Former isle deejay dies from gunshot
Steven B. Williams was apparently murdered in waters off California
Former Hawaii radio personality Steven B. Williams was shot to death last month in a case that is under investigation in California. No arrests have been made.
A career that spans the radio dial
Radio personality Steven B. Williams' career stretched over three decades and included stints at:
Honolulu radio stations
Mainland radio stations/programs
KBPI (Denver): 1980
KPKE (Denver): 1984
KRQR (San Francisco): 1987
KXKL (Denver): 1988
World's Greatest Hits (San Francisco): 1992-94
KIOI (San Francisco): 1993
KHOW (Denver): 1996
KSPZ (Colorado Springs, Colo.): 2000-01
His body was found by a boater in the ocean six miles off the isthmus of Avalon, a town on Catalina Island, Calif., on May 18. His birthday was May 14.
The May 22 autopsy by the Los Angeles County Coroner's office determined that "he died from a gunshot wound to his upper torso, and the case was deemed a homicide," said Dana Camarillo, a deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Williams, 59, had been living on a boat belonging to another person moored in San Pedro Harbor, according to Sgt. Kenneth Clark, one of the detectives investigating Williams' death for the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department Homicide Bureau.
Talk of his apparent murder swirled among his friends on the mainland and in Hawaii for the past few weeks, but his identity was not confirmed until a dental record comparison was made on Wednesday.
The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office confirmed the information yesterday.
A sailing and wine enthusiast with a deep, resonant voice, Williams gained fame with radio listeners in Hawaii throughout the 1970s working for top-rated stations. His voice was revered and envied by fellow broadcasters.
Williams was no longer working as a day-to-day radio personality. Instead, he had built a second career doing voice-over work for radio and television stations including KHON-TV, until recently.
KHON Marketing Director Kyle Funasaki said he met with Williams a few months ago, and the former deejay talked of his plans to sail around the world.
The sailing plans were consistent with what Sgt. Clark has learned in the course of his investigation, though the departure date changed repeatedly. "My understanding is they were months away from leaving," Clark said.
Concern for Williams' well-being surfaced when he stopped communicating with friends on the mainland and in Hawaii at the beginning of May.
Clark credits those close to Williams for bringing his disappearance and their concern to officials' attention.
Friends say Williams had recently inherited a large sum of money following the death of his father and that his trusting nature might have contributed to his death.
Many of those friends have been advised by law enforcement authorities not to discuss the case with anyone.
Former co-worker Danielle Tucker, through tears, said, "Steven doesn't deserve that. He was too good a person."
Now a traffic reporter for Cox Radio Hawaii, Tucker recalled how the management of KQMQ-FM 93.1 promised to improve wages and working conditions if the staff would reject a union attempt to organize them in the 1970s. It was the sister station to the decidedly more popular and higher-rated KKUA-AM 690, a Top 40 hits station before the FM band began dominating the airwaves.
"We were nobodies. The FM was nothing back then. KQMQ was an afterthought" to the owners, she said. Williams was so trusting, "he believed them," she said, but it never happened and he left the station not long afterward.
Williams left Hawaii in 1980 to work for KBPI-FM 106.7, a rock station in Denver, where he was half of the ratings-topping "Steven B. and the Hawk" morning team for several years. In a story about Williams' death, Denver TV station KCNC reported that Williams' partner, Don Hawkins, died in 1994 during routine surgery.
Williams worked at more than a dozen radio stations in Hawaii and on the mainland starting in 1970, according to www.440.com, a Web site where current and former radio broadcasters post stations or related companies they have worked for, as well as "where are they now" updates.
His last update was posted in September 2001.
"While attending a recent function at my favorite winery, V. Sattui Winery in Napa Valley, I was stunned when Daryl Sattui, owner and great-grandson of the founder, offered me a job. After exhaustive analysis of all the pros and cons, I accepted his offer just slightly before he was able to finish his sentence. I am now living and working in what can only be described as a dead ringer for the Bordeaux region of France where I continue to provide voice imaging to my radio and TV clients. If my newspapers have started piling up call 911; it just may mean that I've died and gone to Heaven," he wrote.
He helped the winery stage tastings but left the position and moved away from the area a few years ago.
Williams is survived by a sister who lives in New Jersey. No information on services was available.