‘Austin City Limits’ Founder Bill Arhos Dies at 80
Bill Arhos, longtime KLRU-TV station executive and founder of Austin City Limits, the longest-running music show in American television history, died on Saturday (April 11) at the age of 80. You can watch ACL's "Hall of Fame" video for Arhos above.
The following statement was issued by KLRU-TV in conjunction with Austin PBS and the Arhos family:
KLRU-TV, Austin PBS and the family of Bill Arhos are sad to announce the passing of the longtime station executive, who most regard as the father of Austin City Limits. Arhos died Saturday, April 11th, at the age of 80. His life’s work was devoted to KLRU, public media and music. He served in many positions during his nearly 40-‐year career at KLRU, joining in 1961 to help launch the public television station.
Arhos will always be remembered best for his vision and passion that drove Austin City Limits to become the longest-‐running music series in American television history.
In the same message, Austin City Limits executive producer Terry Lickona had this to say:
He was a real character, known and loved not just in Austin but throughout the PBS system. The idea for Austin City Limits was not just his alone, but he brought it to life, and he kept the show going and growing through some difficult times. Whether they know it or not, millions of music fans, artists and PBS viewers owe a debt to him for his enormous contribution to what’s become a cultural institution.
You can read the full statement here.
The pilot for Austin City Limits was shot on Oct. 14, 1974, and starred Willie Nelson. Over the last four-plus decades, the show has grown into one of the crown jewels of American music and public broadcasting culture, as well as a top-flight destination for musicians.
As we remember the life of Arhos, watch his colorful recollections of the founding of the show below:
Arhos began his career as a producer for KLRU (then KLRN) in 1961 and eventually became the station’s president and general manager, holding several positions during his tenure; he retired in 1999. According to ACL, "Arhos will be buried in a private ceremony at the Texas State Cemetery alongside other Texas legends. Details about his service and a celebration of his life will be forthcoming. The family requests donations to the Bill Arhos Fund at KLRU in lieu of flowers."
For a full schedule of upcoming Austin City Limits episodes, click here.