May 8, 2023

FTV: A Tribute


     When I jotted down the title of this FTV, I was looking at the cartoons taped to the outside of our WOAS-FM studio door.  They were drawn by the late Dan Rosandich, a 1976 Ontonagon Area Schools graduate who we lost to a heart attack in January of 2023.  It jogged my memory that we had shared an article written by him that first appeared in Radio World Magazine.  I made contact with Dan after I read the Radio World piece and received Dan’s permission to reprint it in this space.  The more I thought about it, it dawned on me there are others worthy of being remembered for reasons I will explain after we reprise Rosandich’s article.  How did Rosandich get started drawing for the radio market and music biz?  This sounds like a weird connection, but it will be fully explained.  This FTV was first published on 2-14-18 and is presented here as a small tribute to an artist of immense talent:  FTV:  Dan Rosandich

     “Paging through the January 3, 2018 issue of Radio World, a bunch of cartoons jumped off the page and caught my eye.  My first thought was, “This guy’s style reminds me a lot of Dan Rosandich’s work.  A glance at the articles byline told me why:  the cartoons were drawn by Rosandich and used to illustrate an article he had written about how a cartoonist can make a living in the music and radio biz.  Knowing that he is a 1976 Ontonagon Area Schools graduate led me to contact him for his permission to reprint the article for our listeners and readers.  The full title is “A Cartoonist’s Adventures in Radio – You might say this is the original “visual radio” concept.  More examples of Dan’s work can be viewed at and we thank him for granting us permission to reprint his article here:

     ‘What in the world is “radio illustration,” you ask?  Who can listen to images like illustrations and cartoons?  Well, it’s not quite that simple.  The best explanation is looking at it from the perspective of the cartoonist!

     I began drawing cartoons and funny illustrations when I was a little kid.  It was an obsession that has carried on into my adulthood.  Radio World asked me to share some of my work and the story behind it.

     In the early 1970s, when the CB radio craze was rising in popularity, I placed a small classified ad in a trade publication.  S-9 Magazine was devoted to citizen band radio enthusiasts across the United States and Canada.  With knowledge in the area of CB and an interest in cartooning, I decided to offer to create “custom QSL cards.”  (As many Radio World readers will know, QSL is a radio enthusiast’s calling card of sorts.  They’re postcard-sized with the user’s call letters, their preferred channel they hang out at and of course, their “handle”.  Even radio broadcasters sometimes have them!)

     In that ad, I offered to do custom cartoons for CB enthusiasts’ QSL cards, and those interested would send a particular amount of money (either by check, cash, or money order).  The ad came out, and before long, a stream of envelopes started arriving at my address with money and people’s ideas for their cards!  It was my way of being vindicated as an artist.  I had arrived!

     Whatever the amount was, in those days, it wasn’t much, but my neighbor had worked at a local bank and one day asked me, “Dan, where are you getting all of these Canadian $10 bills?”

     I re-ran that ad a few times until things slowed down, but this experience later helped me to realize my desire to become a full-time cartoonist.

     Not long afterward, I started to create what is known as “gag cartoons” in the magazine publishing business.  You’ve seen them – those small illustrated jokes to which publications, trade journals and even magazines like Saturday Evening Post (yes, it is still around – ed) might devote entire back pages in certain issues.

     I dove full speed ahead into the freelance cartooning business and noticed after a few years that I’d acquired a relatively steady stable of clients who loved my work, and I drew a lot of gag panels for many of them.  After many years in the freelance illustration business, along came digital technology.  I began studying HTML, and web design and launched an online portfolio, offering my illustration services.  Since then, I’ve illustrated a lot of ham operator radio content, as well as radio broadcast cartoons, logos, and illustrations.

     With the help of Adobe Photoshop editing software, I can accommodate clients in their professional graphics needs, whether it’s a special promotional banner, logo, or other character cartoons needed to promote a station or broadcaster’s event or station.  Artwork can be formatted in specific sizes, color enhancements and more.

