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Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's Alan Freed Radio Studio

Named for the Man Who Coined "Rock 'n' Roll"


Alan Freed

Alan Freed - The DJ who named Rock 'n Roll

WABC New York

With the inductions set this weekend at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, it's a good time to highlight the radio studio at the museum of famous musicians, bands, and performers.

The broadcast facility at the Rock Hall is actually named the Alan Freed Radio Studio and is dedicated to the legendary Top 40 Rock 'N' Roll disc-jockey, Alan Freed - the man credited with coining the term, "Rock ‘n Roll."

In high school, Freed formed a band known as the "Sultans of Swing". But, he wasn't content to just make music. Freed wanted to bring it to the masses. He first began in radio in 1942 at WKST, a station in New Castle. From there he went to WKBN, Youngstown, Ohio where he worked as a sportscaster.

In 1945 he took a job at WAKR, Akron, Ohio where he became a disc-jockey and played jazz and popular recordings. Four years later in 1949, Freed was offered a TV position at WXEL, Cleveland, Ohio. So, added television to his résumé.

In 1951, Freed left his television gig and went back to his first love: radio. He was hired on at WJW, Cleveland and took on a new on-air name: "Moondog." (The Rock Hall later saluted Freed with an exhibit called "King of the Moondoggers.") It was at WJW where Freed came up with the term, "Rock ‘n Roll" to describe the black R&B songs he was spinning on the air and getting so much response from.

On the back of his Cleveland success, Freed was enticed in 1954 to come to New York City and work his magic for WINS. It was in New York that Freed's live "Rock and Roll" shows drew unbelievable crowds and mostly unfavorable national publicity. Freed later moved to WABC, also in New York City.

Unfortunately for Freed, a scandal grabbed onto radio in 1959 called Payola and Freed, who was "on-the-take", was fired from his radio and TV jobs. Afterwards, he worked briefly at KDAY, Los Angeles and WQAM, Miami.

In 1962, Freed pled guilty to commercial bribery charges and on on January 20, 1965, Alan Freed died from alcohol related diseases. In March, 2002, Alan Freed's ashes were moved and entombed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His remains sit in a brass urn that was sealed in an undisclosed wall.

Rock Hall President and CEO, Terry Stewart, said, "I'm sure some people will find it unusual and others might find it morbid. It's certainly appropriate in a rock 'n' roll sense to have his final resting place here," reported The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

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