Veteran Cleveland talk radio host Merle Pollis has passed away at the age of 69. The Plain Dealer's Alana Baranick reports that he died of respiratory failure at the Cleveland Clinic.
Pollis had a place on just about every talk radio station there was since his Cleveland arrival in 1973, as part of the original "People Power" talk format on WERE/1300, which is now running Radio One's urban talk format.
Your Primary Editorial Voice heard Pollis on two stations - WJW/850 in its talk radio days, and the "SuperTalk 1260" format on then-WBBG/1260. We distinctly remember his regular back and forth time with another WJW talk show host, Joel Rose.
Oddly enough, we don't remember Pollis doing any air time at Akron's WHLO/640, where the Plain Dealer says he had a brief stint. That's odd indeed, as our brain is full of memories from the station's first news/talk format under Susquehanna in the mid-70's...and this is coming from a corner that could name the station's entire weekday lineup without help.
In his final days, Pollis kept his toes in radio, with regular commentaries on Willoughby's WELW/1330...one phoned in from home just a week before his death. Like many "name", once-dynamic hosts in markets like Cleveland, his career ended on a small station that can't be heard in most of the market...which is rather sad, but it's kind of the way radio works these days.
At a time where "liberal talk" is the latest talk radio thing, it's easy to forget that voices like Merle Pollis were doing populist, liberal talk since 1973. Pollis' time doing such talk radio even predates WARF/1350's Joe Finan, who did not start doing talk radio until joining WNIR/100.1 in the mid-80's.