Wisconsin Radio Veteran Bill Vancil Dies


He was inducted into the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2013, thanks to his many years as an executive for Mid-West Family Broadcasting‘s group of radio stations in Madison.

Now, the WBA and peers from across the region are paying tribute to Bill Vancil, who passed away on January 3, following a long illness. He was 82 years of age.

Vancil’s career in radio began at KSTT in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois in the 1960s. He would rise to Program Director of the station and in 1969 departed for a job in Wisconsin’s state capital for Mid-West — programming WISM-FM, which aired a B/EZ format at a time when FM radio was still nascent. Within a few years, Vancil was also programming Top 40 WISM-AM 1480, a market leader.

Vancil would remain focused on WISM-AM & FM through the AM’s transition to News/Talk as WTDY in 1981. Two years later, WISM-FM would become “Magic 98,” as WMGN, which lasted until 1991; the WISM-FM call letters returned.

The 1990s saw Vancil serve as President and co-founder of the Madison Area Radio Association. He retired from Mid-West as an EVP and Madison GM in 2002.

However, in recent years after a move to Tucson he reunited with former co-worker Bobby Rich as the Graphic Designer for KDRI-AM, which was recently sold.

Vancil is survived by his partner of 25 yearsm Andrea “Andy” Byk and his son Lou, who will host a celebration of Bill’s life this spring in Madison.

Bill Vancil’s Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame video can be viewed at: https://www.wisconsinbroadcastingmuseum.org/hall-of-fame/bill-vancil/