Hall Of Famer Bruce Williams Dies

43

“Welcome my friends-welcome to my world.” It was with those words radio talk show host  Bruce Williams began his nationally syndicated show for more than 29 years. Williams died Saturday at his home near Tampa after a brief illness. He was 86.

Williams was 81 years old when he hung up his head phones for the final time in 2013, signing off as he always did by saying, “Keep in touch.”

Spanning a career that lasted more than three decades, Bruce Williams created a loyal listenership hundreds of thousands of people strong with his informative and entertaining program, delivered in his signature deep, warm, welcoming voice. But, one of the most unusual and remarkable facts surrounding Williams’ Hall of Fame radio career is that it did not begin until he was well into his forties. Born February 18, 1932, Williams grew up in East Orange, New Jersey. Blessed with an innate sense of business, at age 11, he devised a way to address one of the many shortages common at the end of World War II by melting down lead pipes and casting them into toy soldiers. Eyes wide open, he was off and running, pursuing every avenue where he believed a profit could be made.

After serving in the Air Force during the Korean conflict and graduating from Newark State College (now Kean University), he opened a pre-school named after his children. He spent time driving an ice cream truck in New York City. He was also a taxi driver and drove a beer truck. For seventy years of his life, he spent the holiday season selling Christmas trees in New Jersey. On the white-collar side, Williams sold insurance, owned a flower shop, a car rental agency, a barber shop and he owned and operated several nightclubs. There was even a whirlwind tour into the world of politics where the Honorable Bruce H. Williams was elected to the Franklin, New Jersey Township Council, as well as serving terms as Deputy Mayor and Mayor between 1967 and 1975.

His career began in 1975 at WCTC 1450 Talk Radio, The Voice of Central New Jersey, where Williams hosted a show called At Your Service. After some time, his success took him to WMCA in the Big Apple and his momentum and audience continued to build. Williams growing popularity brought him to the attention of radio executives at NBC who were searching for a host of a national nightly advice-oriented talk show. After a long selection process, Williams was chosen and his program launched in November of 1981. It was from this platform, his reputation as a broadcaster blossomed. That blossom was almost nipped a year later, when a plane he was piloting crashed into some trees during an aborted landing attempt. Critically injured and nearly dead when he arrived at the Medical Center of Princeton, Williams rallied and was back on the air broadcasting again from his hospital room, just four weeks after the accident. Over the next three decades, Williams’ voice was heard coast-to-coast as he became one of the most listened to talk show hosts in radio history.

The industry recognized Williams’ accomplishments in 1999 when he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago.

43 COMMENTS

  1. My heart is so heavy, having just now found out about the passing of this great icon. I started listing to Bruce William in 1989 at the age of 22 and did so until he went off the air. I even called in a few times. I was informed many times that I did not fit the demographics of a Bruce Williams listener because I was in my 20’s and African American. I learned so much listening to him and I now am in a position to give out advice to many people. I’m often asked, “How do you know so much about so many things?”. I respond by saying, “I learned so much at a young age by listening to Bruce Williams and allowing his advice to guide me”. I’ve read all of his books and still use information from “House Smarts” whenever I purchase a home or advise anyone during a purchase. The information I received from Bruce has impacted literally every aspect of my life. He was surely one of a kind and no one will ever have the broad experience and knowledge that he had. Farewell my “Wise Radio Granddad!”

  2. I’m a 69 year old guy who truly valued and appreciated Bruce Williams. He was there when I drove long distances…driving down long lonely dark highways..turning the radio station dial in unfamiliar places….and BOOM….Bruce’s voice immediately made me feel like I was HOME. And I am a “home body”. Didn’t matter where I was….if BRUCE was there…..I was instantly comfortable. He was BETTER than CHOCOLATE! Just heard of his passing…and I’m crying….and I’ve NEVER been a “cry baby”. I guess that tells you best what that AMAZING man meant to me & my life….and how much better life has been all thru the years because of him and his INCREDIBLE spot on advice in all matters. When a man like Bruce passes on it is like a library burning down……REST IN PEACE, BRUCE…..YOU EARNED IT….I’LL MISS YOU. Jim W. Boxford, Massachusetts. KEEP IN TOUCH.

    • Very nice tribute to Bruce here James. I agree with you 100%. He was very comforting to listen to and the show was the most educational show on the air. He’s missed a lot. -BDK

  3. Constantly I used to read smaller content that also clears their motive, and that is also happening with
    this article which I am reading here. Bruce Williams earned Hall Of Fame.

