Joe Finan
BORN: Butler, Pa. July 6, 1927
DIED: Richmond Heights, Ohio, December 19, 2006
CAUSE OF DEATH: Heart failure
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Joe in the 1950s
"I never met him, but I've known him all my life". That's what many folks said about Joe Finan. You may not have agreed with some, or most of his opinions, but people turned on their radios most weekdays at 3:00 pm, tuned in WNIR, 100.1 FM in the Akron, Ohio listening area and made Joe a big part of their lives. Joe was born in Butler, Pa., the son of Michael and Gertrude Finan. He had two sister, Rosemary and Sheila and a brother, Michael Jr., who passed away before him. Joe attended Carnegie Tech and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. In the 1950s, Joe became a disc jockey for KYW, (now WTAM). He was selected to be the first TV weatherman in history on an 11 PM news program, working for channel 3 out of Cleveland, Ohio. Joe went on to become general manager and part owner of a Denver radio station. In 1963, he developed the 3rd all-rock format in the nation and consistently finished 2nd or 3rd in a difficult 35-station market. In the 1950s, Joe was given first chance to play a record by newcomer, Elvis Presley. As it was too country for his rock and roll format, Joe turned it down. So the honor of playing Elvis' first record went to Bill Randall, who got credit for it. In the '50s, Joe got caught up in the payola scandal that rocked the record and radio industry. In 1959, Joe was subpoenaed to testify before a congressional committee. He admitted to being involved but would not squeal on others. He took the fall for a lot of people and had to leave Cleveland because of it. Joe then became the color voice for the Denver Broncos football team for several years. Joe was a member of AA and helped many others kick alcohol. Because of a speed-reading course years ago, Joe read five newspapers a day. On his radio show, he was a walking encyclopedia of world history and current events. Famed Cleveland weatherman, Dick Goddard said that Joe Finan was his insperation for becoming a TV weatherman. While Dick was in the Navy, he watched Joe Finan on TV. Joe worked with many of the music legends. Little Richard, James Brown, Elvis, Fats Domino, etc. He spent over 60-years in show business. He worked at WNIR radio for 15-years. He retired but came back only about a year later to work as a talk show host for 1350 AM, WARF radio just before his death. Joe Finan just couldn't seem to bring himself to retire.