Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rise and Shine with Salty Brine

Salty Brine aka Walter L. Brine died back in 2004. Outside of Rhode Island he is a total unknown, but in that small state, he was a celebrity. He was a veteran broadcaster, and a host of a popular children's television program: Salty Brine's Shack. He's best known for that time spent on TV with his collie Jeff, but he was in radio both before and after his tour on the tube. More here.

He was born in 1918 in Boston, and  in 1941 he graduated from the Staley College for Radio in Brookline, MA. After spending time at a few Boston are stations, notably WNAC-AM, WESX-AM and WCOP-AM he became an announcer on 630 WPRO-AM in 1942.  Some sources say as early as 1938. This is erroneous. Over time, his program just became a part of Rhode Island culture. A 1976 issue of Billboard quoted station manager Jay Clark about Mr. Brine:
"...Salty Brine, a 35-year veteran of WPRO is a much a part of Rhode Island life as fishing and johnny cakes. Brine may play as few as 2 records an hour, but he provides news [traffic,] sports, ski reports, and is totally service oriented."
His morning show ran from 5:30 AM to 9:00 AM Monday through Friday. he maintained the show through many format changes. He began the children's program on WPRO-TV Channel 12 in 1955 and it continued into 1968. When the TV program ended and Salty stuck with WPRO-AM. He retired in 1993 but  remained on air part tie here and there at least into 1999. His legacy was immortalized in an unusual way in 1990. The state legislature named a stretch of beach in Narragansett as Salty Brine State Beach.. There is a nice obit here. He is survived by his son Walter Brine Jr. who goes by the name Wally Brine. Wally went into radio as well, spending time on both WVBF and WROR.