OAB Hall of Fame
For almost five decades Bill Thrash stood for quality programming in Oklahoma commercial and educational television. As an industry leader, he has constantly leveraged his media and arts community network to improve the quality of life for Oklahomans.
Bill began his television career in 1955 at KTEN in Ada during his high school and college days. After a short Army stint, he joined KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City in 1962. In 1971, he moved to channel 4 where, over the next 16 years, he did some of his finest work. Who directed the annual patriotic special The Stars and Stripes Show which featured some of the nation's top entertainers, including Bob Hope. The show was broadcast each year nationwide by NBC. He produced The Diamond Jubilee special in 1982, supervised the popular Dannysday with Danny Williams and Mary Hart, and brought PM Magazine to Oklahoma for a long and successful run. He also directed two Nashville-based country music syndicated series--Pop Goes The Country and Nashville On The Road.
In 1988, Bill Thrash joined OETA and was named the producer of the largest local television endeavor in Oklahoma history, Oklahoma Passage. This five-hour miniseries on Oklahoma's Heritage is the most watched television special event in OETA history, setting rating records in public television throughout the country.He directs the wraparound segments of the weekly Lawrence Welk Show, viewed in 200 markets, and has produced 10 two-hour Welk specials for PBS.
Oklahoma City Civic and arts organizations have honored Bill Thrash’s community service on numerous occasions. His industry work has produced two Emmy Awards, a National Iris nomination, a Western Heritage Award, an AWRT Lifetime Achievement Award, a Golden Grid Programmer of the Year Award from the Public Television Programmers Association, and the Silver Circle Award from the Heartland Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
The broadcast career of Bill Thrash truly reflects the dedication and enduring love for his community, state and profession.