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Monday, June 02, 2014

Bill Young, broadcasting legend, is gone

Bill Young, known for KILT leadership, voice of KTRK and many commercials, passes away

Bill Young
Bill Young
Sunday, the news started to spread across Houston and beyond that legendary broadcaster Bill Young died Saturday night.

 According to his bio, Young served as Director of Programming for KILT AM/FM-Houston from 1966 to 1981. Under Young's 15 year leadership, KILT dominated Houston ratings and achieved national acclaim, including recognition as "Radio Station of the Year" and "Program Director of the Year."

"Bill was a true creative soul and used radio to create the “theater of the mind” as the legendary station owner Gordon McClendon termed it," Bill Young Productions Sr. Vice President Sid Farbstein told "Bill groomed such radio legends as Steve Lundy, Jimmy Rabbit, Randy Robins, and created the legendary morning duo Hudson and Harrigan at KILT in Houston. During his tenure at KILT he was named the National Program Director of the Year by Gavin magazine, plus 5 other national acknowledgements from Billboard Magazine.

"He also brought a level of integrity to the business. It was widely known that record promoters would try and give gifts and other inducements to get their record on the air. It was also widely known throughout the business that you could not buy Bill Young. If a record got added to his playlist – it was added solely based on the quality of the song or performance."

Beyond radio, you could not escape the sound of Young's amazing voice. He was the VO guy for KTRK abc13's newscast open for many years.

Then there was the concert and commercial voice work he did at his Bill Young Productions. Pick a major artist and Young probably voiced their marketing.

"Bill created what the concert promotion industry is today," Farbstein told me. "When Bill first approached the business there was one competitor who took almost a week – sometimes more to get the concert promoter a concert radio ad. That competitor operated on the old adage you can either have it fast, or have it good. Bill’s approach was why should someone have to make that choice. Bill started offering services that turned around spots in 24 hours or less, in fact at one time Bill’s company, Bill Young Productions was Federal Express’s single largest client in Houston. Trucks would back up to the studio, collect spots, and drive directly to the airport to load them on planes. It’s been said that every 22 seconds – a Bill Young Productions spot airs somewhere in the world!"

The Bill Young Productions website issued this statement considering its founder:

It is with great sadness we must inform you of the passing of our founder, leader, and mentor Bill Young. Bill was not only the driving force of our industry – he created it, and most certainly was the voice of it. We will miss Bill’s incredible voice and big heart every day.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a contribution be made to the Alpha-1 Foundation at, or to the charity of your choice. Tributes may be left on the website of the Settegast-Kopf Funeral Home at Sugar Creek.

A representative with Bill Young Productions told me Young suffered from Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency.

The Texas radio world is mourning the loss.

"Bill was instrumental in the growth of our organization from the earliest days, and was responsible for the careers of so many individuals that now reside within our ranks," said Texas Radio Hall of Fame Owner/Operations Manager Joshua C. Holstead. "Our sincerest condolences go out to his wife Sharon, his family, friends, business associates, partners and the most creative people on this planet at Bill Young Productions. We were blessed to be in his presence, to take his guidance, and learn from his leadership and management style. He was loved by millions, and will be missed by many."

The group's November 1st induction ceremony in Galveston will be dedicated to his life and legacy.

The Texas Radio Hall of Fame reports Young's memorial service will be held at 11am Saturday at Second Baptist Church.

- Former Houston KILT head writes book 'Dead Air--The Rise and Demise of Music Radio'
- Houston radio DJs of the 1960s talk about era
- KILT Programmer Bill Young
- thegreatdeejay

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