Faded Sandpaper

Bill Close


Bill was born in Grand View, New York, May 20, 1921, the son of first-generation immigrants. He grew up in and around Oakland, California. Despite an unfortunate encounter with a train at age 15, he lived a full and active life. He attended Stanford University, was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, and married Carol Joy Norling.

He began his broadcasting career on his 22nd birthday at KLS in Oakland, worked at KCBS in San Francisco and WAIT in Chicago, then came to Phoenix in 1946 to work for former Governor Jack Williams at Radio Station KOY. He was hired first as an announcer, later earning his own Morning show, ” Close to You,” taking its name from a song that was popular at the time. Bill was promoted to Sports Director and for 10 years his radio program ” Close-ups in Sports” was broadcast 5 days a week. He was honored as Arizona Sportscaster of the Year in 1952. Bill’s final promotion was to News Director, a position he held for the remainder of his tenure at KOY. In 1964, Bill moved to television and Channel 10, then known as KOOL-TV where he was Vice President – News, News Director, and Anchor and Commentator of the 6pm news for over 28 years. He retired from Channel 10 (now KSAZ-TV) at the end of 1992, completing 50 years in broadcasting.

Bill’s interests were many and varied. He served on the Scottsdale School Board; charter member of the Phoenix Press Box Association (held all offices including President); board member, Jane Waylan Child Center; member of the Phoenix Press Club, the Arizona Press Club, the National AAU Public Relations Committee, the Roosevelt Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Radio and Television News Directors Association, Sigma Delta Chi, and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, where he was inducted into the Gold Circle Society. He was also inducted into the Arizona Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame. He co-founded the Bola Tie Society of Arizona, serving as its president for 36 years. With Governor Rose Mofford, he co-chaired the Zane Grey Cabin Foundation and was honored with the Zane Grey West Society’s Purple Sage Award. He served on (and chaired) the Governor’s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, and was appointed to the Arizona State Pardon and Parole Board. With good friend Phil Rulon, he co-edited the book “The Many Faces of Zane Grey”, and in 2003 he wrote his own autobiography.

He loved sports of all kinds and held season tickets to ASU football and basketball for several decades. Bill was an avid stamp and coin collector, and a member of the Southwest RedWingers Society. With his wife, Joy, he traveled to all 50 states, as well as several destinations in Europe. Bill passed away on January 27, 2013.