Top 40 radio and television personality
"A pioneer of the brash, no-holds-barred style that came to dominate morning shows on rock radio in the 1990s, Joey Reynolds began working as a deejay at small stations in 1960. In 1963 he returned to his hometown of Buffalo, New York, where he worked at WKBW, the powerhouse station whose signal reached two-thirds of North America. Mixing traditional Top 40 histrionics with rants and raves about anyone who had upset him—be it his boss or his listeners—he became a sensation and moved on to stations in Cleveland and Detroit. After jumping around to Hartford, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and New York City, he landed in Miami in the late 1980s, working on both radio and television and later hosting a nationally syndicated, all-night radio talk show."
Thank you, Ben Fong-Torres!
The Early Years
A lifetime in the spotlight began in the mid-1950s when young Joey Pinto took over the PA system at the Buffalo (NY) Boy’s Club. There, after school the early teen “broadcast” music and news with his friends. Next came a weekly television dance party show reading teen news on WGR-TV Channel 2. Joey landed his first radio station job at WWOL-AM in Buffalo as a production assistant with future Detroit star Dick Purtan. Still in his teens, Joey cajoled his way into an on-air job at WNCO-AM in Ashland, Ohio before the end of the decade.
The '60s and '70s
Joey rose to fame as a Top 40 disk jockey and radio personality during these decades. After Ohio came Wheeling, West Virginia and Miami, Florida where he worked with Larry King. Still in the early ‘60s, he shuffled back to Buffalo where WBNY program director Arnie Schorr gave Joey his “all-American” surname of Reynolds!
During this era, Joey amassed huge audiences in Hartford, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, and Philadelphia. He was recognized as Billboard Magazine’s DJ of the Year three times and twice named The Gavin Report’s Top 40 DJ of the Year. Often regarded as the originator of "shock-jock radio,” he garnered widespread publicity for outlandish on-air and off-air stunts. He’s still remembered for locking himself into a WPOP studio and playing “Sherry” by the Four Seasons for hours on end. Police were called as a safety precaution due to the local hysteria.
As a thank you for promoting their music, Four Seasons’ producer Bob Krewe arranged for the group to re-record “Big Girls Don’t Cry” as a special radio jingle for Joey. He’s been a friend to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons ever since and used the theme to introduce his radio show for decades.
During his amazing ratings run at WKBW in Buffalo, Joey and fellow DJ Danny Neaverth recorded the novelty single "Rats in My Room" on the same US record label that released “She Loves You” by a then unknown group from Liverpool, England named the Beatles.
In a twist of fate, Reynolds and Neaverth, were offered the chance to bring the Beatles to Buffalo Memorial Auditorium on February 10, 1964, the day after the band’s debut on the Ed Sullivan Show for what would have been their first concert performance in North America. Unwilling to risk a $3,500 appearance fee for an unknown act on a Monday night in typically snow-laden weather with no guarantee of ticket sales - the two declined the offer. It wasn’t until after Beatlemania swept the nation that the mistake was acknowledged. In three years of touring North America, the Beatles never performed in Buffalo. In a counter twist, shortly after the incident, Joey became lifelong friends with legendary promoter Sid Bernstein, the man credited with bringing the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and other major British Invasion acts, to America.
Reynolds’ run at “KB” radio and television famously came to an end in 1966 when he was terminated following a dispute with management. In response, he nailed his shoes to the station manager’s door with a note saying, “Fill these [expletive].” He worked his way through a few more stations to end the decade but not before creating yet another sensation when, while reportedly stuck in a Hartford elevator, he purposely allowed the record “In the Midnight Hour” to skip long enough on WDRC to contribute to another firing.
The ‘70s saw his first appearance in Philadelphia – on WIBG – and as a frequent guest with Wolfman Jack on WNBC in New York. He successfully launched an innovative radio jingle and production company on the east coast that transitioned with Joey to the west coast towards the end of the decade. A three-year marketing stint at 20th Century Fox in Los Angeles as Creative Director allowed him to work in music and film with the likes of Barry White, John Landis, and George Lucas – on the first Star Wars film – to name a few! He ended the decade commuting to Las Vegas as President of Wayne Newton’s record label and entertainment company.
The '80s and '90s
After Wayne Newton and a few years off the airwaves, the radio bug eventually bit again in a big way. To start the decade, there were “hired gun” week or month-long stints on LA radio stations that culminated in the syndicated Satellite Live – the first satellite radio show in the world. The weekly Sunday night broadcast, syndicated on over 60 stations nationally, featured major Hollywood stars. Concurrently, he was signed by KOA in Denver to host another radio first - All Night Live - the first radio and TV simulcast. The five-hour long, Monday through Friday, overnight show - syndicated nationally on more than 35 radio stations – was groundbreaking but proved to be ahead of its time and was shuttered after a year.
Following a short hiatus, Joey began a series of “roadshow” appearances, contracted for short stints across the country (and Canada) by stations looking for a ratings bump or a programming shake up. One of those stints in 1984 led to his return to Philadelphia as the morning host on WFIL. While there, he famously kicked-off an impromptu 37-1/2 hour fund-raising marathon netting over $100,000 for famine-stricken Ethiopia. He was honored by being named one of Billboard Magazine’s “Personality of the Year” award winners that year.
