Family and friends are remembering a long-time Salina radio personality. William Rowson, known to his listeners as “Bill Ray”, passed away Sunday evening.
Bill’s award-winning radio career in Kansas is chronicled by the Kansas Historical Society’s Kansaspedia page.
Bill “Ray” Rowson attended Liberal High School graduating in 1968. While there Bill helped produce a high school radio show, which aired on KSCB-AM in Liberal. He later went on to work part-time at KSCB-AM. He studied radio and TV broadcasting at Emporia State University. In 1973 he obtained his first class FCC license and upon returning to Liberal began his 34-year full-time radio career. Between 1973 and 1980 Bill worked at KLIB-AM and KSCB-AM respectively, in Liberal as air personality and program director.
In 1980 Bill moved to Salina and he became program director and an on air personality at KINA-AM/KQNS-FM until 1987. For the next 10 years Bill worked for KYEZ-FM/KSAL-AM in various capacities including on air personality, programming and operations.
He moved to KINA/KSKG and was in charge of changing formats for both stations—one to news talk and the other to country. In 2004 Bill returned to KYEZ/KSAL to run operations and programming in addition to hosting the morning show on KYEZ. He remained there until he retired in 2014.
After retiring, Bill returned to KINA to host a weekend program.
Bill’s commitment to his craft and especially to his audience in the community led to him broadcasting his morning show from home on numerous occasions following surgeries that required extensive bed rest.
Bill was committed to his community. He helped organize benefits for “Toys From the Heart,” the St Jude’s Radiothon, “Helping Hands,” and the Child Advocacy and Parenting Services in Salina—just to name a few.
Bill served on the Kansas Association of Broadcasters board, and was recipient of the Sonny Slater Award for Service to Community and Station in 2008. He was named “Personality of the Year” by the Salina Journal numerous times.
Bill was inducted into the Kansas Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2017.
Ryan Mortuary is handling arrangements.