion and marketing directors: Dan Garfinkel and his successor, Jim Marchyshyn.