In 1986, he returned to 66 WNBC but this time as the sole “afternoon drive” host — replacing Howard Stern in a line-up that included Don Imus and Soupy Sales. “W-Nnnnnn…BC” had moved towards a talk-intensive, full-service format, with music taking a backseat. The shows featured Reynolds as the ringleader with lots of A-List guests, playing a few adult contemporary hits and comedy skits from Joey and his talented ensemble. Notably, the show was on the air live when the station's traffic helicopter crashed into the Hudson River tragically killing actress/comedian/traffic reporter Jane Dornacker. Reynolds exited WNBC in March of 1987. That spring he was the focus of a two-part series on The Oprah Winfrey Show about talk radio personalities that included more than a dozen of Reynolds' media peers paying tribute. By late summer, he landed again, this time in Miami – 27 years after his first foray there.
During seven years on the air in South Florida, Joey appeared on a handful of stations and also hosted a daily television talk show for a short time on WPLG-TV. He made a few more east coast “roadshow” appearances before returning to New York City in late 1995 to begin hosting what would become a nationally syndicated overnight talk show on the WOR Radio Network heard on over 100 stations. It marked the start of a fourteen-year run – the longest of his career. The show featured countless guests five nights a week and included live international broadcasts from Russia, China, and Israel.
In April of 1998, Joey was the recipient of a special honor when he was recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland for his contributions to rock and roll radio along with other legendary disk jockeys. At a Radio Pioneers event, these rock and roll “deejays” celebrated the opening of a new permanent exhibit called “Dedicated to the One I Love” featuring radio broadcasts and mementos from the era.
The following year, Joey received his second big honor of the decade with his induction into the Buffalo Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame!
The 2000s to Today
To start the new millennium, Reynolds' published his career memoir - Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella, But Don’t Get a Mouthful of Rain - the title coming from his signature radio sign-off. A second book followed titled The Ultimate Cheesecake Cookbook - a result of his successful mail-order cheesecake business. Joey also signed a distribution deal with Bloomingdale's for the premium desserts!
He received two distinctly New York City honors in 2006. That November, he was recognized by NYU for his career of "Entertaining and Enlightening, Discovering and Nurturing Young Talent, and Improving the Human Condition" - a far cry from his days as the original "shock jock." A month later, he was selected as Little Italy's Man of the Year!
He closed the decade with another prestigious music award. The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame honored Joey by inducting him in 2009 for his impact on the region.
In March 2010, WOR announced a programming shift that led to the cancellation of The Joey Reynolds Show after a fourteen-year run. The last show was humorously divided into the "Final Gay Hour," the "Final Jewish Hour" and "The Final Hour;" it aired the morning of April 3, 2010.
Reynolds didn’t miss a beat and was back on the air by the following January. He began hosting a unique talk/variety TV program called All Night with Joey Reynolds on WNBC-DT2, the digital sub-channel of television station WNBC-TV billed as "New York Nonstop." The two-hour nightly show was broadcast live from the ground floor of the NASDAQ building in Times Square at 43rd Street and Broadway. Reynolds was reunited with former WNBC radio sidekick, Jay Sorensen, as the program's announcer/sidekick. The weeknight series ended on April 25, 2011.
The summer of 2013 saw Joey featured in the film ‘Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie’ about the life and times of his old friend who passed away in 2001. Mort was Joey's roommate when the pair worked together at WNDR Syracuse in the early sixties. They continued to collaborate on various projects over four decades.
After All Night, Joey took to the internet in earnest. He experimented with long and short form video content working with Pseudo Entertainment and the South Florida Reporter, recording interviews and translating his stream-of-consciousness “Reynolds Raps” to the new medium. The prep work paid off with the launch of Sunday Night Live with The Late Joey Reynolds in October 2016. Billed as the “World’s First Live Triplecast,” the weekly program could be heard live on 77 WABC in New York, 790 KABC in Los Angeles, and featured two hours of live video streaming accessible online. The show concluded after nearly a year but The Late Joey Reynolds has continued and can be followed today on all major social media platforms.
Additional Projects and Honors
A 2014 project included iPot—a documentary filmed entirely on an iPad. It featured several celebrities and highlighted Joey’s special relationship with one of his daughters who legally grew medical marijuana in California.
In 2019, he was honored by the New Jersey Legislature with a Distinguished Career in Broadcasting Award which cited his management of WHLW in Lakewood and his many years of being heard in the state on radio airwaves.
More recently, he signed on as Marketing Director and Board Member for 98 Point Six TV and is an advisor for IndieCast TV.
Joey currently resides in Florida and New York, and still says “Let a smile be your umbrella, but don’t get a mouthful of rain!”
