If certain people announce their arrivals at the pearly gates in the dead of night, St. Peter will need no further identification. Their voices will be dead give-aways.
One such person is Paul Harvey, venerable ABC radio newsman whose listeners love him for both what he says and how he says it.
And what about world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham and motivational speaking sensation Zig Ziglar? Their voices, too, are among the select group of inimitables…
Another mellow voice is that of Dallas’ Bill Melton.
In the early going, this UT-Austin graduate hired on at Radio Station KGNB in New Braunfels.
One of his first assignments was to interview Sky King — the daily radio show pilot who caught up with sidewinders in his trusty plane, the Songbird…
“It just couldn’t get any better than this,” Melton thought. “Every kid in America hurried home from school to hear Sky King’s adventures.”
Melton was nervous as he interviewed this national radio star who favored New Braunfels for the grand opening of six stores in a strip shopping center.
It was “heady stuff,” but he was to soon learn that fledging radio personalities must be morning persons. He wasn’t, and isn’t…
Soon, he was at KASE in Austin, where he pulled an 11-hour shift, starting in the wee hours of July 4th. Maybe this wasn’t a dream job after all!
He remembered the “be what you want to be” stories told by his Rosemont Elementary School Principal, the late Ben A. Matthews.
Melton had a long “wannabe” list he chose to play out in Dallas, the city of his birth…
In retrospect, it was an easy decision. After all, his late father, Allen Melton, was a distinguished attorney in Dallas, where he taught the same Sunday school class for 58 years.
Bill learned organizational management from the late Bill McCalib at the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce, and soon was attacking his “wannabe” list from several different angles.
And he gained distinction in the process…
His marvelous voice opened many doors for him, and once inside, he felt very much at home as the public address announcer for various events.
And are they ever various! Consider this: Bill has handled PA for:
Dallas Cowboys, 1968-1977.
Cotton Bowl Classic, starting in 1970 and completing his 30th last January.
All 254 home games during the six years of the ABA’s Dallas Chaparrals, now better known as the San Antonio Spurs.
SMU Mustangs for 24 years, starting in 1975.
Oh, yes, he was at the PA mic for three Super Bowls — VI, VIII and IX — and twice for World Cup Soccer. He drew the PA assignment for the 1996 Olympic Games, and continues to be in demand for national track meets, including 14 this year…
Melton has added excitement to the Texas Relays in Austin for 35 years, where he’s known for the way he utters “another relays RECORD!”
And he’s been “cutting edge” for sparkling player introductions.
Long-time Cowboy fans looked forward to the drawn-out introductions of Jethro Pugh and Rayfield Wright…
But those were mostly “above and beyond” kind of assignments.
He’s remembered, too, for his 25 innovative years as Dallas County Treasurer. He introduced the county to electronic banking. He pinched pennies to breaking points, and stayed on top of depositories, earning the county more than $400 million in interest. His record earned state and national recognition.
Melton has served in the presidencies of both the state and national organizations of county treasurers, retiring in 2002 without ever losing a race for public office…
Oh, he’s changed gears some. Now he’s spending more time in projects for his beloved Oak Cliff Lions Club, where he’s served for 38 years.
This remains one of the most active clubs in Lionism.
Earlier this month, he was among five Texans inducted into the Texas Lions Hall of Fame…
Behind the voice is a man of vision, leadership and substance.
When friends phone him, they can’t lose, hearing his melodious voice either “live” or on the recorded message.
I hope his legacy — one of trust from day one — will be perpetuated in his son and daughter, both attorneys, and two grandchildren. He’s as “classy” as it gets…
Don Newbury is a speaker and author whose weekly column appears in 125 newspapers in six states. He welcomes comments and inquiries. Call him at (817) 447-3872, or send e-mail to email@example.com His Web site is www.speakerdoc.com.