Wisconsin Radio Executive Bill Vancil Passes Away


Bill Vancil, Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame inductee and former Mid-West Family Broadcasting EVP, passed away on January 3 at the age of 82. In 1969, he joined Mid-West Family Broadcasting in Madison to manage WISM and stayed with the company until 2002.

Vancil’s career started at KSTT in Davenport, IA in the early 1960s where he rose to Program Director, before taking his talents to WISM. He was known for his creativity, designing custom station logos and t-shirts, organizing the WISM Frisbee Fly-in, and coaching the WISM Wizards basketball team.

In 1981, Vancil guided WISM/1480’s transition from Top 40 to News-Talk WTDY. He then collaborated with Tim Moore of Audience Development Group and Pat O’Neill to create Magic 98. Mid-West later raised him to Executive VP and Madison GM.

Vancil also co-founded the Madison Area Radio Association and was joined the Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2013. He also assisted with Tucson’s The Drive (KDRI) after moving there and reuniting with Bobby Rich.

TroyResearch President and former WISM personality Jonathan Little described Vancil as, “A renaissance man, who is really talented in so many areas.”

Bill Vancil is survived by his partner of 25 years, Andrea Byk, best friend Lee Fischl, and son Lou, who plan to host a celebration of Vancil’s life this spring in Madison.


  1. Bill Vancil was just what Radio needed – somebody creative, smart, clever, a little bit wacky. You could not help but love this man. I began my programming career in Davenport Iowa KSTT by replacing Bill as PD. 50 years later (2019) I hired Bill, who had moved to Tucson several years back, to create our KDRI logo and graphic designs for station projects. He will be missed.


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