  4. Back in the 80’s, I listened to Bruce at night, and learned so much. A couple times a year I
    would take long road trips of 1500 miles, alone. I was ECSTATIC when, in remote areas, not only did I pick up a radio station, but it was Bruce Williams! He kept me company with that comforting voice of his.
    I recorded some of his shows and took my cassette player with me to Australia and played the tape in my camper van. It was so cozy, thanks to Bruce.
    I love when he calls women “honey” or “baby” and men “tiger” and suggests “Let’s get it on.” I’m so glad he was popular back then and doesn’t have to endure the backlash of today’s society that is not tolerant of these endearing terms.
    Some calls stick out more than others. I only wish I knew what happened in the town of Gabbs, NV, when a citizen called for advice about creating a way to keep the town alive.
    Did the perky elderly lady who got a windfall of $50,000 ever open a brothel and become a madam? The guy who hid his $5,000,000 from the IRS cause he didn’t want to lose his social security and wanted Bruce’s advice on keeping the money but evading the taxes.
    My favorite call was from a man who was being extorted. Bruce gave him advice that probably saved his life.
    Amazing how so much of what he advised is still pertinent today.
    Everything he taught came directly from him. There was no internet in the early years, so he had to be knowledgeable and resourceful.
    I wish I had access to all of his shows because it won’t be long before I run out of the ones readily available online that I fall asleep to most every night.
    If I miss Bruce this much, I can only imagine how his family feels.
    RIP Bruce Williams.

    • Do you know both those calls are on YouTube The guy who was trying to hide the 5 million as well as the guy being extorted they are both calls that are on YouTube Are you the guy called TalkNet tapes that has all those wonderful calls hours of them in fact on YouTube? If not and you have any cassettes of Bruce please contact him Look him up on YouTube He’s got his email address contact him We need more Bruce on the air his broadcasts are very rare and hard to find except for the 40 some hours that are on YouTube by this gentleman

  5. I listened to Bruce every night as a Middle Schooler/High Schooler in the early to mid 90’s. I just happened to find him after listening to Seattle Mariners Games. He really helped shaped a young kid’s views on the world and financially. Bruce helped bridge the gap between what I was taught in school and the real world knowledge that Bruce brought into my world. Thanks Bruce, you were like the wise uncle every kid should have. I hope to pass what I learned to my own son.

  6. So enjoy reading everyone’s memories! For me, Bruce would keep me company during my police patrols. Even during slow nights I always had Bruce as my back-up to make the time fly by. His honesty was refreshing & strengthened my knowledge of how things worked in the financial & business world. I still remember the squeaky sound his studio door made!

    • I wrote him a letter one once, and included an newspaper article about a guy in Iowa City who was featured on the news for converting his Diesel VW to run on used French fry oil. The next week, the state revenue department sent him a bill for road taxes, because he hadn’t bought fuel for over a year. About a week leather, I was driving down the road, and my phone rang. It was Bruce Williams. He asked me a bunch of questions, called the revenues a bunch of SOBs. Before he hung up, he said, “be listening tonight, and I will talk about this”, thanked me, and told me to Hang in there, Tiger”. That was a great day.

  7. I just found put that Bruce passed from our earth…but never from our hearts. I was a listener and fan for years. I made a book for him from New Yorker cartoons I had cut out that fit the story of his life. I had the pleasure of meeting him backstage to present it to him. He was fantastic as a 1 man show talking about life. I will never forget. I have his signed picture of him…”stay in touch” was his signature closing and that is what he wrote to me. I am so sad he is not with us in body but he did great work for all while he was here. God Bless you and your family Bruce. You were one in a million.

  8. Were you all listening in the mid-80’s when the guy called in who had founds old bullion treasure in a cave somewhere in New Mexico or there abouts? That was an amazing call.

    I think Bruce commented on that over the years, and
    I seem to remember hi saying he never knew how that ended up and he wasn’t sure it was real, but it sure was interesting.

    DH and I were both radio talk show listeners when we met. While we were dating we saw Bruce live in Des Moines.

    The world will miss you, Bruce

  9. I was a captive audience of Bruce Williams. I ran the board at our local station (can I give the call letters?) WFIR in Roanoke, Virginia. Night after night I would hear Bruce give his advice and many times his wisdom would amaze me. The caller would say “I’m ten thousand dollars in debt. What can I do?” Bruce would say “Hey baby, what are you doing nights and weekends? Start flippin those hamburgers.” A wise old man and right there when we needed him. Rest in Peace.

  10. The best small business advice you can ever give anybody comes straight Bruce Williams…

    “The number reason small businesses fail is because they set their prices too LOW.”

    They all think they’ll make it up on volume, but don’t.

    Please pass that along to any and small business friends or wannabe’s, and you’ll definitely help keep Bruce’s legacy alive.

  11. Bruce kept me company when I worked night shift at a boring job. I loved when a caller did something stupid and Bruce would say “you’re out of your mind!” We will miss you Bruce, God bless you.

  12. Bruce was a nightly ritual, learned so much from him, I remember him saying to many callers, “you can’t buy your way to prosperity”. Radio had our ears back then, I even tried the podcast but it wasn’t the same.

