Radio Owner Bill Dalton Dies at 80
memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 1, in North Naples, Fla.
for Bill Dalton. The radio pioneer and entrepreneur passed away this month at
Dalton began his radio career with Metromedia at
WHK(AM) in Cleveland and subsequently worked at WIP(AM) in Philadelphia. In 1968, he went to manage WASH, then a new FM in the Washington,
D.C., market, for Metromedia.
Dalton helped popularize FM by
bringing in a variety of announcers and adding news, sports and weather,
according to his daughter, Diane Dalton Warren,
founder of marketer Bounceology.com and president of operations of the
HD Radio Alliance.
believed that better on-air programming coupled with quality stereo sound would boost interest in the station and in FM radio generally, according to
Warren, who said that by 1969 WASH was able to compete head-to-head with market leader WMAL(AM).
During Dalton’s time at WASH, the
industry acknowledged the station as a pioneer of the adult contemporary format.
He was able to parlay his success in Washington to become general manager with
Metromedia KLAC(AM) in Los Angeles and other Metromedia stations. He also headed broadcast operations for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Bill and his wife Susan formed The Dalton Group in 1981 with the purchase of their first
station in the Washington area, WXTR(AM/FM). The company developed the oldies station from a suburban outlet to one seen as serving the Washington metro area.
Diane Warren says she was tutored
by many in radio but that her passion and talents come from her father. “I will forever
be grateful that we shared the radio business, which brought him joy, success
and many, many incredible friendships. I will miss him but his legacy lives on
in me and so many others.”
Susan expanded their ownership by purchasing WGRR(FM), Cincinnati and WWMG(FM)
and WEND(FM), Charlotte, N.C. The business was
successful and helped train broadcast managers, executives and entrepreneurs, according
to Warren. “His greatest legacy is the amazing ability to create a cohesive,
cooperative and collegial atmosphere where people could excel and grow.”
The Daltons retired to North Naples, Fla. and supported
several charities there.
Bill Dalton is survived by his
wife of 33 years, Susan Louise Dalton and three adult children including: Diane
Warren of San Antonio, Texas; Robert Dalton of Atlanta; and John Dalton of Knoxville, Tenn. He is also survived by seven grandchildren.
Dec. 1 memorial service will be at 11 a.m. at North Naples United Methodist
Church in Naples, Fla. In lieu of flowers, his family would prefer honoring his
commitment to Naples with donations to The Garden of Hope and Courage at Naples
Community Hospital or The Conservancy of
Southwest Florida/The Dalton Discovery Center.