Bill Heiderich, left, and Mrs Charles Nickelson, winner of a WIBX Radio Promotion.
William John Heiderich (Bill) has become a Legend in his own time. He has been an employee of WIBX, Inc. for the past sixty years. This record must be recognized as a singular event supreme. We issue this challenge to the wide, wide world to either match or exceed this historic milestone. And to think that Bill had no prior experience in his field when he accepted the position. The position he accepted was that of a salesperson of radio broadcast time to prospective advertisers. He would meet with prospective advertisers, confer as to what they wanted to advertise, return to the radio station on the 9th floor of the First National Bank Building on Genesee at Elizabeth Street (Adirondack Bank Building today). An employee known as a continuity writer would compose an advertising message of either thirty seconds or sixty seconds in length. These were known as "spot" announcements for they were placed on the broadcast day's schedule. Because of his hard work, Bill Heiderich has made the sale of radio advertising an art form in the Greater Utica area. Here's what we know about Bill. His parents were William C. and Helen D. Barnes Heiderich. His father operated the family business, a shoe store, located on Varick Street, near Hamilton. He attended Kernan School, and was graduated from Utica Free Academy. After, he obtained employment with the US Secret Service, working under Ed Michel but then Bill received his greetings from the President to report for induction into the United States Army where he served honorably. Upon his return to Utica, he visited with the Secret Service people here and was informed that the job entailed much training which would take him away from his home town. It was at this time that Nathan J Cook (Nate) entered his life. Nate sensed Bill's amiable personality would be an asset in Bill becoming a successful salesperson. So in July of 1947, Bill was hired to sell radio time for WIBX and where he has remained ever since. I fondly recall the day when Nate Cook brought Bill into the WIBX control room to introduce me to Bill.
Bill Heiderich, holding microphone, at the Chicago Market Store on Columbia Street, during a 1955 remote WIBX broadcast.
It was at this time, in 1947, that the print media received a huge chunk of the local advertising budgets. And here is Bill Heiderich with no prior sales experience started his career. He set goals. He joined local fraternal and service clubs. He became a member of Utica Junior Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Utica Merchants and became a charter member of the Utica Optimist Club with Don McIntosh. It was in this way he began to "network" and, I swear, it was Bill who invented the process. He would have WIBX staff members prepare presentations which Bill would use in presenting his plan to sell prospective advertisers on the advantage of using WIBX as a choice to include radio as part of their advertising campaign. It worked. And with each succeeding year, Bill learned more and more about this sales business in which he crafted radio time sales into an art form. And he was joined on the sales team with Fred Bowen, Don Staubes and Cal Jones. There have been several changes in ownership of WIBX but Bill Heiderich has remained. Two years ago, Henry Morehouse, Bud Bannigan and I tendered Bill a Testimonial Luncheon held in the Crystal Ballroom of the Hotel Utica. The room was filled to capacity, a tribute to the "born salesman". As he has been successful in his business life, Bill been as successful in his private life. He has been married to Norma Taylor Heiderich for 57 years. They have been living in the same house on Utica's West Side for a like number of years. From this beautiful love story has come three beloved children: Kurt, Scott and Kim. One more thing. It was Bill Heiderich who, with Tom Gorman, started the WIBX Heart Radiothon a generation ago to honor the memory of Ralph Allinger, an employee of the radio station, who died as the result of a heart attack. Today, the Heart Association Run and Heart Walk has received national recognition for its pledge totals exceeding one-million dollars. Mary Jo Beach, present Vice-president and General Manager of the Regent Broadcasting Group of the Mohawk Valley, who began her career as a radio time salesperson, has high praise for Bill and acknowledging her debt to him for all she has learned from him. Bill Heiderich, the star of Amplitude Modulation Broadcasting in the Mohawk Valley.
IN MEMORIAM August 6, 2011.
Bill Heiderich, left, with good friend, Bud Baker in U.S. uniforms.
Bill Heiderich as newspaper delivery boy on Lenox Avenue, West Utica,