Cumulus Media has announced that West Michigan radio legend and longtime on-air host of Grand Rapids’ heritage Classic Rock station WLAV-FM, Ed Buchanan, passed way this past Thursday. Buchanan, 69, known on air as “Uncle Buck,” joined WLAV-FM in 1974 and was “founding father” of its current Classic Rock brand. Most recently, Buchanan hosted LAV’s Uncle Buck’s Basement, Sundays, 7 – 9 a.m., and was co-host of LAV’s The Tony Gates Morning Show with Michelle McKormick and Uncle Buck, weekdays, 5 – 10 a.m.
Buchanan celebrated his 50th year in West Michigan broadcasting in 2017.
Buchanan was born and raised in Grand Rapids, and was bitten by the radio bug in the mid-1950s during the Top 40 era of WLAV and WMAX radio. After graduating from Grand Rapids Catholic Central in 1966, he attended Ferris State University where he got his start in radio on the campus station.
In the summer of 1967, Buchanan got his first job at Grand Rapids station WMAX 1480.
Between 1967 and 1990, he worked as morning show host, on-air personality, and program director in multiple formats at heritage West Michigan stations, including WERX, WGRD-FM, WAFT-AM, WFFX-FM, WMUS-FM, and most significantly, at WLAV-FM which he joined in 1974, later leaving in the early ‘80s and returning in 1995.
Buchanan was the first to start a “Progressive Rock” show at WXTO-FM (which later became WGRD) and brought “Outlaw Country” to WCUZ-FM with resounding success.
Outside of his radio career, Buchanan taught broadcasting at Grand Valley State University in the mid ‘70s, was a local filmmaker and performer with Firesign Theatre and the Grand Rapids Radio Players, and owned Rooby Records — producing and pressing records for local musicians from 1982 to 1992.
Jeff Cartwright, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Media-Grand Rapids, said, “Ed’s sudden passing is difficult news today for all who knew and loved him. He was a true giant of radio and will be profoundly missed. In West Michigan, this is the equivalent of one of the Beatles passing, as Ed celebrated his 50th anniversary of broadcasting last year and has been a monumental presence in our community, where he lived his entire life. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Ed’s family at this sad time as we honor his memory and remember his lasting contributions to our community and to radio.”