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Fred Wolf


Fred Wolf

Fred Wolf was known as "Cleveland's pioneer of good music".  As general manager of WDOK radio he stressed music as an agent of calm in a world filled with tension.   Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, Wolf was a graduate of that city's Commercial Academy before taking work in the offices of Krupp Steel.   At 24, Wolf visited Cleveland for the first time in 1927 on a one-year visa taking a job as a junior editor on the Czech daily newspaper, the American. He returned to Czechoslovakia for a short time before emigrating back to Cleveland in 1929 for more newspaper work and to host a Bohemian radio show on WHK.  A year later Wolf found work as a secretary at Vlcheck Tool Company, but broadcasting was in his blood and he moonlighted at WJAY.  It was a busy day working for Vlcheck until noon, and then selling ads for his Czech program which he pre-recorded twice a week.  His theme song was a personal favorite, "Stars Over Prague."

 

By 1934 Wolf founded the Cleveland Recording Company, and that same year formed an organization joining all of the city's 18 foreign programmers in the Nationalities Broadcasting Association.  The Plain Dealer bought WJAY in 1936, and Wolf moved his operations to WGAR.  He wasn't content to work for someone else and in 1947 Wolf moved his recording studio to the Loew's Building at 1515 Euclid Avenue and applied for a radio license.   On April 30, 1950 Wolf cut the ribbon to open WDOK for business.

The station had rough sailing at first.  Television was making its way into homes and Wolf's Civic Broadcasters, Inc., lost $60,000 in the first eight months of operation.  But Wolf and his partners stayed the course with "Better Music for Northern Ohio" and by 1957 the sea of red ink turned black.  In 1962 Wolf sold WDOK and his recording company to Transcontinent Television Corporation of New York, staying on as director until 1965.  Fred Wolf died in September 1972 at the age of 70

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