Fig Newton (Dave Newton) on 1220 WGAR Cleveland | June 27, 1980

1220 Cleveland WGAR

Aircheck Courtesy of Big Apple Airchecks - Thanks!Fig Newton… what’s in a name? Plenty, if you’re from northeast Ohio. This is a pretty good morning show, reminiscent of Gary McKee on WQXI Atlanta. But this is Cleveland and WGAR is in it’s last days as a Top 40 station. Indeed, by mid-1980 many of the big and medium AM music stations were dumping their formats for something a bit more adult-oriented, but here, WGAR is still playing the hits.

Fig is identified by one of our commenters as Dave Newton, who also was heard in the Cleveland market at WWWE (now WTAM) for a time.

Listen for Jam jingles used at the time at WLS… a GREAT sounding package for this station!

1220 Cleveland WGAR


  1. Does anybody know the real identity of this disc jockey, also, did he also work for WWWE at some point in his career? The Mr. Fig (or Big, I had to listen on the skip) from 3WE sounded suspiciously like Dick Orkin, but surely he was beyond djing in Cleveland by that time.

  2. Joe Crain

    The description of the aircheck indicates this to be a morning drive show. But, listen closely. His show closing says to have a great night. Plus, the next jock starts at 8 with a top-30 songs of the week countdown. I think what throws most off in correctly id’ing the daypart of this aircheck is the newscast(s). Back in the day, music stations actually did newscasts outside of morning drive. WLS/Chicago still did some newscasts during Landecker’s show at night well into the late 70’s.

    • Bill

      yes Fig did 4-8pm this is an afternoon drive aircheck. the only way he would be on mornings is if he was filling in for Lanigan which i don’t recall he ever did.

    • Dan Reed

      Fig Newton worked the afternoon drive 3-8 pm..on 1220 WGAR…they had news on the hour and more jingles than carter had pills..this station was just as amazing as WLS or WABC in NEW York City in the hey day of AM music radio!!!

  3. Joy Binder

    Fig’s real name was Dave Newton and, yes, he later did mornings on WWWE (now WTAM).

  4. Travis Sparks

    When did 1220 move away from CHR? Also, when did the Real Bob James leave?

  5. Brenda Meskunas

    Fig Newton, if I remember correctly, was on during the evening drive (4 – 8?). The Real Bob James was on immediately after – I think he worked 8 – midnight.

    Bob left WGAR somewhere around 1980, I believe.

  6. Dave Peffer

    1220/WGAR ended its days as an AC station on Sunday, July 15th 1984. The format switched to that of country the following day. Paul Tapie’s morning show and the newscasts anchored by Ed Richards and Nancy Smith were simulcast on WGAR-AM 1220 and WGAR-FM 99.5 (formerly KS-100 Country) from 5:30-9am weekdays. Steve Cannon’s talk show ran on 1220 from 9am-noon followed by WGAR’s hour-long noon newscast. After that, the music and DJs heard came over on satellite. When Steve left a few months later, the satellite filled the time from nine to noon with more automation.
    Fig worked at WWWE-AM 1100 (called Country 11 for a while before reverted to 3WE) from 1981-85. He hosted Channel 43’s Prize Movie from February 1984 to September 1985, during which time John Lanigan was in Florida.

  7. Dave Peffer

    By the way, if Mr. Fig happens to be reading the remarks on this page or if someone on here knows him and is in contact with him, tell him hello from World Famous Dave who used to live by the airport.

  8. Buzz Freely

    The “Real” Bob James [Bob Pondillo] was, I believe, fired from WGAR for breaking into the program director’s office safe and “borrowing” some Station ID’s that went back several decades. Bob James used to work at WHLO before WGAR. Last I heard about Fig Newton is that he was somewhere out west.

    • Hi —

      I was the “Real Bob James,” an air personality on the Big 1220/WGAR in Cleveland, Ohio from 1976-81 (8p-12m.) And I resigned from the WGAR, I wasn’t fired for breaking into my program director, Chick Watkins, safe and stealing jingles! (See above post.) LOL! That’s great! Where did THAT notion come from? Besides, Chick never had a safe in his office… although he had a very special place he kept his hairpiece and pipes. Ewww. No one touched that stuff!

      Just wanted to set that one straight.

  9. Buzz Freely

    The guy doing the station IDs sounds like Bill Ward who I believe is the staff announcer at WJW FOX 8 these days. By the way, another great WGAR DJ was “Vernon with a V” who I stumbled across on the internet one day, he has his own web site // Talks a lot about his WGAR&WNBCdays and his stint as a news anchor. He has not updated it lately but he does have several of his bits on there, Buzz &Juggs, etc. and it really took me back listening to them.

  10. Tim Kubat

    Bill Ward was indeed the “Image voice” for 1220/WGAR and he did an occasional air shift as well in their non-country days.

    I want to say that Fig Newton went out to Denver after leaving his morning show gig at then WWWE/1100 in the mid 80’s but have not found anything on the internet for Fig post-Cleveland.

  11. Butch Kuntze

    Is this the same Fig Newton who did the morning show on KGMO radio in Cape Girardeau in the early 70’s? He was so funny. I always wondered what happened to him. About the same time, Rush Limbaugh was an evening DJ using the name of Rusty Sharpe. Is this the same Fig?

  12. Ken Kirkwood

    I know Fig came to WGAR from a station in Cape Girardeau in the mid-70’s.

  13. JJ McKay

    Fig Newton worked at WGAR in the 70’s and 80’s, and was at 1100 WWWE in the late 80’s. He was forced to leave his job at WWWE in 1988 when it was announced on an evening TV newscast in Cleveland that he was busted for child pornography. After that story hit the air, he never returned to the Cleveland airwaves again. I have no idea what happened to him after that.

    • Dave Bogart

      Fig went to work at a station in Colorado Springs in 1984 and shortly thereafter was once again arrested for child porn.

    • Paul Silver

      Nooooo. I don’t believe it. Fig and child pornography? I knew him well when we were both at Kent State.. So talented. You never know about some people. Last time I saw him, it was on the Shaker Rapid. This must have been around 1978. I was going to my retail job and he was going to his. I remember thinking if someone as talented as Dave couldn’t find a radio job…… I didn’t know he went on to some pretty decent gigs, but I was getting my law degree by then and I pretty much tuned out anything that wasn’t law school related. Sick bastard. What a waste. Dave, if you read this, I hope you got help,

  14. Buzz Freely

    Well, very glad to hear from the “Real Bob James to set the record straight. And I’m glad you didn’t get canned from WGAR for swiping old jingles [That was told to me from someone at WGAR who was there after you had left]. Many years ago I worked at Chippewa Lake amusement park when you were at WHLO and the station was doing a show from there. After my ride had ditched me and I was facing a long walk home, you were kind enough to give me a ride back home since you were going by my town on the way back to Akron. So here’s a long delayed “Thanks!” for that. {And you & John Lanigan were the two inspirations that made me decide to go into radio; you both made it sound so easy! Man, I got disabused of that notion real fast!}

  15. Travis Sparks

    Steve… restore the play button. can’t find on here where to play it.

  16. Stewart

    Dave was in AM News/Talk radio in New Orleans in the 1990s under the name Dave Haley… according to his linked in page, he most recently spent some time in the Raleigh area.

  17. Chris

    Is this the same Fig Newton who briefly replaced John Lanigan as the host of The Prize Movie on Channel 43? As I recall, Fig did it for a year or two, then Lanigan came back.

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