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Bill Steis

After a brief acting career that had him doing a national tour in a production of Faust, NBC hired Chicago native Bill Steis as an announcer in 1938. Nearly a decade later, he turned up in Tampa Bay as program director for Clearwater’s new 1,000-watt WCLE AM-860. His time there would be a brief one, however, because shortly thereafter, the doors opened for him at WFLA.

In the mid 1950’s, he earned a Masters Degree and, later, a PhD from Ohio State around 1970. After leaving radio, he taught broadcast journalism and communications at Akron State University, LSU, Georgia State, Mercer University, and Shorter College. His wife, Myrtle, a direct descendent of the Drew family, one of Clearwater’s founding families (as in Drew Street), also had a background in radio and was known by her professional name, Sally Drew. Her position as program director at WGGG in Gainesville, FL (1951-1953) made her one of the first female PD’s in radio.

Later in life, before his death in 1997 at the age of 85, Bill again embraced his acting roots, appearing in several regional and corporate productions, as well as the film “Cold Sassy Tree” in 1989. He and Sally were also seen occasionally in the prime-time television series “In the Heat of the Night” (1988-1995). Sally, billed as Sally Drew, played Grace Keesham, while Bill played Ed, the local shotgun-toting service station owner.


(Thanks to Jay Black at Mercer University’s Department of Journalism and Media Studies for providing the information for the creation of this bio.)

 

Station History

1947 - 1951 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (On Air Personality)

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