For over fifty years Bill Nance has worked in radio at nearly every possible position, all within the Miami Valley.
He’s currently the morning show host for Faith and Friends Radio, where his wealth of experience is being used for a purpose deeper than just entertainment. The driving force that inspires Nance to keep working is his desire to help point others towards Christ.
Faith and Friends was started as internet radio in 2011 with Nance and Melody Morris as co-founders. The station's mission statement is ‘Harnessing the World’s Technology to Reach the World for Christ.’ “It means to let others know that Jesus died for them and is offering the gift of eternal life in heaven if they acknowledge that they have sinned and need God’s forgiveness. He changes lives when we make that decision, and the change will last for eternity,” said Nance.
On Saturday, June 1, Faith and Friends are holding their 8th Anniversary Concert at the First Baptist Church in Kettering, 3939 Swigart Rd., at 7:00 p.m. The featured act is Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, a high energy southern gospel group.
Nance’s interest in radio started at the age of 11, while he was recuperating in the hospital after being struck by a car. From the monetary gifts he received, Nance bought a transistor radio and heard a song he remembered from the movie ‘The Parent Trap’ called ‘Let’s Get Together’ played on WING, the local Top 40 station. From that moment Nance knew he wanted to be a disc jockey someday.
He began working in radio as a teenager by setting up a station in a basement, with a friend, and broadcasting to the neighborhood with a 1/10 watt. Then in high school at Patterson Co-Op, Nance was in a Junior Achievement radio company for three years, with which he helped produce a weekly program on the old WAVI. His first paid job was as a night switchboard operator at WING, which also included other odd jobs such as filing records and dressing up in costumes for station promotions.
Nance served three separate stints at WING. After first starting in 1968, he left for a short time to work at WAVI-WDAO. Then in 1969 he returned to WING for two years and worked in in the Continuity Department, writing and helping to produce commercials. Next, Nance spent five years in Xenia at WGIC hosting a morning show and then in 1976 went back to WING and did news for 13 years.
For 22 years, Nance was the morning show host and program director for WFCJ, which provided him with some of his most memorable moments. “We did a roller coaster promotion with my co-host Melody Morris. She loved coasters. I didn’t. We rode the Millennium Force at Cedar Point, where they recorded my screams. We turned it into a lesson on fear,” he said.
Another segment that stands out in Nance’s mind is when a magician juggled real daggers (knives) over him for 10 seconds while Nance was laying on the ground. He’s also very proud of the awards received for nearly 50 of his special reports and documentaries. Nance considers himself very blessed to have been inducted into Dayton Area Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2007.
Nance is also thankful for the many celebrities he’s been fortunate enough to interview through the years, such as Andy Williams, Henry Winkler, Dick Clark, Rick Stanley (stepbrother of Elvis Presley), Minnie Pearl, Mark Lowry, Chonda Pierce and many others.
While Nance has witnessed a lot of changes in the radio industry, including the rise of internet radio (faith and friends radio.com), a connection with the audience is still most important. “People still like to hear local personalities, which we stress with our daily lineup. The key is to be relatable to your listeners,” he said.
At 4 a.m. every morning, Nance gets up for work, driven by the desire to positively influence someone’s life. “Every day my hope is something is said or played on our program will touch lives. The same goes for wherever I am. Loving people and caring about them spiritually is so very important,” said Nance.
To Nance, his first 21 years in secular radio is considered as God’s way of preparing him for Christian radio, which he’s been with since 1989. He feels as if God’s plan is being fulfilled and has no plans to alter it in the near future. “As long as the Lord gives me good health, I hope to continue working. I’ve been so blessed and am thankful for what God has done in my life,” he said.
Tickets for the Anniversary Concert for Faith and Friends Radio are available on iTickets.com or by phone from calling 800-965-9324.