Owner guided KKUA to prominence
BOB WILSON / BROADCAST MEDIA EXECUTIVE
RETIRED television and radio executive Bob Wilson died at his Waialae Iki home Wednesday morning after a long illness. He was 84.
The former owner and general manager of KKUA 690 AM brought that station to prominence as Honolulu's top rock station in the 1970s, said KSSK radio personality Michael Perry.
"He gave me my first paycheck after the Navy" in 1972, Perry recalled.
Wilson was "a great guy, very down to Earth," Perry said. "He was a quiet, unassuming guy. Always had a smile. Always pleasant. Not the screaming and yelling radio management type you hear about. A very nice guy."
"He and (his wife) Marjorie are great Hawaii citizens, always involved in lots of local activities," Perry said.
Wilson was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and served as a B-29 flight instructor during World War II, but was never sent into action, Mrs. Wilson said.
The Wilsons moved to Hawaii in 1969 after Wilson retired from a management career with mainland television stations in Chicago, New York, Houston and Sacramento, Mrs. Wilson said. He was co-owner and general manager of KKUA until it was sold in 1979, she said.
It was before she met her husband in 1951, while he was working in Chicago, that he helped a band leader named Lawrence Welk get a radio program sponsored by Miller Brewing, she said.
While working for KGUL and KHOU television stations in Houston, Wilson also gave news anchor Dan Rather his first TV reporting job, Mrs. Wilson said.
As vice president and general manager of KHTV in Sacramento, Wilson regularly visited with then-Gov. Ronald Reagan.
"And then, of course, there's Michael Perry," she said.
The Wilsons originally planned to use their house on Black Point as a summer home, "but then we decided to pick up and move over," Mrs. Wilson said.
Wilson was a member of the Outrigger Canoe Club, where he enjoyed playing two-man volleyball and surfing, Mrs. Wilson said. He also enjoyed golf, tennis, skiing and extensive traveling.
The Wilsons were married 54 years and had four children, Steven, Carrie Nicol, Peter, and Jeffrey, all of whom live in Hawaii. He also is survived by three granddaughters.
Wilson will be cremated and the family will hold a private service to scatter his ashes in December.