Thursday

Say Joe Rumore!


I ran across a website the other day that contained a tribute to Joe Rumore. Few people under 50 would remember him, but during the late 1950's through the early 1970's Joe was a radio superstar, the host of The Joe Rumore Show on WVOK in Birmingham. Joe's morning show was broadcast from his home, and regular listeners became acquainted with his large Italian American family through the years. They would join him as he opened the show. "From our house to your house, this is The Joe Rumore Show from The Mighty 690, WVOK!... BIRMINGHAM!...ALABAM!" The show was sponsored by Golden Eagle Table Syrup (With just a touch of honey, it's The Pride of Alabama!). A local car wash ran ads, too, although it apparently never occured to Joe to change the commercial. For years the spot would begin with Joe saying "You know, folks, the family car just seems to run better after a professional wash and wax!"


The show's audience was primarily older housewives throughout northern Alabama. In the late fifties Joe's marketing gimmick was to have his listeners send in a postcard with their phone number on it. If Joe selected the card and called, and the person answered the phone with "Joe Rumore!", they would win $690.00. It was a cute idea, and in it's heyday there were probably a lot of callers in northern Alabama who were startled to hear Joe Rumore! when they placed a morning call to a friend.

The show declined in later years, as people began to watch morning television instead of listen to morning radio. Joe was still fun to listen to in the late 70's, although he had become somewhat eccentric. He tried to launch a boycott of coffee because the prices had risen due to a freeze or something in South America. He did the same thing later because the price of peanut butter had gone up, obsessing and ranting on his show day after day. Folks don't buy it! Just don't buy peanut butter! Let's send a message that these prices are just not acceptable! Such antics made the show sound a little unusual, but my guess is the long time listeners didn't care, and probably joined the boycott.

It's funny how things sometime get stored away in your mind. I'm not talking about vivid memories of memorable events, but trivial sorts of things.

Take phone numbers, for instance. I can still remember our old phone number we had when I was a kid. It was JE8 7373. I think my brother Tom's was 547 6793 when he lived in Oakleigh Estates. I believe my brother Jack's was 547 6687. My old friend Robert's was 538 9303, my friend Sandy's was 538 5572. Yall let me know if I am right on these!

I worked at WVOK in the early 80's, and I was employed there when The Joe Rumore Show ended in 1982. Joe died in 1993.