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WKSU-FM's Vivian Goodman Honored as a Broadcast Legend

Posted Apr, 5, 2010

Vivian Goodman, reporter, producer and local host of radio programs “Fresh Air” and “All Things Considered” that are broadcast on WKSU-FM, Kent State University’s award-winning NPR News and Classical Music public radio station, has received recognition for her career in radio by the Cleveland Association of Broadcasters. Goodman, a resident of Cleveland, has been chosen as one of the “20 Broadcast Legacy Award Inductees” and will formally receive the recognition at a gala luncheon event in Cleveland on April 7.

Vivian GoodmanIn 1990, the Cleveland Association of Broadcasters established an annual award honoring people in the Cleveland broadcast industry, who – through their creativity, dedication and vision – have made a substantial contribution to the growth and success of the industry in Cleveland. This year, in celebration of the 20th annual luncheon, the organization has decided to recognize an additional 20 legends in Cleveland broadcasting.

“I’m extremely humbled and happy,” Goodman said. “To be recognized by my peers in this way, especially when others on the list are such greats, is such an honor.”

The 20 legends list includes Northeast Ohio broadcasting greats like Joe Finan, Len Goldburg, Jack Parr and Paige Palmer.

“I was in some disbelief when I looked at this list of people I admired, even before I thought of becoming a broadcaster and also admired during my career,” Goodman said. “So many of them are gone, and to be honored in my lifetime along with them is really wonderful.”

Goodman graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of Chicago in 1970. She first went on the air at the campus station, WHPK-FM, as host of a weekly satirical news program. She moved from there into reporting including covering the Chicago Seven conspiracy trial.

Goodman started working in commercial radio in Akron at WHLO-AM. She has worked mostly in radio news since then, in Cleveland and in Washington, D.C., for nine years. Goodman also had two stints as a congressional press secretary for Congressman Louis Stokes in 1974 and for Congressman Eric Fingerhut in 1994. She also spent three and a half years as director of communications for North Coast Cable in Cleveland. In 1996, Goodman began working for WKSU-FM.

“A great number of pieces I do are about the arts,” Goodman said. “This has a lot to do with the fact that I am on the air from 3 to 6 p.m. every day. I can do a gallery tour or attend a rehearsal in the morning and take a day or two to produce the piece, which is more time than I have with other kinds of stories.”

Her stories include the story of Clara Wolcott of Tallmadge, Ohio, the designer of Tiffany Lamps; interviews with composers Pierre Boulez and Marc Andre Dalbavie; the story of the Stow Symphony Orchestra’s premiere of a work by composer Joan Tower; and a remembrance of Cleveland rock radio history.

“I think the most personally compelling and memorable interview I ever did was a prison interview,” she said. “It was with a man named David Roth, who started a program that was known as Cleveland Works. The program was about getting people out of welfare and getting them to work. He was so innovative with this idea, a young idealistic lawyer who really cared about improving the lives of others. Roth had also been one of the founders of the Free Clinic in Cleveland.”

The most poignant part of Roth’s story is that Roth had a private demon that he could ultimately not vanquish. “Roth was a secret heroin addict, and he died in prison,” Goodman added. “Prior to his death, I interviewed him about his life and where he thought it went wrong.”

Goodman looks forward to many more years of telling many more intriguing stories about intriguing people in her favorite story-telling medium – over the radio waves.

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Media Contacts:
Ann VerWiebe, verwiebe@wksu.org, 330-672-3114
Emily Vincent, evincen2@kent.edu, 330-672-8595