Few people could stir the imaginations of radio listeners like Wayne Mack. Born Vainar Ilmar Mackey in Ashtabula, Mack started his radio career at WJAY radio in Cleveland in 1931. He planned to attend drama school in New York and took the job to raise money for tuiition, but opportunities came fast. Mack was offered a position after the sudden departure of a staff announcer. He would stay on the air for the better part of sixty years. His rich voice and folksy style made him an instant favorite, and his talents also extended to network radio. Mack wrote and produced "Wings Over Jordan" for CBS and won a Peabody Award for his pieces on local music.
By 1934 Mack found himself at WGAR where he stayed until 1950, working with another local born legend Jack Paar. He was later hired at WDOK where his creativity in setting moods fictitious situations were put to good use in his "theater of the mind" programs, "Home Town Park" and the "Waltz Palace". Both programs showcased musical acts in a make believe world at locations overseeing downtown Cleveland. Mack's descriptions were so vivid and his use of sound so effective that WDOK's switchboards would be jammed with callers asking directions to his live broadcasts. When WDOK-AM became WIXY in the mid-Sixties Wayne moved to the FM sister station where his voice became synonymous with the lands of the Western Reserve.
1981 saw Mack join the staff at WCLV hosting "The Noon Program" and an 1992 "The Palace Ballroom on Lake Erie" on WRMR. The "Palace" was a rereation of his "Waltz Palace" shows and drew the same interest from listeners hoping to attend the grand presentations "just twenty miles out of town". Mack was the recipient of many honors and awards over the years, including the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists' gold membership card in 1982.
Wayne Mack died on October 15, 2000 at the age of 89, but for generations of listeners he is still hosting ballroom events in a place not far from the city he loved.
(Source: Plain Dealer, October 17, 2000.)