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From the (Deep) Archive: Mal Sharpe Interviews People On Street About PBC

On the occasion of PBC’s induction into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame, we take you back to 1993 when the late, legendary Mal Sharpe stood with Collins under a KSFO billboard and interviewed passersby.

Tech note: There’s about 20 seconds of silence at the start of this MP3.  Be patient, or use fast forward.

Mal Sharpe was a colorful veteran of Bay Area radio, and also made the Hall of Fame.  Sharpe teamed up with Jim Coyle in the 1960’s at KGO, and they roamed the streets of San Francisco with a bulky portable tape recorder.  To hear some of their classic interviews, just search at YouTube under “Coyle and Sharpe”.  Here’s one of my favorites, where they work over a pharmacist about their plans to perform surgery on Sharpe in a station wagon.

Sharpe was a frequent guest on my afternoon drive talk show on KSFO, and we schemed to record these interviews, right across the street from a rotating billboard that featured a panel promoting the PBC show.  The sight gag in the billboard is that my picture was placed on the far left, so that only half was showing, tied to the tag line, “He’s a little to the left”.  Our question: do people tune into a radio station in reaction to seeing a billboard for that station?

Sharpe demonstrated his skill at accosting unsuspecting members of the public, and engaging them in his question of the moment.  We had a blast doing it, and your humble host was even more humbled to learn that most people never heard of the bum, and the few who had heard of him didn’t recognize him even when he was standing under a big billboard with his name and photo.

Mal Sharpe was a favorite radio buddy, who also was a jazz DJ on KCSM-FM for many years, and a leader of the band “Big Money in Dixieland”that played North Beach clubs for many years.  Miss you, Mal!