Longtime radio personality Bill Austin dies

Posted: Updated:
Bill Austin By Catherine Holland Bill Austin By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Bill Austin, a beloved Phoenix radio personality and former TV weatherman, passed away Wednesday morning.

Austin, 55, had been battling cancer for some time, according to family friends.

After nearly 20 years behind the KEZ 99.9 microphone with his cohort Beth McDonald, Austin wrapped his last show on Feb. 25, much to the surprise of listeners.

The popular morning duo spent a good part of that time in the 3TV studios when 3TV and KEZ were owned by the same parent company.

Austin has been near and dear to the hearts of 3TV viewers for many years, going back to the "Cooking With Beth and Bill Show."

Prior to anchoring the KEZ's top-rated morning show with McDonald, Austin was the weatherman at Channel 12.

According to Smokey Rivers of ClearChannel, KEZ's parent company, McDonald was with Austin when he died.

"Bill was not just my radio partner," said McDonald in a news release. "He was the brother I never had. A couple of days before he passed, while at the hospital, he told me, 'I sure miss doing that little radio show.' This morning, in true Bill fashion, he signed off at exactly 10 o’clock."

People all over the Valley have been sharing memories and condolences via azfamily.com, Twitter and Facebook. (Scroll to the bottom of the page to share your thoughts or comments.)

“Bill was one of those rare individuals who touched hundreds of thousands of people every day for many, many years, and always left everyone smiling," said Jeff England, President and Market Manager for Clear Channel Radio and Digital/Phoenix in a news release. "It is a sad day, as we will all miss our friend and colleague, Bill Austin.”

No funeral arrangements have been announced yet.

Friday's morning show on KEZ, which has continued with McDonald hosting alone, will be a tribute to Austin. The show will air from 6 a.m. until 10 am., and will feature some of the most memorable Beth and Bill moments from their 20 years on the air together.

Watch Austin's retirement statement (Feb. 25, 2010)