Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Harry Martin Passes On

Those younger than, say, 50 or 60, may not recognize "Martin and Howard" - a very popular Cleveland radio team of the 1960s at then-KYW/1100...which is today's Clear Channel talk WTAM.

One of the two men who dominated Cleveland morning radio for many years in the 1960s has passed away. Harry Martin died Monday at his Southern California home at the age of 81, reportedly of liver cancer.

We're told that "Martin and Howard" occupied the top rung of Cleveland radio success from their KYW perch from 1962 to 1968, when they moved their highly successful show to Detroit's WXYZ/1270.

From Detroit, "Martin and Howard" traveled separate paths.

While Specs Howard went on to establish the famous broadcasting school so closely associated with Detroit radio, Harry Martin returned to San Diego. "Happy Hare" cemented his legend in that market on his previous radio home, popular San Diego station KCBQ/1170.

Quoting the obituary for Martin from the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper:

He was hired in 1955 to help KCBQ move into the rock 'n' roll age, and he was part of a powerhouse lineup that came to include Shadoe Jackson and Jerry Walker. He stayed with KCBQ through 1960, returning to the station in 1969 after stints in Cleveland and Detroit.

“He was probably in the Top 5 radio personalities in San Diego,” said David Leonard, author of “Aircheck: The Story of Top 40 Radio in San Diego.”

Harry worked into recent years, even, at San Diego area standards stations like Clear Channel's KPOP/1360. He last cracked open the microphone on the Internet - yes, the Internet - at the short-lived online radio station run by the San Diego Union-Tribune's website,

It's in the Union-Tribune article about Harry Martin that we learn that despite his age in recent years, he was very much into new trends and it only fits that he made his professional exit online.

We got the photographs above from the website for the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts, where Mr. Howard's own biographical article has more details and memories of "Martin and Howard"...


david5258 said...

oa--i remember specs and howard growing up in the 60s even tho i paid more attention to hello radio and purtan on the big 8.
over the last 3 years, i have enjoyed hare's memories as he shared the time travel on his weekly blog. his stories about frank sinatra are classic. when he lost his daughter a few months ago, he took it very hard. he was a great story teller and communicator and will be missed. hare was truly a pioneer. david

andrew727 said...

I remember Howard & Martin especially well. They were doing a promotional visit to a park in Brooklyn, Ohio in 1962. If I remember right, they may have been dressed in tuxes that day. They were pretty nice to this ten year-old at the time. Being pretty young, I thought all dj's wore tuxes, got free stuff from the sponcers and drove in big fancy cars. I told them I would be in broadcasting one day. They just smiled and wished me luck. Well my fantasy came through to some degree, I did end up in radio news, I ended up wearing a tux to a few fancy gigs like one at the Theatrical (tuxes were rented by the radio station), and I drove some fancy (at least as Chrysler gets) cars, and yes, Planters peanuts were supplied to one of the stations' Christmas parties held in a second floor conference room. However, pay left a lot to be desired before representation by AFTRA. So I guess some dreams do come true. But over Martin & Howard was a class radio act!-)
- Andrew Boggs, BA, -