CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The man who helped bring Rock 'n Roll into the mainstream on the television show, "American Bandstand," passed away Wednesday. News of Dick Clark's death has some Clevelanders remembering a talented visionary and a gracious man.
Former Cleveland Disc Jockey Billy Bass said his first connection to Dick Clark was like many teenagers, watching American Bandstand when he was in high school, in the late 50's. In the 70's, Bass was a Record Marketer in L.A. and would take acts to be on "American Bandstand."
That's when he met the man who inspired him to become a DJ.
"He was the coolest, smartest dude I had ever met in the record business," Bass told Fox 8 News.
Bass said Clark knew everyone's name. "He was the perfect host. You felt like a million dollars ... like you were the most important act in the business whenever you went to do his show."
John Gorman has been in radio for nearly 50 years and was Vice President of Operations for WMMS in its glory days. He called Clark an innovator who knew how to make media better.
"The Grammys for a few years, they really weren't living up to where music was. So, (Clark) started the American music awards which was younger, hipper, more in style," Gorman said.
Gorman attended a party at Clark's California home in 1994. Clark was launching a new radio syndication company. "He was just a very knowledgeable, friendly guy who really enjoyed being around. When you were with him, he would treat you like an old friend," Gorman recalled.
When Dick Clark came to Channel 8 in 1990, our own Dick Goddard presented him with a Wollybear Sticker. The photo is included in Goddard's latest book. *See below picture
Both Gorman and Bass said Clark had great insight into American Culture.
"He had his finger on the pulse of teenage America. He knew what we wanted to hear at the time," Bass said.
"I don't think we will see another person who was so well-rounded in media," Gorman added.