Well-known local radio announcer passes away

Johnny Cloer enjoyed a radio career of more than 50 years
Johnny Cloer spent more than fifty years behind the mic for WSAT.
Johnny Cloer spent more than fifty years behind the mic for WSAT.(David Whisenant-WBTV)
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 9:24 AM EST
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SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - On the 64th anniversary of “The Day The Music Died,” a longtime North Carolina radio announcer who was known for playing that music has now passed away.

On Friday morning on Memories Radio, WSAT, 101.7 FM in Salisbury, Buddy Poole announced that longtime broadcaster Johnny Cloer had passed away after a period of declining health.

Poole called it “a mighty sad announcement” as he told listeners how Cloer’s career had spanned more than fifty years.

Johnny started at WSAT in Salisbury in 1966 when the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and The Supremes ruled the airwaves. Many of the golden oldies he played at the end of his career were up and coming hits when he first started.

“Back then we were the only ones you really listen to,” Cloer said in 2016. “Some of the big stations from Charlotte would come in, WAYS, but we did local top 40.”

He says that at first he was playing country music, but that he managed to slip in a little Top 40 here and there, and eventually convince station management to change the format.

Cloer remembers taking requests and dedications and he says that back then, the phones were so jammed with callers that he had to have high school interns come in to help take the calls.

Cloer said that being tapped to broadcast local sports was a challenge.

“No one else could do it, I got suckered into it,” Cloer said in that 2016 interview. “I wasn’t trained in doing play by play.”

But he was a quick study and learned the craft while his listeners hung on every word. He says one of the highlights of his career and one of his favorite assignments was calling play by play football for the East Rowan Mustangs.

There have been a few health problems over the years, including twice breaking his back. Cloer said in 2016 that it’s made it difficult for him to get around, but every morning he was still in his spot in the WSAT studio playing music and talking to the community.

Through fifty years of those health issues, life in general, changes in formats and station ownership, Cloer had an unbroken string of continuous full or part time employment at WSAT.

“Buddy (station manager Buddy Poole) has been easy to work with,” Cloer added at the time. “I still enjoy it.”

Cloer retired in 2016.