If there’s a single person to which the phrase “without whom” could be applied, it’s Bill Arhos.

A proud graduate of Rice University, Arhos started at the Austin public television station in the early ‘60s. Through the years he served as a cameraman, producer, and program director, completing his career as general manager from 1986 to 2000. It was during his tenure as program director that Austin City Limits was born. In 1974, Arhos noticed the already-busy Austin music scene, and together with producer Paul Bosner and director Bruce Scafe came up with the idea to create a television program to showcase it. More importantly, he successfully pitched the ACL concept to skeptical station management and, once the pilot aired as a solid success during PBS’ 1975 pledge drive, established it as a national series.

Outside ACL, Arhos executive-produced 15 music-themed PBS pledge specials, as well as co-created the commercial program The Texas Connection, which aired on The Nashville Network for four years. Arhos also served on the PBS Board of Directors from 1989 to 1995 and on the Board of Directors of the Country Music Association from 1992 to 1994.

Arhos served as ACL’s executive producer in the beginning and from 1982 to 1999, holding that position longer than anyone in the show’s history. As executive producer, Arhos kept the show going no matter what difficulties it faced. No matter the challenge, ACL always had Bill Arhos in its corner, and that goes a long way to explain why the show is now the longest running music program in television history.

For more, visit: acltv.com/hall-of-fame/

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