Joseph Dyer, who covered Watts riots, dies at 76

Station exec improved diversity at KCBS

Retired KCBS executive Joseph Dyer, one of the first African American correspondents hired by a network station in the L.A. market, died of heart failure Thursday in Los Angeles. He was 76.

Dyer was hired by KCBS precursor KNXT as a writer and news producer just a few months before the Watts riots of 1965, and he was one of the few black reporters to cover that crisis in the African American community.

Promoted to director of community affairs three years later, Dyer pushed to increase diversity at the station and improve communication with outside groups critical of its coverage. Also in his three decades at the station, Dyer wrote editorials, which he delivered on air, and hosted a public affairs program.

Dyer was born to sharecropper parents in Louisiana. His father died when he was young; his mother was deaf. He graduated from Grambling State U. with a bachelor’s degree in speech and drama in 1957. He served in the Air Force and then relocated to L.A.

Dyer retired from KCBS in the mid-1990s. He subsequently published a memoir and penned historical fiction.

He is survived by his wife, Doris; three daughters and a son; two sisters; and three grandchildren.

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