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Austin City Limits founder Bill Arhos dies at age 80

Austin City Limits founder Bill Arhos dies at age 80

KVUE — Longtime KLRU station executive and Austin City Limits founder Bill Arhos has died. He was 80 years old. Arhos died Saturday, April 11, according to a news release.

Often called the spirit of the show, Arhos was inducted into the Austin City Limits inaugural Hall of Fame in 2014.

"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," said the release.

Arhos joined KLRU in 1961 and launched the public television station. He served as producer, program director, vice president of programming, executive producer of Austin City Limits, and president/general manager until his retirement in 1999.

"I've never met anyone like Bill Arhos," said Terry Lickona, ACL executive producer and longtime colleague. "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."

Arhos was a 1957 graduate of Rice University. The university honored Arhos in 2007 with the Association of Rice Alumni's Distinguished Alumni Award. Arhos served on the boards of PBS and the Country Music Association.

"Bill Arhos was a legend in public media, respected for his creativity, energy, and persistence. From day one, he dedicated himself to building a station that was a national leader in production, and he set a standard that others seek to achieve," said Bill Stotesbery, general manger of KLRU. "He will be missed greatly."

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Bill Arhos Austin City Limits
Bill Arhos died Saturday, April 11. Photo courtesy of Austin City Limits