     I recently worked with KCYS (FM) in Astoria, Oregon, which needed a specific banner to promote their station.  The image they needed was for a downloadable app;  the graphic appears as an introductory image for this app, which users can download to listen to their station anywhere.

    HOW IT WORKS – Other illustrators may have their own processes but here’s how it works for me.  A station owner contacts me with a concept or idea;  I create a rough sketch based on that information.  The more information supplied, the better;  specifics help me to create a more detailed illustration of the cartoon needed.  I send that rough sketch for the station owner’s (or general manager’s) review;  they reply with feedback about what needs to be changed or modified, prior to formatting the final acceptable art into a specific format.

     JPEG files work best for apps or web, while TIFF format works best for print or hard copy.  As for pricing these kinds of cartoons, there is no universal pricing;  every need or usage applied to a custom cartoon is different.  I recommend you request a specific quote and specify how the artwork will be used.  One station executive may want a cartoon for use on a downloadable app, another may want a detailed logo-type of cartoon to use on a website, social media, in print advertising, or on apparel.  

     My general rule of thumb is “the greater the usage applied to an image, the greater the intrinsic value to that work,”  so higher fees are applied to artwork with a greater usage applied to it.  Other uses for radio station cartoon images include:

> Station calendars > Posters to promote an event or gathering > Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)  > Downloadable apps for listeners > Apparel (T-shirts, caps and coasters)  >Business stationary > Your company or station’s QSL card > Customized greeting cards (Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, etc.) > Coloring books for children > Banners for use in email promotions.  This is a small list, but you get the idea:  Custom illustration makes a point and can have an impact with your listeners.’

     Again, we thank Dan for allowing us to reprint his article here.  We are always proud to salute Ontonagon County graduates and are especially proud of those who have gone on to work in the fields of radio, music recording, and in Dan’s case, graphic arts.  Besides the custom work Dan describes in the Radio World article, he has had his work published in countless magazines and newspapers.” 

      R.I.P. Dan Rosandich – your work is still with us but we will miss you.

      When the original FTV was published, I sent Dan a WOAS-FM logo hat along with a thank you.  When it became apparent we would be searching for a new frequency for WOAS-FM on the dial, I made myself a mental note to get a hold of Dan once we found our new home – you know;  new frequency, new station logo.  Alas, with his passing, that will not be possible.

      When our station engineer Jim Bradley and I sat down to plan the station’s post-88.5 future, we reminisced about the history of WOAS-FM.  Jim was involved right from the get-go (1978).  I did not become actively engaged with the station until the mid 1980s.  I knew a lot of the station’s history from the period when Mike ‘Zenith’ Bennett was the General Manager so it was interesting to hear Jim’s tales about the actual construction of WOAS-FM.  Thinking back to that conversation, I found that other tributes should be offered to those who have been involved in the first 45 years of the WOAS-FM story.  If you might fit into one of the following categories, it would be very interesting to hear your story.  Anytime one tries to collect historical data like this, one never knows exactly what will show up in the old mailbox.  If you would like to share your story or stories about WOAS-FM, please email them to me at or snail-mail them to WOAS-FM, 701 Parker Ave, Ontonagon, MI  49953.

     The first tribute category would be those who helped with the initial construction of our facilities.  It was Ontonagon Area Schools Librarian Thomas G. Lee who first hatched the idea to apply for a 10 watt FM license from the Federal Communications Commission.  In his quest to make this happen, he was assisted by Bradley, Al Harrison, electronics teacher Larry Matiolli, and many other OASD staff and students.  If you were among those WOAS pioneers, let us know what you remember and how you were involved.

     The second category would include those who worked on the air for WOAS-FM.  When there were more students in the school and multiple study halls to recruit DJs from, we had no shortage of bodies for the day staff.  A few may have signed on just to escape sitting in SH, but if that was the original motivation, it soon gave way to becoming what I call ‘radio addicted’.  Being a DJ gets into your blood and more than one former on-air personality has told me how much they missed broadcasting when they graduated.  

