Mary Turner, pioneering KMET disc jockey who dominated L.A. rock radio, dies at 76

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Mary Turner, thought-about the primary girl of rock radio in Los Angeles on station KMET-FM, has died. She was 76.

Turner died Tuesday at her Beverly Hills house after an extended battle with most cancers, in accordance with Jarrett Bostwick, executor of her property.

By means of the Seventies and early ‘80s, Turner was thought to be the most-listened-to feminine voice in radio. Often called “The Burner” — a moniker given to her by Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band — she is finest remembered by Los Angeles child boomers for her years on KMET, the long-lasting FM outlet that was a must-listen for rock followers within the Seventies and ‘80s.

Turner was among the many trailblazing girls who acquired alternatives behind the microphone within the early Seventies after males had lengthy dominated the radio enterprise. Her probability got here as FM rock music codecs proliferated and provided an alternative choice to the tight playlists and rapid-fire type of prime 40 AM stations.

Turner had two nationally syndicated applications on Westwood One, the corporate based by her late husband, media government Norman Pattiz, and broadcast to troops in 40 international locations via the Armed Forces Radio and Tv Service. She additionally hosted an in-flight music program for airline TWA. A Gallup analysis examine in 1981 discovered that her voice was heard by 23.4 million individuals per week.

Turner was born in Maryland on Feb. 4, 1947. After graduating from Indiana College within the late Nineteen Sixties, Turner hoped to pursue a profession as a TV producer or director.

She moved to San Francisco, the place she answered telephones at Autumn Data, the label the place Sly Stone toiled as a producer, and later landed a job within the promotion division of native TV station KNEW. She finally moved to KSAN-FM, the station programmed by Tom Donahue, who’s credited with first growing the progressive radio format that performed album cuts as an alternative of simply the hit singles heard on the AM dial.

At KSAN-FM, Turner labored as an engineer and did some fill-in air shifts. She moved to Los Angeles to affix KMET in 1972 and was a part of its evolution from a free-form “underground” station to a extra business album-oriented rock format. By the top of the Seventies, KMET, which known as itself “The Mighty Met,” was the second-most listened-to station within the Los Angeles market.

Turner turned one of many station’s signature personalities together with B. Mitchell Reed, Jim Ladd and Jeff Gonzer. Her smooth-as-glass vocal supply had a particular attraction to younger male listeners, together with one who tried to get into the station at evening to satisfy her, in accordance with pal and former KMET colleague Ace Younger.

The incident led her to journey with two giant German shepherds as safety. They even curled up together with her within the confines of a small studio.

In a 1981 interview, Turner described her on-air method as “let’s stay it up, have time, let the music do the speaking.”

“I’m partying each single evening from 6 to 10,” she mentioned. “What could possibly be finer?”

Michael Harrison, the editor of the radio business publication Talkers and a colleague of Turner at Westwood One, mentioned she possessed the authenticity the rock viewers demanded on the time.

“She knew the music,” Harrison mentioned. “She knew the approach to life. She knew the artists and she or he spoke their language, which made her a really efficient interviewer.”

Turner demonstrated her potential to attach with rock stars on “Off the Report,” a short-form interview program launched in 1979 by Westwood One. The present aired on greater than 200 radio stations within the U.S. and led to a long-form collection known as “Off the Report Particular.”

Turner chatted in an off-the-cuff, conversational tone that made stars akin to Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen really feel comfy. (Richards admitted to her he was an altar boy at Westminster Abbey and a soprano soloist till puberty kicked in and his voice dropped.)

?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcalifornia times brightspot.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fbe%2Fb8%2F3d8814604d489d0093ce574b9deb%2Fgettyimages 179841963 - Mary Turner, pioneering KMET disc jockey who dominated L.A. rock radio, dies at 76

Norm Pattiz, Mary Turner and Lee Zeidman on the forty sixth Grammy Awards in 2004.

(Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic through Getty Pictures)

The success of Turner’s syndicated exhibits led her to depart her on-air duties at KMET-FM in 1982.

Round that point, she married Pattiz and so they remained collectively till his loss of life in December 2022. She shared her husband’s ardour for the Los Angeles Lakers and was usually seen seated subsequent to him courtside at video games.

Turner left the radio enterprise within the early Nineteen Nineties. After recovering from a substance abuse downside, she earned a doctorate in scientific psychology and have become a licensed drug and alcohol counselor. She later served as chair of the Betty Ford Heart in Rancho Mirage.

Turner has no survivors.

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