William R. Bradbury’s radio news career was a great example of a small-town guy making it big. B.R. grew up in Hoquiam where he got his first taste of radio in the early ’60s while a community college student. His first break in 1965 was when his booming voice and high energy as Bill Munson became well known at Seattle’s KOL. Then the big breaks just kept on comin’. On to bay area rocker KFRC in 1970, then in 1972 to the Los Angeles scene where he became primary on-air partner with Robert W. Morgan at KHJ/KIQQ. While there, Billboard Magazine named B.R. “Radio Newsman of the Year.” In 1978 he returned to Seattle — first to KJR, then KAYO, then back to KJR — before moving north to Vancouver, B.C. in 1983 where he finished his broadcasting career at CFUN in 1996. He was in the insurance business for about five years when stricken with a fatal heart attack in 2002 while driving in the Blaine-Birch Bay area. Here’s a five-part composite aircheck reflecting B.R.’s on-air skills. Running time about 3:42:
1 – KOL Seattle – news snippets from early ’66 and mid-’67
2 – KFRC San Francisco – “20-20 News” segment, Aug ’70, and a bay area phone voicer to KOL, July ’71
3 – KHJ/KIQQ Los Angeles – interplay with Robert W. Morgan/news update, late ’73
4 – KJR Seattle – Les Parsons-introduced sports commentary, fall ’79
5 – KJR Seattle – teaming up with jock Gary Lockwood/Police Blotter episode, Feb. ’81
To many in the Puget Sound area, Bradbury was one of the radio news kings when Top-40 was so huge in the mid and late ’60s. I recall missing his voice at KOL when he left town in 1970. A real professional.
(Bradbury’s on-air name at KOL in ’65 was the brainstorm of PD Buzz Barr, who simply combined the last names of two of Seattle’s better known hydroplane racers at the time (Bill Muncey and Ron Musson). In 1970 Bradbury went back using his own first and middle initials when programmers at KFRC wanted to avoid having a second “Bill” in their on-air news staff.)