Legendary Flint Radio Disc Jockey Peter Cavanagh Has Passed Away
Cars 108 has learned that Flint radio legend Peter C. Cavanaugh has passed away at the age of 79. In addition to his storied career with WTAC-AM and WWCK-FM, Peter was the author of the book 'Local DJ.' The novel explores the culture of rock 'n roll, local radio, and highlights the author's personal spin on facilitating hundreds of rock concerts throughout the Midwest.
Cavanaugh's career began as a disc jockey when he was a teenager in his hometown of Syracuse, New York, before roaring into Flint.
Back when Top 40 AM radio was king, Cavanaugh was the driving force behind radio station WTAC, known as 'The Big 600' in the 1960s and '70s. He was known for debuting music from such artists as The Who, Bob Seger, Cream, and others long before they hit the national stage.
Bob Seger's manager Punch Andrews said that getting Cavanaugh on board was paramount to having a hit record.
"You had to have WTAC and Peter if you were going to have a hit in Michigan," Andrews said. "If he wasn't playing our record, I would immediately jump in my car and drive to Flint."
After his success with WTAC, Cavanagh then moved on to be the General Manager of WWCK-FM during its heyday as a rock station. He quickly rose to the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Reams Broadcasting, which owned the station from 1975 to 1988. The once-great '105 FM' was at that time one of the leading rock and roll radio outlets in the country, thanks in part to Cavanaugh's leadership.
Local filmmaker Jim Baade paid homage to Cavanagh in the documentary 'Flint's Best Rock,' which explored the heritage of rock radio in Flint.
In his later years, Cavanaugh and his wife Eileen retired to Oakhurst, California.
In the video below, Cavanaugh recalls the night when The Who's Keith Moon drove a car into the swimming pool at a Flint hotel.
R.I.P., Mr. Cavanaugh. Thank you for being a pioneer, and for all your contributions to Flint radio.