Few people can say they knew exactly what they wanted to do with their lives when they’re still in high school, but Mike Olszewski knew earlier than that. He set his sights on a career in broadcast media. As a kid in Cleveland, Mike saw his grandmother enjoying the last of the radio dramas in the Fifties and Sixties, and sometimes sat in wonder listening to a tiny shortwave set through a plastic ear piece. Plus, born during the “baby boom", Mike was part of the first TV generation in the 1950s. As he puts it, “One set for the whole family, three channels in black and white, and the broadcast day started and ended with the National Anthem. I got hooked on the tube from the start!” The events of that era, the space race, the Cuban missile crisis, the Kennedy administration, “Beatlemania”, and so many others, got Mike hooked on radio and TV, and he never looked back.
A high school senior in 1971, and anxious to start a career in the media, Mike walked a few blocks (51 to be precise) from Public Square to the WMMS studios on Euclid Avenue, in search of an internship. One problem: The radio station didn’t have a receptionist on Saturdays! But that didn’t stop Mike.
After a few years of work and school, he signed on at WERE, “Cleveland’s Newsradio 13”, in 1977, and learned from some of the greats in the business. In that time he rose from intern, to reporter, to afternoon anchor, and covered events ranging from political conventions to White House press conferences. Despite very tight security, Mike broke the story in May of 1986 confirming that Cleveland would be the site of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when he cornered board member Clive Davis live on the ABC Talkradio Network, and the story went worldwide.
Mike moved on to WRMR and WLTF in 1987, and in March 1988 he again found himself at the doors of WMMS and WHK, but this time they approached him. While at the “Buzzard”, Mike interviewed personalities ranging from Paul McCartney to David Bowie, and Mick Jagger to Pete Townsend (among many others), and anchored the station’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame coverage via satellite from New York. Among the many awards he won at that time include top honors from United Press International, the Associated Press, Women in Communications, the Radio Television Council of Greater Cleveland, and the Press Club / Sigma Delta Chi awards. Mike also won national awards from the Associated Press, and the International Radio Festival of New York. In addition, he broke the story that Guns ‘n Roses had included a Charles Manson song on its album, “The Spaghetti Incident”, which got headlines around the globe, and hosted “The Source Report” on a regular basis for NBC Radio’s young adult network, along with reports for Voice of America and VOA / Europe. Mike also hosted the live special “Radio Free Aerosmith” to an international audience numbering in the millions from the Richfield Coliseum (with MTV’s ”Beavis and Butthead”.)
In 1994, after much soul searching, Mike decided to try television, and went on to WUAB and WOIO-TV. There he produced and co-anchored the station’s coverage of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opening (with inductee Mary Wilson of the Supremes), and conducted the final interview with TV legend Ernie “Ghoulardi” Anderson. TV at that time never seemed as much fun as radio, and Mike returned to the medium for stints at WMMS, WZJM, WKNR, and WNCX.
Along with his many interests, Mike has written or helped author several books, including Radio Daze: Stories from the Front in Cleveland’s FM Air Wars (Kent State University Press, 2003) as well as articles for publications including Filmfax, Outre, Masters of Rock, Cleveland Magazine, Today’s Rock Fax, and others. Plus, he’s a 2002 inductee into the Radio / Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame, a 2003 inductee into the Ohio Broadcasters Hall of Fame, a 1994 inductee in the Bedford High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame, and recipient of numerous honors from the state, county and local governments.
Mike is also the co-author of the book WIXY 1260: Pixies, Six-Packs and Supermen (Kent State University Press / Black Squirrel), and founder, curator and archivist for the Ohio Broadcast Archive and Museum at the University of Akron."
He is also working with the very well respected Streamlab Tech and Gemini production houses on a number of television programs for national distribution, and is the founder of the “Cleveland Broadcast Archive”, an internet museum and information source focusing on Northeast Ohio’s long radio and television history. He also teaches media courses at Kent State University, along with his graduate studies.
OFFICESchool of Journalism and Mass Communication
CONTACT INFOPhone: 330-672-3114
COURSES TEACHINGFall 2014
- JMC 20001 - 002 Media , Power And Culture
- JMC 40095 - 020 St : Pop Mus Cult Mid 60s
- JMC 20001 - 400 Media , Power And Culture