Former KEZ radio personality Bill Austin has died at age 55, reportedly of bladder cancer. Austin was morning radio host of the Beth & Bill show on KEZ in Phoenix from 1990 until his retirement in February 2010. Beth McDonald continues to host the morning drive show at the Phoenix station. The website azcentral.com reports family and friends give the cause of death as bladder cancer.
“He was like a brother to me,” McDonald said told the Phoenix Business Journal. McDonald said she had been spending time with the Austin during his illness and he was still using humor to brighten the day. “He was still making me laugh,” McDonald said. “Bill is just a great guy.” McDonald noted that her longtime radio partner and friend passed away at 10 a.m., the same time as their morning show ended.
“Bill was not only my co-worker but also my brother, father and one of my best friends; he taught me a lot about life and the art of longevity in broadcasting good and bad,” said Vinnie Del Rosso, producer of the KEZ morning show. “For my money I couldn’t have been more lucky to hook up with Beth and Bill. I’m pretty beat up with this maybe later when my head clears I can send you something with more thought,” Del Rosso said.
Here’s video of Bill Austin announcing his retirement: