Bill Wattenburg, Former KGO Host, Dies At 82
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Thread: Bill Wattenburg, Former KGO Host, Dies At 82

  1. #1
    david's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    LBC, California

    Bill Wattenburg, Former KGO Host, Dies At 82

    A relic from the Halcyon days of KGO, Dr. Bill, the host of The Open Line to the West Coast, has passed away.
    Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle. -- Ian Maclaren

  2. #2
    Seems to me he was also syndicated for a time.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    S. CA
    Move this to memorial section

  4. #4

    Open Line to the West Coast

    I can clearly remember the first time I heard Dr. Bill's show on the radio. I was in a van with some General Motors engineers on an airport run, driving them from SFO to their hotel in San Rafael in support a drag racing event at Sears Point Raceway.

    While driving through the City and its various detours after the Loma Prieta Earthquake, someone suggested flipping on the radio, a caller was asking "Hey Dr. Bill.....I was wondering if I should put my batteries in the freezer??" and Dr. Bill chimed back, "Would you put your socks in the freezer?" After a quick pause, the van burst out laughing.

    And, so that was my first experience hearing Dr. Bill. After that, every chance I had I would tune in late Sunday night from Los Angeles on my GE Superadio 3 (undoubtedly purchased from Bob Crane because of one of his radio spots)....listening to whatever pearls of wisdom he would be talking about. Whether it was the merits of toxic MTBE being added to gasoline (now replaced by ethanol), to discussions about Nuclear Power or what the "bureaucratic bungholes" in Sacramento were preaching that week, I would always get a chuckle. But the really special gems were his thoughts when he would reply to some insult from fellow KGO host Bernie Ward.

    He was certainly a unique radio personality, and had an unforgettable impact on this listener.

  5. #5
    I used to hear him late Sunday nights, I believe, on KGO, here in the Seattle area, also on a Superadio 3 much of the time (or my boombox). I remember him instructing listeners about gasoline's efficiency as an energy delivery service compared to other fuels. I think he also had a bit part in one of Clint Eastwood's movies in the late 80's. He seemed to have a scientific background, which gave him the aura of being that science teacher who can talk on the radio.

    A lot of talk listeners around these parts tuned in to KGO. I even knew guys in the radio industry who were well aware of the station, i.e. -- they actually listened to it.

    They knew about the late night guys, Wattenburg and Ray Taliaferro especially.

  6. #6
    I met Dr. Bill once at KGO. Back in the 80's, before Ray Taliaferro, Noah Griffin was the overnight talk host. I knew Noah as a customer in my video store, and he asked us to come on his show to talk about new movie to video releases, from time to time. So we showed up at midnight - late Sunday into Monday I guess it must have been. Dr. Bill was just getting off shift. He was very pleasant...much more so than when he was broadcasting, and often chastised callers for asking what he considered to be stupid questions.

  7. #7
    Extremely bright guy. With lots of different perspectives. Wasn't afraid to throw in some political thought occasionally. Great show, if you could follow his technical jargon, but for the most part he explained it pretty well.

    As for the impact of the "old" KGO on the west was indeed amazing. One of the great talkradio stations in the 70's to the early 21st century. Ronn Owens is still there, but in a much diminished role, I think that was mutually agreeable. He is the last vestige of what the station used to be.

    But RIP, Dr. Bill.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Bellingham WA
    I would have loved to have heard him on KGO a few more years when the anti-vaxxers and flat-earth freaks really started coming out.
    To the person who stole my antidepressants; I hope you're happy now.

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