william b. williams
As disc jockey for WNEW/New York, William B. Williams combined his knowledge of music and personal anecdotes to become the standard of radio excellence for a generation, playing pop standards on Make Believe Ballroom for nearly three decades. Known as "Willie B." by friends and listeners, Williams opened every program with the words "Hello, world."
Born William Breitbard on August 6, 1923 in Babylon, Long Island, Williams' radio career began in 1944. Despite having no radio experience, he landed a job as a staff announcer at WAAT/New Jersey. After working only six weeks, he was offered a job at WNEW. Except for a few years when he worked brief stints at other stations, the majority of his career was at WNEW.
In 1958 Williams succeeded Art Ford as host of Make Believe Ballroom, which was created in 1935 by Martin Block. He played standards by popular performers while relaying personal anecdotes. Williams befriended Frank Sinatra while the singer was hosting a radio show at WNEW in the early days of his singing career. Williams is credited with creating Sinatra's title "Chairman of the Board."
William B. Williams died on August 3, 1986.