He was not hired for his chiseled good looks nor his “J” school pedigree.
My dad and I went to the movies this afternoon to see Chris Rock’s “Top Five.” The real story happened before we went into the theater. I heard my name, “Geoff?” It was Beth Krom.
Beth is friends with my Irvine Fox cousins and very active politically. Oh… and her father is like a god to me. No, really.
Whomever you grew up watching on TV news, Irv Weinstein was bigger! WKBW Eyewitness News dominated Buffalo television in a way impossible today. Irv’s newscasts normally beat the other stations combined. I worked for the competition. It was humbling.
Irv was known for his staccato delivery of alliteration laden news copy. He was not hired for his chiseled good looks nor his “J” school pedigree. Yet he was everything a news anchor should be, which is why so many chose to watch. Irv took responsibility for everything that hit air.
I ran into Irv thirty years ago as I was considering the offer that brought me to Connecticut. We were at Chef’s, an old school Buffalo Italian restaurant where he often had dinner. He took me aside and gave me some fatherly advice.
He didn’t have to. He was a big deal and I was just starting out. He was that kind of guy. The people of Buffalo understood this viscerally.
I walked over to Beth, who introduced me to her family and said her father would soon be there!
He looks great. He sounds great. He has lost nothing off the fastball. Like me, Irv ditched winter for Irvine.
I took this picture with Irv, my dad and me. I’ve never felt so tall in my life!
Whereas most radio stations and disk jockeys had jingles cut in Dallas by Pams or TM (or now by my friend Jon Wolfert at Jam) Joey had a jingle sung by the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons!
Word came last night WOR radio let Joey Reynolds go. I can’t help but feel bad because Joey is one of the reasons radio attracted me so much and why I made it my career for 11 years. Though I lived in Queens and had both WMCA and WABC at my beck and call I gravitated to WKBW in Buffalo, a station I could only hear after dark.
Joey was having a party in the studio and I was invited night-after-night. As good as Dan Ingram, Cousin Brucie and Gary Stevens were they were never as approachable as Joey seemed. I sent my self addressed stamped envelope off to Buffalo to get my purple membership card in the Royal Order of the Night People. I wanted in!
I remember hearing about Joey at other stations as his career bounced up-and-down after ‘KB. At one point he was selling jingles (or so I remember) made to be sung over the intro to records. There are some songs I can’t hear today without hearing some now defunct station’s call letters sung over the front!
A few years ago Joey went to WOR New York where he held down the free form all-night talk show. He’s still that party guy I remember with an infectious laugh that’s instantly recognizable.
Even in the best of times you don’t make money keeping a radio station on-the-air 24/7. Nowadays all-nights are a liability in an otherwise awful economic time for radio. Joey was replaced by a syndicated show–one host for scores of stations across the entire country.
Among the things I remember most about Joey is a jingle from his show. Whereas most radio stations and disk jockeys had jingles cut in Dallas by Pams or TM (or now by my friend Jon Wolfert at Jam) Joey had a jingle sung by the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons!
I’ll bet you I haven’t heard this in 40+ years–until now.
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