William “Bill” Ballard, founder of WDCQ-TV in University Center, Mich., died Aug. 25 in Traverse City, Mich. He was 90.
Ballard previously worked as director of broadcasting and TV station manager at Delta College, licensee of WDCQ. After graduating from Auburn University in Alabama, he went to Delta College to establish the station. He and chief engineer Ray Woods joined the staff in 1961 before Delta College even opened its doors.
Ballard worked tirelessly to build the station. WUCM-TV Channel 19 aired its first program Oct. 12, 1964. His direction helped the station become a well-known fixture in the area. Ballard and his staff provided a valuable community service that offered programming variety at a time before the advent of cable TV.
After 25 years at Delta College, Ballard retired from Channel 19 in 1986.
After retirement, Ballard and his wife, Connie, moved from Midland “up north” to Lake Ann, Mich. Connie died in 2017 after 65 years of marriage.
Surviving Ballard are his children William (Karen) Ballard, Laura (Steve) King, Charles Ballard and Madeleine Carey; nine grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are being made through Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home. A memorial service is scheduled for Sept. 27 with visitation at 2 p.m. and service at 3 p.m. Reception to follow.
Thomas Bennett is GM of Delta College Broadcasting in University Center, Mich.