Oklahoma lost a Hall of Famer, a pioneer and a passionate radio man last night. Bill Payne was the Complete Broadcaster and was inducted into the OAB Hall in 2014. Bill was 76 years old. The inscription on his plaque is below:
KWHP AM, Cushing, is where William Haydon Payne started his career at age 12 in 1951. His passion for radio continued to Guthrie (KWRW), Oklahoma City (KOMA) and then Edmond where he signed on KWHP FM in 1962. Since then Bill has parlayed his high energy and love for radio into owning nine stations in Eastern Oklahoma.
Bill’s unique path to ownership was based on being the Complete Broadcaster. Bill was a seasoned programmer who excelled at play-by-play sports. Bill was also an excellent engineer; a savvy salesman and a visionary marketer. Bill’s success earned him numerous national awards including his induction into the Country Radio Hall of Fame in 2011. Bill was also the Executive Director for the International Broadcasters Idea Bank for twelve years. As Bill built his radio group, he never forgot the special connection radio has with its listeners. Bill always believed in giving more than he received and radio was his way to support so many charities and non-profits for so many years.
In an age of specialists, it is refreshing to have an independent entrepreneur succeed by being the Complete Broadcaster. Radio is a magical vehicle that can entertain, inform and help develop better communities. All of Oklahoma is fortunate to have benefited from Bill Payne’s love for radio for the past 60 years.
Bill is survived by his wife Gail, daughters Anne McGarry, Kelly Payne, Haydon Ishmael, and son Will Payne, along with 11 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.
Memorial service on Tuesday, December 1, at 2:00pm at St. Stephens United Methodist Church in Broken Arrow.