William Orr
Columbus, OH

QCWA # 3787
Chapter 71

Born 1917
W8NPU - William Orr
Bill turned 100 in April!

Bill earned his commercial 2nd class radiotelephone license at age 18 in 1935 and began his radio career in radio broadcast engineering. When he took the commercial 2nd exam, he was required to draw a diagram and explain the operation of an RCA 50B 50KW transmitter. The 50B was a widely used radio broadcast transmitter in the 1930's. When Bill got his first job as a broadcast engineer, the station he worked for was using a 50B transmitter. Needless to say, Bill had no trouble understanding the workings of the rig.

Bill obtained his amateur radio Class 'A' license in 1936. In that he earned his 2nd class commercial ticket by taking a very comprehensive exam, he was granted an amateur radio Class 'A' license without examination in 1936. The Class 'A' ticket permitted phone privileges in the 20 and 75-meter band. The Class 'B' and 'C' did not. Years later after several FCC license class revisions, the old Class A, B and C classes became what we are familiar with today; the Advanced, General, and Conditional classes respectively.

As the years went by Bill moved on from radio broadcasting engineering to television broadcast engineering. After earning his commercial radiotelephone 1st class license he applied for a job at newly constructed station WBNS television in Columbus, Ohio in 1949. Television was in its infancy at that time. Bill worked at the station for 43 years, steadily climbing the ladder and ultimately becoming Director of Broadcast Engineering at WBNS television. Bill was also elected to and held a seat on the Board of Directors of WBNS-TV. During a station antenna and signal coverage upgrade, Bill was instrumental in the construction of a new 915 ft candelabra tower that not only broadcast the WBNS signal, but also the signals of several other television and radio stations in the Columbus area who rented antenna space on the new tower. Because of the extra revenue generated by the antenna rental space, Bill was affectionately known by the sales department as 'The Golden Engineer'.

During his career with WBNS television, Bill knew and became friends with many broadcast news people and on-air personalities who began their careers at WBNS television. Among the most notable were news broadcasters Dana Tyler now at WCBS-TV New York City, Faith Daniels later with CBS news and NBC's 'Today Show', Sharyl Attkisson, former CBS reporter, and Carol Costello now at CNN. Among the notable on-air personalities that Bill was friends and worked with at the station, and later became nationally known, were Jonathan Winters (comedian) and Rod Serling ('The Twilight Zone').

W8NPU - William Orr
An 80th Anniversary Award was presented to Bill in by QCWA member Don Fuhr, K8KSM.

W8NPU - William Orr
Bill met and eventually married his lovely wife Mary, who also
worked at WBNS in the television film production department.

September 16, 2017