  13. He changed my life with his financial advise. Never met him but I owe him a lot. Looks like he did the same for many other people.

  14. Loved being in the garage with my brother in law listening to Bruce. We would always say to each other, what would Bruce say about it. Well I lost my brother in law and now Bruce. Two big influential people in my life that will never be forgotten. Till we meet again.

  15. Bruce was very influential in my life. Because of his example and on-air advise I went back to college and eventually graduated with a masters degree. Hearing his show on YouTube brings back so many great memories. I was always excited to hear his show because I knew I would always learn something new. Thank you Bruce, you truly changed my life for the better.

  16. Bruce Williams was an absolute legend of the airwaves. Always gave sound financial advice and more. Always spoke freely from his heart and encouraged people to work hard, create the life you want, and don’t expect any handouts – the opposite of what all our politicians tell us today. Listening to him was like listening to a father figure – a wise old sage. He will be missed but even moreso, his departure is symbolic to the gradual changing of the guard in America. I wish all Americans could continue to hear his message and follow his advice – the world would be a better place! God Bless You Bruce Williams!

  17. Bruce was like a 2nd father to me at a time in life when I needed it. “Are you a man or a boy” I remember him saying to callers who worked only one job but did not make ends meet. RIP Bruce, you preached resilience, maturity, and hustle to a generation that needed it.

  18. My dad was a follower of Bruce and back in 1984 Bruce had set up a 7 day cruise on Celebrity Cruise Lines aboard the Zenith. Getting ready was really a lot of fun and planning as was the expectations. So finally the day came we were to sail. My wife had never been aboard a cruise ship and when she saw th ship was just awesomed out at the size of it. Then on board, the splendor of it all. My dad (now deceased in 2003) really had a good time listening to the lectures and even dining with Bruce. It was a lot f fun and it gt my dad hooked on cruising. Oct. 1994 was the first cruise followed by eight more cruises. I’m cruised out!

  19. Bruce Williams never failed to inform me, expand my knowledge base, and genuinely asstound me with the depth and breadth of his wiadom. There will never be another Bruce Williams! I’m so lucky that he occupied a piece of my lifetime!

  20. I never missed his program. It was so informative. He was down to earth. Wish I could have met him.We were in the Air Force at the same time. I am two years older and wonder how long I have left. Good by to my favorite person.
    Clayton Don Wilson

  21. Thank you for countless times I traveled across the freeways and you were a widen on light during the night time drives. Rest In Peace Uncle Bruce.

  22. God Bless You Bruce!
    I remember starting my own little CPA firm, listening to you every night on WEAQ radio in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. I loved your voice, sounding like you had a Jolly Roger in your mouth. Your soothing voice made work all evening a pleasure!
    May I someday meet you in Heaven!
    Ted

  23. So sad to hear of Bruce’s passing. I’ll always remember riding with my Dad on our car trips in the northeast US, listening to Bruce. After each caller, my Dad and I would chat about Bruce’s answers. 35 years later I can still remember the peace I felt with my Dad and Bruce in the same car

  24. I used to work as a computer operator in the 80s. That is when I first heard Bruce. My co-worker and I would order Little Caesar Pizza Pizza (Back then they delivered and you got two pizzas and their tag line was Pizza Pizza). Though we listened as we worked, we would take our dinner break and focus on Bruce and his advice. The man knew so much and was always kind to callers.
    I tried to listen to his Podcasts and it seems that though they look available, a message displays that there is problem. Same thing with TuneIn radio. Not sure how long it has been down, but I hope his family will keep them available.

  25. As one journalistic fan noted…..
    “Before there was Rush, there was Bruce Williams. Before there was Sean, before there was Glenn, before there was Laura or Mike or Randi or Neal or Howard … and way before there was Schnitt, there was Bruce Williams, coast to coast.”
    While abed, recovering from his brush with the death, his loving dog Mickey, was by his was by his side, and he never failed to mention that.
    When he drifted around the AM dial, as ratings lagged, I would scan the frequencies, searching for one who still carried my Mentor….and mentor he was. There he was(in my mind), offering advice, which was sound and logical, in an easychair by a warm fire and I,. sitting across from him, learning.
    I missed my mentor when I could not find on my radio dial and I miss all the more, now that he has passed.
    God bless you and your memory……

    • Elias, my friend, you just spoke for 10s of 1000s of people, if not more, including me. Thank you Bruce Williams and your family that shared you with us. God bless, indeed.

  26. This article failed to mention his niche. The man knew about almost everything! He was wonderfully informative on an incredible array of topics. While this article clued me into why he was so informed on that array of topics, (his many life ventures,) the article doesn’t mention the key aspect of his radio show that made him the legend he was/is. Thank you, Bruce Williams, for the many hours of information and enjoyment. May your memory live forever.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here