CLEVELAND - “That’s our Dick Clark!” is what “Upbeat” producer Herman Spero exclaimed when he saw Don Webster hosting a music show on a Canadian television broadcast.
The "Big 5 Show" was the local rock show which ran on Saturdays at 5 p.m. on channel 5 , Spero and WEWS were in search of a new host as they launched the show nationwide as "Upbeat".
Spero and WEWS management brought Don to Cleveland in 1964 where he went on to host not just the rock music show “Upbeat” from 1964 to 1971, but just about any show in need of a host as well as weather forecasting and station manager.
Shortly after coming to Cleveland, Don did an interview with the Beatles when they came to do a concert in Cleveland. You can see that interview by clicking here.
Fast forward 20 years, Don was anchoring “Live On Five” with Wilma Smith and it was time to celebrate twenty years of Don.
"Live On Five" went on the air 30 years ago, September 20, 1982, replacing the "Afternoon Exchange" as a newsier offering following the closing of The Cleveland Press just three months earlier.
Roll that tape in our video player to see a video tribute to “Still the One” performed by Orleans.
Among the clips in the tribute are: classic promos with Don and Gib Shanley, a promo with Fred Griffith to announce “Live On Five”, a segment where Don gets a lesson in holding from Doug Dieken, Don on “Upbeat”, he and WEWS meteorologist Dan Dobrowolski on Don’s boat “Forecaster”, hosting the lottery show and “Academic Challenge”.
We get to see Don’s dog Tuffy and Wilma’s dog Rhett with a guest on Live On Five, Wilma’s other dog at the time was named Scarlett - note the "Gone with the Wind" reference.
Don was the first person to host the Ohio lottery drawings, he hosted a Bingo show sponsored by Kroger, “The Gene Carroll Show”and Bowling for Dollars before the show moved to WJW with their version hosted by Dick Goddard.
Don retired from WEWS 35 years later in 1999. He and wife Kandi live in South Carolina.
As a Live On Five birthday bonus, I've added another video montage highlighting some memorable moments from the early days of the program.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
A 1992 cover story, told by Wilma Smith, takes a look back at the WEWS anchor team's beginnings.
Wilma Smith grew up in Garfield Heights, but was working in Richmond, Va. when she was picked by WEWS to host the new Afternoon Exchange in 1977.
A look at WEWS coverage in 2003 when Amanda Berry went missing and in 2004 when Gina DeJesus disappeared.