     The third group I would be interested in hearing from are those who were able to find a spot on a college radio station after leaving Ontonagon.  Again, many stories have trickled back that share a common thread:  “When I applied, they asked, ‘Have you ever been on radio before?’ and when I said, ‘Yes,’ they asked, ‘When can you start?’”  Even if it was just for a semester or two, we would like to hear what your college radio experiences were like.

      The last ‘tribute’ I would like to pay is to anyone who found themselves working in the radio game after graduation.  When I stopped by at WUPY to pick up a donation Jackie Dobbins had collected for our new transmitter fund, I mentioned Brady Guilbault as our ‘most recent WOAS FM DJ graduate who ended up working professionally in the radio biz’.   Seated behind her desk at the WUPY Y101 FM studio downtown, Jackie looked up and said, “And I am probably one of the original ones who is still working in radio.”  I do not have enough data to put an actual number on how many of our grads spent at least some time in the game, but there have been more than a few.

     If you do contact me about being part of our four tribute categories, please include a little more information than, ‘Yes, I was a DJ (or whatever role you played).”  When you were here and what you specifically did would be great.  Interesting anecdotes?  Yes, please.  I have been involved in 36 of WOAS’s 45 years and have been the GM for 26 of those years.  Four license renewals and a major renovation project have kept me busy enough.  When added to the year to year scheduling, the number of people who have passed through WOAS makes some of your  names and faces blur in my mind.  Any information supplied would be greatly appreciated.  

     At some point in these FTV ramblings, I have mentioned my long-time fascination with the best TV sitcom about radio ever aired.  The antics of Dr. Johnny Fever and the staff at the fictional radio station WKRP in Cincinnati were a lot of fun to follow.  One of my favorite episodes included Dr. Johnny telling the story of how he was fired for saying the word ‘booger’ on the air.  It turns out this story might not be just some gag writer’s invention.

     Years back, WLUC-TV6 in Marquette would host the yearly March of Dimes Telethon.  Their on air crew often included a nationally known radio personality with local connections.  One year it was Dan K, a kid I remembered from Sunday school whose father also happened to be a policeman like my dad.  I ran into Dan at a local watering hole the weekend of the Telethon and we started talking about WKRP.  He said, “You know the episode where Johnny talks about getting fired for saying ‘booger’ on the air?  That actually happened to me.  I was working at a small one-horse town station in lower Michigan.  You know, doing the weather, sports, news, music shows – whatever they had me do.  One night I was really bored so I started what I thought was a funny conversation with myself about boogers.  The phone rang and the station’s owner said, ‘Get out of my station – you’re fired.’  I think they took my story and used it on WKRP.”

     I expressed my condolences to Dan K for losing his job but he stopped me:  “No,” he said, “It was the kick in the pants I needed.  I realized I was wasting my time so I buckled down and got serious about being on radio.”  I would be hard pressed to remember which large market station he was working at when he came back for the telethon, but let us just say the word ‘booger’ changed his whole career arc.  Considering there is a talking-head football analyst on TV today whose professional name is ‘Booger’ McFarland, I guess we have come a long way.

     Let me wrap this up with one last big ‘thank you’.  Tribute must be paid to everyone who stepped up to help us with our recent transmitter replacement appeal.  We had no way of knowing if we could raise what we needed to make the change, but the people of Ontonagon and our WOAS-FM family responded in a big way.  We have received notes and checks from near (money handed to me at local stores) and far (checks mailed form as far away as Florida).  You will be hearing more about the future of WOAS-FM as soon as we know it ourselves.  Thank you one and all for making WOAS-FM a true community station.  Elsewhere in this issue, you will find a formal ‘Thank You’ to everyone who contributed to our fund drive.  We must also mention The Ontonagon Herald for the paper’s ongoing support of not only WOAS-FM, but of many other worthy public service projects in the local area that our hometown paper supports.


Top Piece Video:  RIP Dan Rosandich – thank you for your time and talents.