OKLAHOMA CITY — Bill Thrash, long time friend of Oklahoma television, has passed away at the age of 73. His beloved wife, Billie Thrash, delivered the sad news. She sent the information of Mr. Thrash’s passing to OETA Executive Director, Dan Schiedel.
Bill was a great leader and mentor to so many. He left a legacy and a permanent mark on so many in Oklahoma and the nation.
Thrash was Oklahoma’s premier television producer, director, programmer, part-time jazz pianist, and husband for over 40 years to wife Billie. He was also the bat boy for the Ada Hereford Class D baseball team back in his youth.
In 2010 he received the peer-nominated and Board of Governors-approved 2010 Gold Circle Emmy Award from the Heartland Chapter of the National Academy of Television, Arts and Sciences. Thrash joins the late Ned Hockman, former University of Oklahoma professor, as the only Oklahomans to receive this prestigious award. He was also honored in 2009 with the opening of the William C. Thrash Television Studio on the East Central University campus in Ada.
Thrash received the Bill Crawford Memorial media Award from then Gov. Brad Henry at the 31st Annual Governor’s Arts Awards in 2006, which recognizes an individual in the print and/or electronic media who demonstrates commitment to the arts in Oklahoma. He is also a member of the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters’s Hall of Fame.
Thrash went to work for WKY-TV in 1971 and produced several local programs. He became program manager and station manager of WKY-TV. Bill Thrash later became the OETA Station Manager.
Bill Thrash has always been recognized by his industry peers. His nomination for the honor was seconded by a Who’s Who of Oklahoma broadcasters.
An innate curiosity regarding new technologies in television pulled young Thrash onto the campus of then-East Central State College to see a free demonstration of this new thing called live television.
Oklahoma City’s WKY-TV was barnstorming the state demonstrating live TV production and local broadcasting on stage to stir interest and inform the, hopefully, future viewing public. When he worked for WKY-TV, which eventually became KFOR-TV, he was instrumental in launching shows like, The Stars and Stripes Show, Danny’s Day, and The Butch and Ben McCain show.
He grew up in his hometown of Ada, glued to the family TV from the first morning test pattern to the playing of the National Anthem. He was always fascinated with new TV technology and brought forth many innovations that are taken for granted these days.