Final Sign-Off

 

In Memoriam

 

A Tribute to

Bill Bailey

 

By Art Gregory President of the History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation

with comments by Rockwell Smith, Foundation Webmaster and

Chief Engineer at KBRJ-AM and KBBK-FM from 1973-1977 (when Bill Bailey worked there)

 

We are sad to report that Bill Bailey, well known Boise Disc Jockey and Traffic Reporter and former owner of “Boise Metro Traffic” passed away on March 13, 2017 at the age 62. His birth name was David Terrill Faught,and most recently, he had been living in Meridian.

 

As of this writing, we have no details of the cause of death, nor any news concerning the date and time for a Funeral or Celebration of Life. The Cremation Society of Idaho is handling David’s final arrangements.

 

The following comments are more about my personal relationship with David than they are about his broadcasting career, which was very impressive in itself! We’ll cover his career in more detail when we get more information. David did not dwell at lot on his past radio career, and despite my efforts, we never did get to sit down and “talk” about his career on tape. This is why it is important for us to do an oral history of your career, and I’d like to invite any and all former broadcasters reading this to contact us, so we can record the details of your career.

 

I am 3 years older than David Faught and met him at Roosevelt Elementary School in Boise the fall of 1960. I was a 3rd grader and liked ambulances, fire trucks, police cars and other emergency vehicles. David’s father, Earl Faught, drove a City of Boise truck with a “Beacon-Ray” revolving light on the roof, the same light Boise Police Cars used. Well I thought that was “way-cool” and when his Dad would bring the truck home after work and on weekends, David would go get the keys we’d sit in the truck and turn on the “red light” until his Dad came out and took the keys away! I always had a great time at David’s house, and he was a true friend and risked getting in trouble with his parents, to show me a good time. He was fun to hang out with and was very smart and advanced for his age.

 

When I moved on to East Junior High School, I started hanging out at KEST in downtown Boise with Rob Cable, who took me under his wing and got me hired at KEST in the summer of 1965. I was 12 years old when I started, and turned 13 that August. David showed up at KEST one day and became friends with Rob Cable too, and several years later, in April of 1969,  David’s name showed up in the “Birthday Guest Book” at KATN Radio on Fairview. His parents also signed that guest book, and ironically, his first wife also visited K-10 that same day and signed the book too! We still have the guest book and will bring it to his Celebration of Life.

 

In 1973, David graduated from Boise High School and went to work for KBRJ-AM and KBBK-FM using the air-name “Bill Bailey.” We have some air-checks from 1973 when Bill was on KBBK, and even then he was very good!

 

I don’t know all of the places Dave worked between 1973 and 1981, but I do know he worked for KBRJ-AM after the station split from KBBK and was purchased by Steve Sumner.  I worked briefly with Dave at KGEM and KJOT in 1981 when he was an air-personality on KGEM-AM, the #1 Country Station in Boise at the time. I moved to Casper, Wyoming in 1983 where I co-owned a new FM station for 11 years. During that time, Bill worked as a “satellite network” country personality for Olympic Broadcasting, working out of KRPM AM & FM in Seattle/Tacoma.

 

When I moved back to Boise in late 1989, Bill soon showed up on 92.3 FM. In late 1984 KBBK-FM changed call letters to KIYS-FM (“KISS-FM”) and was a top-40 station, which worked pretty well for a few years. When their ratings fell due to strong competition from Big Jack and Dave Arthur on “KF-95” (KFXD-FM), 92.3 changed its music format to country and its call letters to KIZN, taking both from 93.1 FM.  On April 26, 1990, the former KIZN changed its format to adult contemporary to compete with market leader K-106, and also changed its call letters to KZMG (“Magic 93.1”).

 

Straight Arrow and Jon Duane were hired to do mornings, and “Bill Bailey” became KIZN’s new Program Director and Midday host! Dave stayed with KIZN for several years and soon started doing traffic reports using the air name “Major Gridlock!” He then started his own company, Boise Metro Traffic, where he contracted to provide morning drive time, and evening drive time traffic reports to virtually every Boise Radio station! Along with a traffic report, listeners heard a live read of a 10-15 second commercial, which Bill sold to local advertisers to fund the service. Well it worked…Bill was soon making a profit and was able to expand his traffic reports to pre-Boise State Games, the Boise River Festival, and other major events where there were radio listeners with traffic concerns.

 

As radio ownership “consolidation” happened in the mid to the late 1990s., Bill’s company expanded and soon had offices and state of the art studios in a building at the corner of Eagle Road and Franklin Road, kitty-corner to R.C. Willy. During its peak, Boise Traffic was flying a “traffic plane” and Reporter Ron O’Brian was doing live traffic reports on KBOI-AM every morning!  Dave also employed his daughter Crystal, who went by the air name “Claire Day.” She later was a morning personality on both “Mix-106” and “Lite 108.” Another fun thing about Bill’s company was the use of multiple names for the same reporter on different stations. Bill was not only “Major Gridlock” on KIZN-FM, but he was also “David Terrill” on KIDO and perhaps one or two other names! Among the other names Dave’s reporters used were “Gary Lane” “Harrison Hill” and “Kyle Safely” who was real person with that actual name!

 

As Boise’s major radio groups sold off their properties in the 2000’s and 2010s, the new owners wanted to start their own traffic departments and sell their own ads. Bill relocated his offices and studios to the first floor of Journal Broadcast Building on Fairview next to KTVB.  In addition to Journal’s 4 FM stations, Boise Metro Traffic’s Reports were also airing on the 6 Citadel stations, who ended up purchasing the assets of Boise Traffic in the late 2000s. Former Boise Traffic employee Ron O’Brian went to work for Citadel (now Cumulus), and is still with KBOI doing both news and traffic, as well as a weekend air shift on KQFC (Nash-FM). Logan Cramer and Tommy Collins now assist Ron O’Brian doing traffic.

 

Dave was very active with Rodeo and served on the Board of Directors of the Caldwell Night Rodeo, as well as being involved with the PBR in Las Vegas. He was a wonderful father to his kids, a wonderful boss to his employees, and a great broadcaster and true professional in all he did. He will be missed, but he will never be forgotten.  Please extend our best wishes to the family, and let us know how we can further honor this great man.

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As webmaster, and a friend of Bill since I moved to Boise in 1973, I would like to add I am honored to have known Bill.  We worked together starting in 1973 when I took over the job of Chief Engineer of KBBK-FM & KBRJ-AM.  Bill was eager to learn, and had a true passion for radio.  I taught him everything I could, and proudly watched him grow his dream far beyond what I could have ever shared.  He gave so much, and helped so many others get their careers started.  He was a real asset to radio in the Treasure Valley.   His contribution will live long in the lives of those he influenced.   He will truly be missed.

-- Rockwell Smith