The Oklahoma Educational Television Authority Board of Directors named the Oklahoma Network’s Oklahoma City studio in honor of longtime station manager and broadcasting veteran Bill Thrash.
The William C. “Bill” Thrash Studio is home to a majority of OETA’s Oklahoma productions, including the OETA Movie Club, Oklahoma News Report, Oklahoma Forum, The People’s Business, Oklahoma Votes, Oklahoma Capitol Connection and others.
Thrash is a 1961 East Central University graduate. The television studio at ECU - the William C. Thrash Studio – is named in honor of him as well. That studio opened in 2009 when the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center was opened.
“We have done our best to maintain high standards and raise the quality bar of studio television production through the years in OETA’s multifaceted studio,” Thrash said.
OETA Executive Director Dan Schiedel said naming the studio after Thrash, an Oklahoma broadcast veteran, is an excellent way to honor his accomplishments.
“Bill’s Oklahoma television legacy stretches across the state, especially through his invaluable guidance in building OETA’s strong lineup of local productions,” Schiedel said.
OETA Foundation President Bob Allen worked closely with Thrash on productions such as the landmark series Oklahoma Passage and the highly popular syndicated Lawrence Welk series for public television stations across the country. Allen said Thrash’s contributions to OETA have established high quality production standards at the Oklahoma Network.
“We are thrilled to pay tribute to Bill’s amazing work by naming the studio that houses some of Oklahoma’s best productions in his honor,” Allen said. “The William C. 'Bill' Thrash Studio is a testament to the hard work, dedication and outstanding leadership that Bill has provided to so many OETA productions and Oklahoma producers over the past 25 years.”
In 2010, Thrash was inducted into the Heartland Regional Emmy Chapter’s Gold Circle for his 50-plus years of service to Oklahoma television audiences.
Thrash began working at KTEN’s television studio in Ada in 1955, learning the live TV production business from the ground up when he was a student at Ada High School.
Upon graduation from ECU, he went to work at KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City in 1962.
Thrash later moved to WKY-TV (now KFOR) in 1971 and produced several local programs. He also supervised “Danny’s Day” with the late Danny Williams and Mary Hart. He also directed a nationally televised series of patriotic Fourth of July “Stars and Stripes” shows in Oklahoma City with such entertainers as Bob Hope, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Kate Smith and others.
He became program manager and station manager of WKY-TV (Channel 4), before joining OETA in 1988.
Thrash has served on the ECU Foundation’s Board of Trustees since 2008 and has served as chairman of that board in 2011. He is still serving on the executive committee as past chairman.