I know Bill worked at a radio station or two, before I met him at KONO/KITY. I just don’t know where...Maybe KITE. The following, is what I do know about Bill.
Bill DeWeese was a newscaster on KONO/KITY for a time during the late 70s. He then went on to KBUC radio where was he was the afternoon drive news presenter for many years. When Tom Turner sold KBUC in the mid 1980s Bill took his broadcast journalism skills over to Houston and KTRH Radio. Bill’s wife, Judy, whom he met while at KBUC was there at his side. Houston is where son Kenneth was born. Britton and Kimberly were Bill’s children from a previous marriage.
To me, Bill was an incredible individual. I was truly fortunate to have him as a mentor for my budding career in broadcast news. His intense personality was often misunderstood especially by some of the more care-free air personalities. It wasn’t that Bill wasn’t pleasant enough, but simple casual conversation was not high on his list of priorities.
For Bill, EVERY newscast was an important obligation to the listeners. He was a stickler on accuracy. When you add to that his being a practiced announcing artist it made his on-air news presentation very hard to beat.
There was no such thing as rip-and-read. Bill would spend the hour between each newscast re-writing every story be it around sound-bites phoned in from the street reporter, stories taken from network or stories he used from the news wire. These are things he taught me to do. But his mentorship didn’t stop there.
For local news Bill was an “ace” at working telephone interviews for sound bites. City Council people, County Commissioners, Police, Sheriff…all knew when Bill DeWeese was on the other end of the phone. One of the things he taught me for sound bites on breaking news was to use the Criss-Cross Directory. Once you heard something on the scanner, a fire for example, we’d look up the address where the fire department was heading then call the people at the house across the street. When they answered you’d hear Bill’s booming voice:
This is Bill DeWeese at KBUC Radio News on a recorded line. Can you hear the sirens coming down your street? The fire department is heading to the house across from you. Would you look out the window and tell me what you see.
And there you had it…a breaking news sound bite: Oh my God! There’s smoke coming out of the windows.
Bill was a private person not often participating too long in station get-togethers. He rarely invited anyone to his home. Over the years working with Bill at KONO/KITY and later KBUC I did learn a lot about him. Bill’s priorities in life were three: family, career as a soldier and his career in broadcasting. Not everyone knew that Bill joined the Army after graduating from Jefferson HS. He not only served during Vietnam, but he also qualified for and graduated Officer Candidate School as a second Lieutenant. Bill was a military tanker. His passion was tanks. He could give detailed knowledge of every tank made and all the tanks used in every war. In his home was a shelf about 10-inches from the ceiling along three of the walls in his den displaying model tanks. I’ve known people with model planes and cars but Bill had models of tanks. If they made a model of a tank, Bill had it! In the Army, Bill was promoted to Captain and became a tank commander. This distinction he took with him after the Army was as an active member of the National Guard.
Bill passed away in his sleep in September of 2001…A life too short!
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