“Salty” Brine was the most listened to Rhode Island morning radio announcer for almost four decades during the Cold War era. An iconic personality, he also conducted a popular television series for children during the 1950s. His sidekick was Jeff, his beloved collie. One might say that he served as an uncle to many Rhode Island children who lacked a male figure in the home.
Walter Leslie Brine, Jr. was born in Lexington, Massachusetts to parents who came from Nova Scotia. He was the youngest of four children. Although “Salty” announced with a Boston accent, he was regarded as a true Rhode Islander. He has been remembered fondly for his clean-living, which foreshadowed future TV personalities such as Mr. Rogers.
At age ten, Salty Brine attempted to jump a freight train near his home in Arlington, Massachusetts and lost one of his legs as a result. In later life, he would visit hospitals to encourage other children who had lost limbs. He was also a tireless fundraiser for many local charitable causes.
Salty’s first radio jobs were in his native Massachusetts with WNAC: Boston, WESX: Salem, and WCOP: Boston. In September 1942, Salty joined Providence radio station WPRO. He hosted the morning show (originally called the “T.N.T. Review”) from 1943 until April 28, 1993.
From 1955 to 1968, he hosted “Salty Brine’s Shack” on WPRO-TV/WPRI-TV, a live evening children’s program. Its closing words, “Brush your teeth and say your prayers,” remained his signature line throughout his life.
He was recognized as a true media professional and gentleman by various groups. In 1988, Salty was named “Man of the Year” by the Rhode Island Advertising Club, and became known for his saying, “Nobody Gives a Greater Deal” as the spokesman for his clients. In 1990, the popular Galilee State Beach in South County was renamed the Salty Brine State Beach. In 2008, Salty Brine was posthumously inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame.