Mary Pattiz, Rock D.J. During FM’s Heyday, Dies at 76

6 days ago 42

She was known arsenic “the Burner” for her seductive delivery, but disconnected the aerial she was thing but a chaotic stone ’n’ roller. She aboriginal became an addiction counselor.

A pistillate   with blonde hairsbreadth  wearing a bluish  garment  and grey  blazer smiles astatine  the camera. Next to her is simply a antheral   with grey  hairsbreadth  and a beard wearing achromatic  and besides  smiling. An lawsuit   badge dangles from his neck.
Mary Turner Pattiz and her husband, Norman Pattiz, astatine the opening of the Hard Rock Cafe successful Las Vegas successful 1995. After she ended her agelong tally connected Los Angeles radio, Ms. Pattiz had a 2nd vocation arsenic an addiction counsellor and philanthropist. Credit...Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, via Getty Images

Penelope Green

May 26, 2023, 4:43 p.m. ET

Mary Pattiz, who arsenic Mary Turner was a silky-voiced disc jockey astatine KMET, the album-oriented stone presumption that was the soundtrack of Southern California successful the 1970s and aboriginal ’80s, earlier leaving vigor to go an addiction counsellor and philanthropist, died connected May 9 astatine her location successful Beverly Hills. She was 76.

The origin was cancer, said Ace Young, a erstwhile KMET quality director.

KMET was a hard-rocking upstart successful the aboriginal 1970s, with its laid-back jockeys delivering a dependable travel of caller euphony from bands similar the Who, Pink Floyd and Steely Dan, on with somewhat naughty patter — a spot of intersexual innuendo, endless stoner jokes — that was a invited antagonistic to the Top 40 hits churned retired by AM stations.

They were arrogant renegades, mixing surf reports with quality sum of events similar the Mexican government’s spraying of its amerciable marijuana crops with paraquat, a deadly poison. (When Jim Ladd, a late-night D.J., told his listeners to telephone the White House to protestation the practice, 5,000 callers jammed the White House switchboard.) Their agleam yellowish billboards were ofteninstalled upside down. They had a signature cheer, “Whooya” (the “w” was silent), that each the jockeys worked into their programs; the neologism was a refinement, Mr. Young said successful an interview, “of the coughing dependable we made erstwhile we smoked excessively overmuch pot.” Ms. Pattiz — past Mary Turner — was known arsenic “the Burner,” a nickname said to person been fixed to her by Peter Wolf, the pb vocalist of the J. Geils Band, for her seductive transportation and bully looks, and she had the premier nighttime spot, from 6 to 10 p.m.

When large bands came to municipality to execute oregon beforehand a caller record, they made a halt astatine KMET to beryllium interviewed by Ms. Pattiz. She was soft-spoken and conversational, a gentle interlocutor who erstwhile teased Bruce Springsteen by asking, “Do you truly cognize a beauteous small spot successful Southern California, down San Diego way, wherever they play guitar each nighttime and each day?” (She was quoting “Rosalita,” a opus from Mr. Springsteen’s 2nd album.) Most important, she fto her subjects speech without interruption. For his part, Mr. Springsteen was truthful taken with her that helium asked her connected a date, and at his performance astatine the Forum successful Inglewood, Calif., the nighttime aft the interview, helium dedicated the opus “Promised Land” to her.

“You guys can’t spot what she looks like,” helium told the audience. “She’s existent pretty.”

She was besides highly private, circumspect astir her idiosyncratic life, her inheritance and adjacent her age. If she dated a stone star, her colleagues weren’t alert of it.

“The representation of a stone ’n’ rotation pistillate connected the hippest vigor presumption during those chaotic years was not the existent Mary Turner,” said Michael Harrison, a erstwhile big and programme manager astatine KMET who is present the steadfast of Talkers, a commercialized work astir the vigor industry. “The existent Mary Turner wasn’t wild. She was creaseless and professional. It was amusement business.”

Mr. Ladd, whose amusement followed hers, said: “You would perceive to her, and you would autumn successful emotion with her voice. She was deceptively soft. She would accidental a gag and 2 minutes aboriginal you would get the punch line. And similar each bully interviewers, she knew erstwhile to support her rima shut.”

By 1981, 2 stone interrogation shows she hosted, “Off the Record” and “Off the Record Specials,” were being syndicated by Westwood One, a institution founded by the media entrepreneur Norman Pattiz, whom she joined successful 1985. They were broadcast successful each large marketplace successful the United States and 40 countries done the American Forces Radio and Television Service, giving Ms. Pattiz a worldwide assemblage of much than 20 million.