EVENTS AND RADIO SHOWS
Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters Oral History Interview
We Make Marines
Joey's Profile Reel
Joey's Gillette Commercial
This unique documentary about medical marijuana is personally narrated by legendary broadcast and digital creator, Joey Reynolds. It was featured in the Nyack Film Festival on Saturday August 15th, 2015, at the Nyack Village Theater on Main Street in Nyack.
iPot: A Unique Documentary by Joey Reynolds
The movie was released in 2014 and premiered online at 4:20 PM on 4/20/20!
This is Joey's story about his daughter growing medical marijuana in Northern California's Emerald Triangle. Filmed on location in Humboldt County, San Francisco, New York City, and Woodstock, NY.
Appearances include: radio personality Shotgun Tom Kelly, author Clint Werner, Dr. Dennis Resnick,
Dr. Ari Brenholtz, Marc Eliot, John "Cha Cha" Ciarcia, Kenny Kramer,
Patrick Carlin (brother of George) and Butch Denner!
Check out Joey's latest rants, raves, observations and speculations!
Reynolds Raps 2014-to Date!
Joey hangs out in Central Park with one of the Greatest Producers/Promoters of our time, Sid Bernstein
Killer Memorabilia in Basement of private home
Generations of teens have loved Buffalo's evening DJs (The Buffalo News, May 2020)
Online Premiere of iPot on 4/20/20 @ 4:20 PM (Radio and Music Pros, Apr 2020)
Taylor Swift feud with record label spotlights ownership rights (UPI, Nov 2019)
News Bites: Garry Meier, Joey Reynolds, ‘Uforia Mix Live!,’ WZAK (Inside Radio, Jun 2019)
TALKERS News Notes (Talkers, May 2019)
My View: The After Party Begins Before The Show At The Late Joey Reynolds Radio Program (Times Square Chronicles, Dec 2016)
‘Famous 56’ Staffers Reunite, Maybe For The Last Time (CBS Philly, Oct 2016)
Film Review: ‘Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie’ (Variety, Jun 2013)
Hiatus for New York Nonstop's All Night with Joey Reynolds (Adweek, May 2011)
Friend remembers Soupy Sales as someone who'd 'do anything for you' (NY Daily News, Oct 2009)
Talk Show Host Joey Reynolds-Radio's Original 'Shock Jock'- to Be Honored at NYU, Nov. 27 (NYU News Release, Nov 2006)
De Niro, Pesci Turn Out for 'Jersey Boys' (Fox News, Nov 2005)
Joey All Night (The Hartford Courant, Nov 2002)
Joey Reynolds, A Pioneer of Shock Radio (The Buffalo News, June 2000)
Buffalo Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame Inductee (April, 1999)
Pal Joey Reynolds Hits The Post (The Hits Just Keep on Coming, The History of Top 40 Radio by Ben-Fong Torres, 1998)
KB Legend Joey Reynolds Is Making Comeback On Syndicated Radio Talk Show (The Buffalo News, Mar 1996)
Is Joey Reynolds On The Way Back Up? (South Florida SunSentinel, Jun 1992)
Click image above to purchase from Amazon
Joey Reynolds is one of America's most beloved radio personalities. Spinning records as a teenager in Buffalo, New York, Joey quickly became one of the trendsetters of early rock radio. From Miami to Philly, to Detroit to New York, wherever Joey went, his show as always at the top of the charts. After a detour to Hollywood and a long battle with the bottle, Joey's career went into a long, slow slide. Filled with humorous anecdotes and stories of the many celebrities and rock stars Joey has met, this is the story of a man whose rise, fall, and rise again was fueled by the power of laughter. After finding sobriety, Joey bounced back as always. He went on to have the number one rated overnight radio talk show in the country. His "stream of consciousness" style, and sense of humor, are winning new fans every day.
Click image above to purchase from Amazon
To taste the Ultimate Cheesecake is to love it!
Imagine the creamiest, dreamiest, yummiest cheesecake you've ever tasted. Now imagine having it all for yourself whenever you want it! The Ultimate Cheesecake Cookbook makes homemade cheesecake so incredibly easy and fun, you'll be hard-pressed to find a more perfect dessert for every occasion. Famed radio personality Joey Reynolds and the queen of cheesecakes herself, Myra "Mother Wonderful" Chanin, have created lighthearted and simple-to-follow recipes for dozens of delicious cheesecakes--some fancy enough for your most formal dinner parties, some so easy they're practically instant--in luscious flavors like Butter Nut, Apricot Almond, Strawberry Rhubarb, Chocolate Mint, Jomocha, and Ginger Pear. Joey and Myra also teach you how to make cheesecake muffing and cookies, as well as no-bake cheesecakes for those hot summer days, and they supply the key to creating your own custom cheesecake flavors.
Click image above to purchase from Amazon
Joey Reynolds & Jimmy Wisner read The Prophet
Kahlil Gibran’s masterpiece, The Prophet, is one of the most beloved classics of our time. Published in 1923, it has been translated into more than twenty languages, and the American editions alone have sold more than nine million copies.
The Prophet is a collection of poetic essays that are philosophical, spiritual, and, above all, inspirational. Gibran’s musings are divided into twenty-eight chapters covering such sprawling topics as love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, housing, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and death.
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