CWRU Links

MCLEAN, PHIL

MCLEAN, PHIL (4 May 1923-28 May 1993) was one of the nation's leading disc jockeys from the 1950's through the 1970s.

He was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Joseph and Phyllis (Hopkins) McLean. He started working as a disc jockey while still in high school. After serving as a Navy fighter pilot during WORLD WAR II, he attended the University of Michigan, graduating in 1948.

In 1951 he was hired by WERE-AM/1300 in Cleveland, where he and colleague Bill Randle formed a unique partnership among on-air talent. The popularity of their show is said to have been responsible for helping to launch the careers of many national recording artists. McLean made a recording that reached the charts. It was "Small Sad Sam," a parody of "Big Bad John." He also conducted an American Bandstand-type television show in Cleveland for teen-age rock 'n' roll dancers during the 1950s and hosted a daily late-night movie program.

With a change in the program format at WERE, he left for New York City in 1961, where he had an overnight show for many years. In 1971, he returned to Cleveland to work at WHK-AM/1420. He later worked for WWWE-AM/1100 in Cleveland and for WHHR in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

McLean was married twice. He married his first wife, Patty, on 19 July 1952; they divorced in 1963. His second wife was Donna Fisher; they married in 1972 and divorced in 1982. McLean died in Hilton Head, S.C. and was survived by a son, Paul J. McLean.