Members of the Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Freddie Mercury of Queen each opened up during her freewheeling sessions. Mr. Mercury declared that helium recovered his aboriginal euphony disposable, “like a tampon.” Keith Richards was eloquent connected the ineffable magic of the Stones’ chemistry, and Mick Jagger admitted to utmost burnout portion connected tour.

On Ms. Pattiz’s 10th day astatine KMET, she was honored by Tom Bradley, past the politician of Los Angeles, successful a ceremonial astatine City Hall. A fewer months aboriginal she near the station.

Her last show, connected Aug. 6, 1982, is successful the imperishable postulation of the Paley Center for Media successful Manhattan. The hard-driving playlist included “Hang ’Em High” by Van Halen, “Back successful the Saddle” by Aerosmith and, appropriately, “Rosalita.”

“Well, perceive you guys, it has been a batch of amusive spending each azygous weekday nighttime with you for the past 10 years,” she said arsenic she concluded the show, “but the aged Burner’s got to beryllium moving on.” And past she played her last tune, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird.”


Ms. Pattiz successful 2005. She worked astatine KMET successful Los Angeles for 10 years earlier signing disconnected with 1 past hard-driving playlist successful 1982.Credit...R. Diamond/WireImage, via Getty Images

Mary Caroline Turner was calved connected Feb. 4, 1947, successful Baltimore. Her father, William Turner, was an aviation typical for an lipid company. Her mother, Carol (Steuart) Turner, was a homemaker.

She studied communications astatine Indiana University Bloomington, reasoning she mightiness enactment successful television, but alternatively recovered a occupation arsenic a promotions manager astatine KSAN, a progressive vigor presumption successful San Francisco. She did a small of everything there: engineering, hosting a play speech amusement and filling successful for different disc jockeys. It was the days of free-form FM radio, erstwhile the D.J.s played euphony from their ain collections, and to their ain taste.

“It was an breathtaking clip backmost past due to the fact that you didn’t run nether immoderate rules,” she told The Los Angeles Times successful 1982. “You could play thing you wanted, accidental thing you wanted, and who cared? FM astatine that clip was a joke, particularly to Top 40 people. We were the hippies, and they were the stars.”

She worked concisely astatine KSFX, a competing presumption successful San Francisco, and past auditioned for an opening astatine KMET successful 1972. At the time, she was 1 of lone a fistful of women moving successful radio. (Among the others was Alison Steele, different known arsenic “the Nightbird,” a sultry prima connected WNEW-FM, KMET’s sister presumption successful New York City.)

Ms. Pattiz said she recovered her sex to beryllium an advantage, contempt the overzealous fans who lurked successful the parking batch aft her amusement and the stalker who frightened her truthful overmuch that she ne'er near enactment without her 2 German shepherds and a antheral colleague.

“I deliberation being a pistillate helped much than thing else,” she told The Los Angeles Times. “The clip was close for it, and I happened to beryllium successful the close spot astatine the close time.”

Although Ms. Pattiz continued making her “Off the Record Specials” until the aboriginal ’90s, she mostly near the vigor satellite — and her colleagues — down aft her matrimony to Mr. Pattiz. The mates past became known for their philanthropy and for their regular appearances courtside astatine Lakers games.

Ms. Pattiz besides began moving arsenic a cause and intoxicant counselor, having confronted her ain struggles with substance abuse. In 2006 she earned a master’s grade successful science from the California Graduate Institute (now the Chicago School of Professional Psychology), and successful 2008 she earned a Ph.D. In 2010, she became chairwoman of the Betty Ford Center successful Rancho Mirage, Calif., taking implicit from Mrs. Ford’s daughter, Susan Ford Bales. Most recently, she served connected the boards of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and its Graduate School of Addiction Studies.

“When she near broadcasting she had nary involvement successful discussing the taxable whatsoever,” said Elliot Mintz, a longtime media advisor and a person of the couple. “She became wholly committed to improving the lives of radical caught successful addiction.”

Mr. Pattiz died successful December. Ms. Pattiz is survived by a brother.

“The Mary Turner of the Betty Ford epoch was the existent Mary Turner,” Mr. Harrison of Talkers said “The Mary Turner of KMET was a figment of our stone ’n’ rotation fantasy.”

Alain Delaquérière contributed research.

Penelope Green is simply a newsman connected the Obituaries table and a diagnostic writer. She has been a newsman for the Home section, exertion of Styles of The Times, an aboriginal iteration of Style, and a communicative exertion astatine the Sunday magazine. @greenpnyt Facebook

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