Relive TV history with UA lecturer’s new book


Photos courtesy Gray & Co., Publishers

Mike and Janice Olszweski, authors of “Cleveland TV Tales Volume II.”

By Sofia Syed, Arts & Life Editor


UA public speaking and media lecturer Mike Olszweski has worked in TV and radio for nearly half the 70 years Cleveland broadcast television has been active.

Olszweski and his wife Janice recently published a book titled “Cleveland TV Tales Volume II.” The book focuses on different stories they have witnessed over the years in their line of work.

“‘Cleveland TV Tales Volume 2’ reminds us that the folks who entertained and informed us were real people, and they helped give Northeast Ohio its own unique personality,” Mike said. “Everything in early TV was new and the folks who worked at the stations were pioneers. They developed a way of communicating that helped shape us as a unique community through the shared experience of TV and radio.”

Having spent more than 30 years in the industry, Olszweski is a veteran Cleveland radio and TV personality, known for his work at WMMS-FM. He has also hosted and produced programs for WNCX-FM, WKNR-AM, WOIO-TV, WUAB-TV, and other stations. Nationally, he has hosted “The Source Report” for NBC Radio’s young adult network. Internationally, he has reported for Voice of America. He’s also the curator and archivist for the Ohio Broadcast Archive and Museum, a statewide project documenting the history of Ohio radio and television.

Janice is a resident of Northeast Ohio with more than three decades in the travel and tourism industry.

“My wife Janice and I wanted to tell the story in the words of the people who had those experiences firsthand… People forget that TV is still a relatively young medium,” Mike said. “It went on the air in Cleveland in 1947, and I was able to work with many of the pioneers who passed on those stories like tales around a campfire.”

The duo divided the work up when writing this book. Mike wrote the stories, but they both did the research and reviewed newspapers and interviews together.

“It took maybe three months and we left stories out because there are so many. But you have to be accurate and that’s what can be time-consuming,” Mike said. “If an author makes a mistake and no one corrects it, he has just altered the historical record. That’s where Janice is a key player. She has an uncanny ability to find information and that really streamlined the whole process.”

Writing about the past can be a challenge. Mike stated that a difficulty they faced when writing this book was dealing with people’s egos and faulty memory.

“Over the years some folks have developed a personal mythology about what they saw, did or didn’t do, and they have opinions about others that may be based on emotion rather than fact.  It didn’t happen a lot, but you had to get to the bottom of every story,” Mike said.

Mike and Janice have witnessed a lot over the years. With this being their second book in the Cleveland TV Tales, they have much to share.

“We really wanted readers to enjoy the history made by these remarkable folks and there’s a sense of accomplishment when folks come up and say they read the book and share their own stories. History doesn’t have to be dull, and Janice and I hope ‘Cleveland TV Tales Volume 2’ shows that,” Mike said.

A published author, Mike offers advice to students who may want to write a book or work in the media field.

“Remember that a book is a long-term project that requires a lot of careful research. You also have to have a pretty thick skin and be open to criticism,” Mike said.

He also went on to say that UA has a talented staff and students should take advantage of different opportunities to get ahead.

“You have a lot of competition, but every career is competitive,” Mike said. “If you show an employer you are dependable and willing to work hard, they’ll remember that and it will benefit you when you’re getting established.”

Visit Northeast Ohio bookstores and online retailers such as Amazon and to purchase “Cleveland TV Tales Volume 2.”