Remembering Bill Harwell, the voice of KUT on weekend mornings
Bill Harwell, KUT's weekend morning host and a member of Austin's broadcast community for nearly 50 years, died Nov. 2 due to heart complications. He was 69.
Bill began his Austin career as a DJ at KRMH-FM ("Karma Radio," now 103.5) in 1973. But when a consultant came in and said they were having too much fun, he decided the station was no longer for him. He became a road manager for the 1970s cosmic cowboy band Denim.
Bill later found a groove in radio commercial production and jingle writing. He helped produce some of the biggest earworms on local commercial radio, including jingles for Thundercloud Subs and Austin Aqua Festival.
On the side, Bill produced the radio broadcasts of football games for the Texas Longhorns for 30-plus years, as well as NCAA basketball tournament games for CBS Radio, including the Women's Final Four.
In 2015, after years of working in the background, Bill opened his first live mic since his days at KRMH. He became KUT's local voice of Weekend Edition and frequently filled in on other shifts when his schedule allowed.
Bill was the consummate professional. If you hosted after him, you knew everything was going to be just right when you arrived. He could always be counted on, even in difficult times. He drove in to host several shifts through the snow and subsequent blackout in February. He was great around the office — usually up to talk about music, sports or travel.
Bill is survived by his wife of nearly 33 years, Sara; his daughter Tracy; son-in-law Travis; and his three grandchildren, Camden, Ada and Ivy.
Listen to the audio above to hear colleagues remember Bill and to hear what he had to say about his career.