Bill Ashford

Biography by William Ashford

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Convinced as a child that real people lived inside his family's console radio, Ashford was destined for a life in music and broadcasting. First album owned: Bix Beiderbeck, on 78s, a Christmas gift from…
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Artist Biography by William Ashford

Convinced as a child that real people lived inside his family's console radio, Ashford was destined for a life in music and broadcasting. First album owned: Bix Beiderbeck, on 78s, a Christmas gift from his dad. Well-traveled as an army brat, including a couple of years in post-WW II Europe, living in Landsberg, Germany. First records purchased; "Sexy Ways" by the Spiders (78 rpm), and "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley (45 rpm).

Ashford's first taste of radio was a a guest appearance of a Mutual Radio Network record show when he was in high school. He went into radio full-time in 1963, where he has remained, more or less, since then.

A major life change came, when in 1966, Ashford began to meet artists who were traveling through Fayetteville, N.C., where he was working at WFNC. Fred Neil, Tom Rush, Joni Mitchell, Judy Roderick, and Spanky & Our Gang were among many who sang at a local coffeehouse, as a pit stop on the New York City to Coconut Grove circuit. Ashford and Roderick began writing music together, pitching it to Vanguard, Elektra, ABC, and later Shelter and Atlantic, with whom they would eventually sign. Meanwhile, a trip to New York City opened Ashford's ears to the "underground" programming of WOR-FM and WBAI-FM, and he knew immediately which way the wind was blowing. He went back to North Carolina, immersed himself in the new music, and took the opportunity to be involved with the infancy of KMYR-FM in Denver, Co, one of the first of several stations to follow the lead of Tom Donahue's KMPX-FM, and the previously mentioned N.Y. stations. Later would come KRNW-FM (the daddy of KBCO-FM), Boulder, and a stint at KMPX-FM, San Francisco, followed by the outrageous KFML-FM in Denver.

In 1971, Ashford and his writing partner signed with Atlantic Records. What was to have been a solo project for Judy Roderick, eventually became one album by Sixty Million Buffalo. What followed was the usual story. The band broke up. The songwriting partnership splintered in the mid-'70s. During this period, Ashford did some freelance writing, including a radio release kit for Freddie King's first album for Shelter Records, and radio spots for Tumbleweed Records.

Ashford then undertook a radio and life odyssey that stretched from Texas through the midwest, back to Colorado and eventually to Florida, where he resides with his wife and three daughters.

He counts as special his participation in a 1975 conference call conversation with John Lennon (which he still has) and the recording in 1992, of "Floods of South Dakota," which he co-wrote, by Tim & Mollie O'Brien for their Remember Me album on the Sugar Hill label.

Ashford is now operations manager and morning host at WOCA, Newstalk 1370, Ocala, where he talks entirely too much and interviews musicians, writers, doctors, cops, teachers, wanks, politicians, lobbyists, and lunatics. In his spare time, he continues to write lyrics and contributes to All Music Guide.

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