The Grand Valley State University community is mourning the death of Bill Bailey, morning radio host and program manager for WGVU Real Oldies 1480/850 AM. Bailey died suddenly June 12. He was 66.
“Bill has been an integral part of building WGVU Real Oldies,” Michael Walenta, WGVU general manager said in a statement on WGVU’s website. “We will miss his smile, his style, and the contribution he made to our station and our lives. His passion for music, golf and the community are an inspiration.”
Bailey was born and raised in Chicago and developed a love for radio at an early age. “I had the mumps at the age of 9 and had to stay home from school and in bed for about a week,” Bailey said on his WGVU website biography. “My father would let me listen to his portable radio to keep me company. That was the beginning of my love of radio.”
Bailey spent more than 30 years in the radio business, working in several cities including Chicago, New York, Washington D.C., Detroit and Grand Rapids. He joined WGVU in August 2009. He also served as an officer in the Army, including a tour of duty in Vietnam where he was awarded the Bronze Star.
Bailey received many awards throughout his career, including the National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Award for Station of the Year in 1998. In 2005, 2006 and 2007 he was a finalist for the NAB’s Crystal Award and he was also a finalist for Billboard Magazine’s Air Personality of the Year and Program Director of the Year.