In advance of Joey Reynolds’ upcoming luncheon appearance in Buffalo, we’re looking back at his stellar broadcasting career, which has taken him from his native Buffalo to some of the biggest markets in the nation. Over the course of nearly 60 years, Reynolds has built a reputation as a Top 40 radio superstar and an entertaining talk show host. He’s generally acknowledged to have been radio’s first “shock jock,” as he peppered his show with audacious observations and over-the-top humor.

Reynolds was inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 1999. On Friday, April 17th, he’ll be our guest at a noon luncheon at Chefs Restaurant. Reserve your seat today at the BBA website.

Reynolds was born Joey Pinto. After growing up in Buffalo, he embarked on a broadcasting career in the late 1950s. One of his first jobs was at the old WWOL 1120AM in Buffalo. From here, Reynolds went to Miami and then Syracuse and Hartford. In 1963, he returned home where his career took off as the evening jock at WKBW 1520AM.

From 7pm to 12mid, Reynolds ruled the airwaves across the Eastern Seaboard. Thousands of teen listeners became members of the “Royal Order of the Night People.” Send in a self-addressed stamped envelope to 1430 Main Street, Buffalo, and you received your official purple membership card in return. Reynolds got the Four Seasons to produce a special radio jingle that became almost as popular as the group’s singles. As Danny Neaverth wrapped up his afternoon show, Joey would join Danny on the air – a must-listen to moment each night on KB. The two recorded a record, “Rats in My Room,” which became a hit here in Buffalo.

Just recently, we learned of an incredible story involving Reynolds, Neaverth and The Beatles. In February 1964, the two KB jocks were offered the chance to bring the Fab Four to Memorial Auditorium a day after the band’s legendary appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. But they were unwilling to risk the $3,500 appearance fee for a new band on a Monday night in mid-winter in Buffalo. So, Reynolds and Neaverth declined the offer, and the rest is history.

During his time at KB Radio, Reynolds also hosted a dance-style music show on sister station, WKBW, Channel 7.

Reynolds left KB in 1966. Following a dispute with management, Reynolds was fired from his nightly air shift. It’s said that as he left the station, Reynolds nailed his shoes to the officer door of the manager with a sign that read, “Fill These.” You can hear an air check of Reynolds at KB from 1964 at http://northeastairchecks.com (just scroll down the menu and you’ll find it). The clip includes a Pulse Beat newscast with Henry Bach, a vintage Kent Cigarettes commercial and a sports scoreboard, plus The Beatles’ “She Loves You” (where he offers some lukewarm praise of the group).

Over the next ten years, Reynolds bounced from market to market, from Cleveland and Detroit to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Occasionally, he’d come home to Buffalo for guest appearances on WGR and WGRQ. Back then, you didn’t acknowledge your competition. But Reynolds would use these guest appearances to skewer WKBW and other broadcasting icons in Buffalo. The playing of songs was few and far between as Reynolds regaled his listener with story after story.

Again, Reynolds is coming home on Friday, April 17th for a special BBA luncheon at Chef’s. You won’t want to miss it. Make sure you make your reservations today. Next week, we’ll explore Reynolds post-Buffalo career, including his long tenure as overnight host on WOR Radio in New York City.

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