NEWS BLOG (WSAU) A broadcasting legend is retiring.
Bruce Williams has hosted a nationally-syndicated talk show since 1981, and 29-years behind a radio network microphone is a long and impressive run.
Thinking back on The Bruce Williams Show reminds me how radio broadcasting has changed. Williams came on-air at a time when the fairness doctrine was in effect. There were very few politically-themed talk shows for fear that broadcasters would have to offer equal time to those who disagreed. Political talkers did shows where the host acted as a moderator, usually interviewing members of congress or advocates for one issue or another.
Bruce Williams offered general advice on a broad and wide range of topics. No guests. No politics. Just phone calls about anything and everything. Many callers wanted to talk about money or consumer issues. I’m having a problem with my credit card. I want to ask my boss for a rise. I’m considering going into business for myself. But the show was much wider than that. In a typical night Bruce Williams would get calls about someone considering a divorce, someone who was applying for a college loan, someone who was considering a trip overseas and wanted to know which airline to fly and which hotel to stay at. I even remember a call from a man with a plumbing problem, and was surprised that he got clear, competent advice.
There's less demand today for The Bruce Williams Show. Now all of those topics are separate, narrow programs. Money advice? Listen to Bob Brinker. Relationship trouble? Call Doctor Laura. Consumer advice? Clark Howard’s your man. Politics? Tune into Rush or Sean. And we now have separate shows for travel, employment, newsmakers, sports, and home repair.
It took an exceptional talent to be all those things to so many people. Bruce Williams was that man – an excellent broadcaster with an incredible breadth of experience. Many people on the radio today are not as good as Bruce Williams. None are as knowledgeable.
Operations Manager-Midwest Communications, Wausau