JOE PYNE -- The first and best of the Shock Jocks!

The Joe Pyne Story

Joe Pyne was born in Chester, Pennsylvania; he was raised and educated in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. With the advent of World War II, Joe entered the Marine Corps. A decorated veteran of four Pacific Theater Campaigns, he sustained an injury to his left leg while on Okinawa, for which he received the purple Heart. Complications several years later necessitated an amputation, and he used an artificial leg for the remainder of his life.

After the end of the war, Joe returned to his studies, preparing for a career in law. He took drama lessons to overcome a speech impediment; he recorded his voice and sent the recording to several radio stations. When he was hired by a Lumberton, North Carolina radio station, he dropped his pursuit of law.

While in North Carolina, Joe developed his talent for interviewing. Beginning with local news interviews with politicians and other dignitaries, he soon learned that his radio listeners preferred to hear something other than routine interviews. He soon found himself getting into engaging talks with his guests. During his broadcasting career, Joe worked at several stations. For a brief period, he was the announcer for the regular radio programs that originated on the Steel Pier, in Atlantic City. "Every big band played there... and I knew them all" he reminisced.
Eventually, he learned that what he did best, was to talk, and talk he did. His ability to stir controversy was honed when he did shows in Montreal, Canada, in the early 1960s, for the Maisonneuve Broadcasting Corporation. His interviews eventually led to some heated discussions with his guests on his evening live interview show. Ratings of the series climbed until his show as the most talked about radio program in Canada, eventually garnering an unprecedented 43% share of the audience. He is generally credited with having developed the "confrontational" style of interviewing.

He then moved to California, first for ABC, and later for KLAC, where he piled up ratings to top all other personalities and programs in the 92-station (combined AM and FM) market. The figures indicated that his audience was 96% adult -- surprisingly, 54% women and 42% men. When he was moved to the morning he took his ratings with him, and KLAC was for many years the No. 1-rated station in Los Angeles, for the 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM time period.

Before "The Joe Pyne Show" went on KTTV, its time period had generally earned ratings in the one's and two's. However, the Pyne Show repeated its phenominal climb to the top, and eventually it had a nine rating, with shares above 31%. A similar phenomenan occurred when Joe Pyne moved to WNEW-TV in New York City, in May, 1966; before long, he had increased from a six to a thirty-four share. An article in Newsweek on March 7, 1966, reported that Joe Pyne earned nearly $500,000 a year from his talk shows.

Before his death, Joe Pyne was one of the busiest men in broadcasting. "The Joe Pyne Show" was seen on Saturday and Tuesday evenings over KTTV in Los Angeles, for a total of four and a half hours. It was nationally syndicated by Hartwest Televison, Inc. as an hour and a half program. At the same time, his radio show aired for four hours a day on KLAC radio, and was syndicated nationally by Hartwest Productions, Inc. as a daily one-hour program, on nearly 350 radio stations nationally. In 1966, he was rated "No. 1" in a host of markets, including Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo, Spartanburg/Greenville, N.C., Asheville N.C., Miami, FL, New York, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Wichita.

National advertisers included Proctor and Gamble (Crest, Dash, Pampers, Prell, Tide, Crisco, Charmin, Zest), Lever Brothers (All, Lifebuoy, Pepsodent, Phase III, Lux, Wisk, Rinso, Imperial Margerine), General Foods (Cool Whip, Grape Nuts, Drip Whip, Gaines Meal, Maxim, New Tang), Philip Morris (Marlboro, Parliament, Persona), Coca Cola Company (Minute Maid Orange Juice), Alberto Culver (New Dawn, VO5), Johnson & Johnson (Micrin), S.C. Johnson (Johnson's Wax), Carter Products (Arid, Rise), R.J. Reynolds (Patio Foods), Miles Laboratories (Alka Seltzer), Pillsbury, Kellogs, Colgate, Kimberly Clark, American Tobnacco, Shell Oil, Cheseboro Ponds, Bristol Myers, Pepsi Cola, Severn-Up Bottling Co., Standard Oil, Post Cereals, proctor Silex, Lee Carpets, Lysol, Allerest, Noxess Corp. (Noxzema), Sealtest Company, U.S. Borax, Gallo Wine, Blcok Drug, Motorola, Armour (Dial Soap and Deodorant), Midas Muffler, Canada Dry, Toni, Sylvania, Toyota, Uniroyal Tires, American Home Products, Zenith, Family Finance, Southern Gas, Doan's Pills, Clark Oil, Consolidated Cigar, Plumrose Ham, Gillette, Simonize Company, Norelco, Benson & Hedges, Burlington Menswear, Uncle Ben's Rice products, Dristan, Libby Frozen Vegetables, Aamco Transmission, Oster Appliances, United fruit, Carter Pills, American Can Company, Trailways Buss, Hollywood Diet Bread, Cadillac Dog Food, AMF, Robert Hall, Quaker Oats, Luden's, Sunbeam, H.J. Heize Co., Speidel, Jeno's Pizza, Anderson Clayton (7-Seas Salad Dressing), Helene Curtis, Breck, Evelyn Wood Institute, Cutex, Pepto Mismol, Duffy Mott, Rival, Waternam/Bic, Mogen David, Alexander Smith Carpets, Parker Pen, Packard Bell, Master Charge, Texize, Falstaff Brewery, Black & Decker, Mr. Clean, and Compoz.

His interviews with controversial people, anxious to speak about subjects such as politics, sex, race, and the supernatural, continued to gain huge audiences for both television and radio. In the course of a typical week, Pyne went through several books, most national magazines, all major Los Angeles newspapers, and a wide range of national periodicals, so that he would be both informed and capable of jousting verbally with his interviewees.

Despite his huge success, he remained quietly charitable to others. For instance, in Christmas 1965, he assisted in a campaign by the Intrnational Order of Foresters to solicit bars of soap for the Vietnamese people. Over a quarter million bars of soap were donated, and shipment to Vietnam was arranged by the United States Marine Corps.

Pyne died, of lung cancer, in 1971.

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