Former News Talk 780-KOH radio talk show host and 2005 Nevada Broadcast Association Hall of Fame inductee, Bill Manders passed away on May 27, 2019, (Memorial Day) at the age of only 68. He was born in Detroit, Michigan on December 22, 1950.
Reflecting back, it was a very warm Memorial Day 2006 that I first met Bill, during the dedication of the Freedom Memorial located at Powning Park in downtown Reno, Nevada. Bill, whose last name is really Mandelaris, was the driving force behind establishing the memorial, which on that day held the names of 38 Nevada military personnel who had died in Afghanistan and Iraq.
(I have the actual architectural plans, most of the documentation for the memorial and his show-opener that featured Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers singing ‘I Won’t Back Down,’ which were left behind when the powers-that-be canned him and that Bill told me to keep.)
Less than a year later, I found myself working with him. While he could come across gruff on the air, in person he was one of the most kind and genuine people I’d ever come to know in broadcasting.
It came as a shock to me when the management of KKOH let him go from the station mid-contract. But, true to his nature, he landed like a cat on his feet, doing Conservative talk radio in central California.
Bill also received the life-saving transplant of a kidney from 17-year-old Lexi Morris, a senior at Clovis East High School, in Clovis, California, who committed suicide.
Bill was working at Power 96.7 in Fresno, California at the time and often talked about his kidney dialysis and the need for a kidney on his program. Lexi’s father, Jason, listening to Bill’s show decided, along with his wife, Amy, that Bill should be the recipient, which turned out to be a perfect match.
“You know I’ve talked extensively on this program about having to go to dialysis, and that I was looking for a kidney so I didn’t have to do that anymore,” said Bill told listeners. “Well guess what? I don’t have to do that anymore; I got a new kidney. I got a kidney from a 17-year-old girl.”
Later, he spoke with ABC7 saying, “I was in tears when I heard [Lexi’s’] story, but I would rather concentrate on the pluses in her life. She was smart, athletic, she has a great family, and I know she’s up there looking down on me, so I’ve got to honor her.”
He hosted afternoons at KMJ in 2000-03 before his stint at KKOH in 2003-12, returning to Fresno at Power Talk in 2012-14. Bill also co-authored a book in 1999 with Lorita Hubbard, titled “A Clash of Values: Are the Media and Other Outside Influences Undermining Our Family Principles?”
Once Bill’s active radio career ended, he had time for what he really loved – being a grandfather and family man. He semi-retired to Lehi, Utah to be closer to his daughter and grandchildren.
Thank you Bill, for being a good friend, having an ear ready when needed, for following your convictions and and remaining honest and humble to those around you. I will truly miss you.