Wednesday, August 8, 2018

R.I.P. Former KGO Late Night Host Bill Wattenberg

Bill Wattenburg
Bill Wattenburg, a former nuclear weapons designer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who hosted a popular late-night show on KGO 810 radio for 39 years, has died.

He died August 2 of cancer at age 82, according to The Daily Post.

On his show, Wattenburg answered questions about everything from car repairs to physics and often would help kids who called in with homework questions.

While kind to childnren, “Dr. Bill” had a gruff, suffer-no-fools attitude with adults. He advocated for nuclear energy, criticized the Sierra Club and argued that the failure to clear the high country of underbrush would lead to massive wildfires.

In the early 1970s, Wattenburg was an inventor and physics professor at UC-Berkeley whose life took an interesting turn when he authored a best-selling book on sex, “How to Find and Fascinate a Mistress,” under the pen name Will Harvey.

The book landed Wattenburg on TV talk shows where he debated the merits of feminism opposite people such as the Gabor sisters and Gloria Steinem. KGO hired him to host a three-hour show on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Wattenburg’s show was No. 1 in the ratings in 11 states. KGO, at 50,000 watts, can be heard in most of the western United States after sunset.

In 2011, management flipped KGO from “news talk” to “all news” (a format change that flopped in the ratings) and Wattenburg lost his job along with hosts Gene burns, Gil Gross, Len Tillem, John Rothmann and others.

More recently, Wattenburg hosted a show at KSCO-AM in Santa Cruz, which announced his death on Saturday.

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