CLEVELAND - In September 1999, the “Morning Exchange” (MX) was celebrating its 27-plus years on the air. In its final week of existence, the show was looking back at its groundbreaking status and monumental run on WEWS.
The show in our video player is from Wednesday, Sept. 8, 1999. Robin Swoboda and Fred Griffith hosted this one-hour edition of the reformatted “Today’s Morning Exchange.” Mark Johnson and Danita Harris were also hosts of the show.
Two guests featured on this show were the show's creator, Dr. Bill Baker, and former host Don Webster.
Baker gives insight to the genesis of the show and its mission to be a place for intelligent talk.
He says expectation for the show were low as the station signed on at 10 a.m. with Paige Palmer's exercise program. As far as non-children's programming, that's true. Before the MX, Romper Room and cartoons were on the WEWS morning schedule.
When it went on the air Jan. 3, 1972, Webster was the original sidekick on the show, sharing the show with former WKYC radio host Alan Douglas.
Baker says Douglas decided after just a couple of months to leave the show.
Webster and Baker talk about the chemistry that made the show an audience favorite when Fred Griffith, Joel Rose and Liz Richards took over following Douglas’ departure.
Griffith stayed with the Morning Exchange as its “temporary” host for the next 27 years.
Griffith retired from WKYC earlier this year, Swoboda is currently an anchor at WKYC.
Baker took what he learned on the MX to a station in Baltimore. As general manager there, he hired a newcomer by the name of Oprah Winfrey to host a new talk show.
A note about the clip in our video player, it begins with a montage of all the Morning Exchange’s opening sequences and includes some of Baker’s behind-the-scenes home movies.
The final Morning Exchange show aired two days later, Sept. 10, 1999.
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