» Portland Radio

Bill Howlett - Distinctive Newscaster, D.J. & More

(8 posts)
  • Started 6 years ago by Craig_Adams
  • Latest reply from Craig_Adams

  1. Craig_Adams
    Radio historian

    Today February 21, 1923 Bill Howlett was born in Portland. He served in the Army Air Forces during World War II. Bill was talented in many areas. He was the designer of the "Mr. Moon" puppets on the popular KOIN-TV children's show. Then by April 1955 Bill was doing "The Nightwatch Show" on KVAN 10:30pm to midnight, Sunday thru Friday. "Just easy music to soothe your jangled nerves."

    On January 19, 1956 "Uncle" Bill, as he was calling himself, began doing "The Nightwatch Show" midnight to 6am when KVAN began broadcasting 24 hours a day. "Uncle Bill" wanted an earlier show, so he moved to KUIK Hillsboro in 1957 becoming a "Radio Quick" DJ. Returning to "9-10 K-Van" in 1958, he launched the popular teen show "Uncle Bill's Bandstand" 7:00pm to midnight, weeknights, playing Rock & Roll. KVAN had just become the number 1 station in Portland ratings when it was sold and everyone was fired May 1, 1959.

    "Uncle Bill" and the entire KVAN air staff moved to KLIQ, continuing the Rock & Roll music on May 4, 1959 but KLIQ pulled the plug June 13th without giving it enough time to build an audience. In Summer 1960 Bill Howlett landed a job at KISN, switching from DJ to Newscaster and discovering his true calling. As a newscaster on "KISN Action Central News" Bill was a natural, developing into one of the most outstanding Portland Radio newscasters. You knew when Bill was on the air, with his distinctive delivery.

    By September 1961 Bill Howlett was KISN News Director. Bill, also a talented writer and actor, began producing the popular "Meet Your Neighbor" segments on the "Tiger" Tom Murphy Show. Tom would interview Bill as a fictitious wacky guest, Bill writing both rolls. On March 4, 1963 Bill was named KISN Night News Editor when George Sanders took the News Director position. Bill continued his commanding presence. On February 1, 1964 Bill began the new "KISN Total Information News" moniker, then "KISN 20/20 News" on January 1, 1966. Howlett stayed with KISN until the end, on September 2, 1976.

    Bill then moved to KWJJ as a newscaster for a short time, before deciding to work as an engineer at KKEY. On October 15, 1984 Bill Howlett died at age 61 in Gresham. He was still in radio at the time of his death, working part-time for KKEY.

    Posted on February 21, 2014 - 03:13 AM #
  2. kennewickman

    Bill also worked at " All News Radio KYXI " in 1977. Pretty Layed back guy..a real pro...just dived into the news booth and pushed out the copy ..edited some more and then did it again...He loved to fish...had a lot of fish stories..

    I noticed his delivery at KYXI wasnt much like his KISN delivery. You could tell it was Bill , but it wasnt quite as " Walter Winchellesque". as it had been at KISN...

    Posted on February 21, 2014 - 07:34 AM #
  3. tombrooks

    Worked with Bill at KISN in the early 70's...I remember Bill and that big grin on his face..always had a great attitude and a pleasure to work with..especially to a kid like me who knew nothing, but thought I had it all figured out..One thing he did was cover for the jocks who were late for their shift (Always at the KISN Transmitter 158th & Sandy)...He would play a few records, commericals to cover for them...Great job Craig - as usual - with details on another radio great..thanks!

    Posted on February 21, 2014 - 09:35 AM #
  4. msndrspdx

    At KYXI, Bill was News Director, leading KYXI into the 24-hour news wheel format. The station was the first to adopt it in Oregon, using the setup that WCBS-AM in NYC still uses today. (One of the reasons I have WCBS on my TuneIn Radio app is the fact that they use that format very well, the other being WCBS has some terrific talent behind the mike, something that Howlett had at KYXI.) Many KISN fans followed Bill to KYXI because he had a recognizable voice and style that many people liked. The coverage of the Blazers 1977 championship celebration at Shrunk Plaza on the commemorative LP (which should be reissued on CD, by the way) comes from KYXI's live broadcast recording.

    Howlett was a true Goodguy in every sense of the word. He'd cheer for the new KISN Goodguy Radio online service, for sure! Still fondly missed. Best, Mike 8)

    Posted on February 21, 2014 - 09:58 AM #
  5. kennewickman

    Yeah, Bill took it when Paul Hanson left KYXI and after the NBC News and Information Service went "galley west" , and all that was left was CBS. Bill had to lead the station into the 24 hours news wheel ..all on their own..quite a feat !! Much of this happened after I left in June of 77'..

    Posted on February 21, 2014 - 10:18 AM #
  6. Craig_Adams
    Radio historian

    Can't find anything on Bill Howlett at KYXI. The Oregonian says nothing, plus the Broadcasting Yearbook says nothing about Bill Howlett as News Director. After Paul Hansen left KYXI as News Director, Gary Johnson became News Director on August 1, 1977. The distinctive voice your talking about might have been Neal Penland, who became KYXI News Director, announced on March 24, 1980.

    Posted on February 21, 2014 - 07:21 PM #
  7. skeptical

    What was the cause of his death?

    Posted on February 21, 2014 - 08:12 PM #
  8. Craig_Adams
    Radio historian

    The obit does not say.

    Posted on February 21, 2014 - 08:36 PM #