Monday, October 22, 2018

R.I.P. Longtime D-C Radio Personality Bill Mayhugh

Bill Mayhugh
Bill Mayhugh, a longtime Washington-area radio host who had an overnight jazz and easy-listening program for almost 30 years, helped raise millions of dollars for charity and was a founder of the Marine Corps Marathon, died Oct. 12 at an assisted-living facility in Olney, Md.

He died on his 91st birthday, according to The Washington Post.  He had complications from a broken hip, said a son, Jack Mayhugh.

Mayhugh was a native Washingtonian who began his career as a jazz drummer when he was 16. He turned to broadcasting in 1949, reading the morning news on WFAX-AM in Fairfax County, Va.

Early in his career, he was the host of a morning show and a children’s show, and he had a brief turn as a television announcer in the early 1950s before finding his niche as a DJ and interviewer, where he brought a musician’s insight to the airwaves. He first joined WMAL 630 AM in 1953 as the host of “Mayhugh’s Moods” from 10 to 11 p.m.

Early in his career, Mayhugh said, he learned the secret of radio’s particular sense of intimacy.

“People don’t sit in groups and listen to the radio,” he said in 2009. “You must speak just as though you’re talking to just one person.”

During the 1950s, Mayhugh produced and hosted an ABC Radio show of jazz big bands appearing at the Glen Echo ballroom in Maryland, where he chatted with such well-known musicians as Count Basie, Woody Herman and Stan Kenton.

In 1954, Mayhugh moved to WOL-AM, where he began with a late-night show before shifting to a daytime slot for eight years. He returned to WMAL in 1964 as host of the “All Night Show,” which ran from midnight (later changed to 1 a.m.) to 6 a.m. He was a fixture on WMAL for 29 years.

Beginning in the 1950s, he was a frequent emcee at charity events, including golf tournaments and other benefits. For more than 20 years, he hosted an annual ­25-hour radio marathon to raise money for leukemia research. He was credited with raising more than $15 million for that cause alone.

Throughout his career, until he left the airwaves when WMAL switched to an all-news format in
1993, Mayhugh acted as the writer, producer, director and host of his shows.

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