William B. Williams (DJ)

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This article is about the WNEW radio personality. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_0

For the judge and Member of Congress, see William B. Williams (politician). William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_1

William B. Williams (DJ)_table_infobox_0

William B. WilliamsWilliam B. Williams (DJ)_header_cell_0_0_0
BornWilliam B. Williams (DJ)_header_cell_0_1_0 William Breitbard

(1923-08-06)August 6, 1923 Babylon, New York, USAWilliam B. Williams (DJ)_cell_0_1_1

DiedWilliam B. Williams (DJ)_header_cell_0_2_0 August 3, 1986(1986-08-03) (aged 62)

New York, New York, USAWilliam B. Williams (DJ)_cell_0_2_1

Spouse(s)William B. Williams (DJ)_header_cell_0_3_0 Dottie MackWilliam B. Williams (DJ)_cell_0_3_1
ChildrenWilliam B. Williams (DJ)_header_cell_0_4_0 Jeffrey B. WilliamsWilliam B. Williams (DJ)_cell_0_4_1
ShowWilliam B. Williams (DJ)_header_cell_0_5_0 Make Believe BallroomWilliam B. Williams (DJ)_cell_0_5_1
Station(s)William B. Williams (DJ)_header_cell_0_6_0 WNEWWilliam B. Williams (DJ)_cell_0_6_1
StyleWilliam B. Williams (DJ)_header_cell_0_7_0 Disk JockeyWilliam B. Williams (DJ)_cell_0_7_1

William B. Williams (August 6, 1923 - August 3, 1986), was an American disc jockey on New York City radio station WNEW for over four decades. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_2

He hosted the popular program Make Believe Ballroom. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_3

Williams is particularly noted for coining the title "Chairman of the Board" for Frank Sinatra. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_4

Unusually, Williams appeared in the November, 1966 issue of Detective Comics, in a story which involved Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, the civilian identities of Batman and Robin, appearing on his show. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_5

He was given a prominent appearance on the cover for the occasion. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_6

Early life William B. Williams (DJ)_section_0

Born William Breitbard in Babylon, New York, (brother of Ric Roman (Earl Breitbard) character actor in Hollywood films "Some Came Running" and television). William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_7

Williams himself graduated from Babylon Senior High School and attended Syracuse University for one year before dropping out. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_8

In 1944, he was hired as a staff announcer at WAAT in Newark, New Jersey while visiting a friend at the station. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_9

According to Williams "the guy who did the all-night show had just been fired for being bombed on the air." William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_10

Six weeks later, a staffer at WNEW heard Williams on the air and invited him to apply for a job at the station. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_11

He was hired at WNEW and worked several time slots before being fired by station manager Bernice Judis in 1947. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_12

An article in the New York Daily News suggested that Williams was fired for his aggressive tactics with management in his role as shop steward; however, WNEW's official story was that he was fired after Judis caught him one evening in the studio with his feet propped on the desk clad in bright red socks. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_13

She was apparently horrified by his lack of style. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_14

Williams worked at several other stations, including WOR, but was rehired at WNEW in 1953 following a management change. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_15

He hosted the William B. Williams Show in the morning hours, and Music in a Sentimental Mood in the afternoon from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_16

Make Believe Ballroom William B. Williams (DJ)_section_1

In 1954, the originator of the Make Believe Ballroom program in New York, Martin Block, left WNEW for a new job at ABC Radio. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_17

Jerry Marshall took over the show for three years, after which Williams was tapped to host the program. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_18

He marked the broadcast as his own, using the distinctive sign-on, "Hello, world", and occasionally identifying himself as "Guilliermo B. Guilliermos" or "Wolfgang B. Wolfgang," although to listeners and friends he was known simply as "Willie B." William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_19

He combined intimate knowledge of music with his personal anecdotes to create a smooth style that captivated listeners. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_20

By 1965 Billboard reported Williams was earning $105,000 a year, tops for the station at that time but slightly less than the other famous Williams, Ted, earned at his baseball peak ($125,000). William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_21

Williams developed lasting relationships with the top singers of the Great American Songbook, including Lena Horne and Nat King Cole. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_22

Early in his career, he befriended Frank Sinatra when the crooner recorded broadcasts at WNEW. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_23

On one broadcast, Williams mused that since Benny Goodman was the "King of Swing" and Duke Ellington was a duke, then Sinatra must have a title as well, suggesting "Chairman of the Board." William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_24

Sinatra learned of the comment and embraced the title. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_25

Later, when interest in standards flagged, Williams persisted in playing Sinatra's music and is credited with a key role in keeping Sinatra's career afloat. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_26

Sinatra, to whom loyalty was a key virtue, never forgot Williams and lauded him to any and all who would listen. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_27

Rock 'n Roll William B. Williams (DJ)_section_2

As the emergence of rock 'n roll music began in the 1950s, Williams left no doubt as to where he stood on the subject: against. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_28

"Most of it's so bad it's embarrassing," he said. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_29

"In the days of the big bands, a vocalist had to be able to sing....I believe teenagers are hungry to hear good music, and at some point we must assume a lot of the blame for the quality of what is being heard. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_30

I use the word 'we' to mean disc jockeys and radio stations in general." William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_31

A well-known advertisement of the era showed Williams holding his nose under the caption "We asked William B. Williams of WNEW Radio what he thought of rock 'n' roll." William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_32

Still, beginning in the late 1950s, WNEW began mixing in softer tunes from rock artists, which continued into the 1960s. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_33

While WNEW was still playing pop standards, soft rock was a big part of the format, making them a MOR station. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_34

Williams hated most of these songs, but played them when he had to. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_35

In the 1970s, WNEW became more of an adult contemporary radio station, mixing in very few pop standards. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_36

Williams stated that the during the period from 1965 to 1978, WNEW was at its worst, but finally came to its senses. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_37

By then, the Make Believe Ballroom title was dropped from Williams' show, although he continued to host in the late morning and early afternoon. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_38

In the fall of 1979, much to Williams' happiness, WNEW began restoring the standards format on weekends, middays, and late nights, leading off with a revived Make Believe Ballroom on October 6. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_39

In January 1981, WNEW dropped the adult contemporary format (which by then was only heard on weekday mornings and late afternoons) altogether, adopting the standards format full-time. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_40

Other Activity William B. Williams (DJ)_section_3

From the late 1970s until the mid-1980s, Williams became a TV spokesman for the New York-based Genovese Drug Stores chain, pitching the week's specials and delivering the tagline "A real drug store, and so much more! William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_41

". William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_42

In the last year of his life, in the mid-1980s, Williams hosted Encore, a national radio show syndicated by Westwood One. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_43

Williams' episodes were distributed to stations again in 1989 and 1990. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_44

Friars Club William B. Williams (DJ)_section_4

Williams was an officer and long-time member of the New York Friars' Club. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_45

He was named Man of the Year by the club in 1984 (in a ceremony hosted by Sinatra.) William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_46

One year later, the Friars Club Foundation made him the recipient of its Applause Award. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_47

in recognition of his charitable efforts. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_48

Williams is one of a select group of figures, including Sinatra, George Burns, Billy Crystal and Milton Berle to have a room named for him at the Friars Club in midtown Manhattan. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_49

Personal William B. Williams (DJ)_section_5

Williams was married to Dottie Mack, who appeared on radio in Cincinnati in the 1950s as well as a television program carried on the DuMont Television Network. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_50

The couple had a son, Jeffrey B. Williams. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_51

In 1985, Williams underwent surgery for colon cancer. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_52

He died on August 3, 1986 of acute anemia and respiratory failure, just three days before he would have turned 63. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_53

William B. Williams was interred at Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, NY, in a plot belonging to the Friars Club. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_54

In 2006, he was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. William B. Williams (DJ)_sentence_55


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William B. Williams (DJ).