Our profession is peppered coast to coast with quality people tutored and touched by Bill Perry, but his heart is in Heartland Television. Some even say they owe their careers, if not their very lives, to Bill Perry.
If the numbers of awards, including Emmys, are the measure of success, then Bill is more than successful. If passion in producing a quality product is the measure to use, then Bill’s success is immeasurable. If loyalty, dedication, care and consistency are ingredients in true success, then Bill is the recipe.
Bill Perry grew up in the Heartland, was schooled in Oklahoma, and began his television career even before he had diploma in hand. That professional path began at KTEN in Ada, Oklahoma. He is rightfully proud of the fact he operated the station’s first color camera for the first locally originated color program there in 1969. Bill launched quickly to the “big time” at KOCO-TV, where he delighted the Heartland with a feature called “NEWSREEL” for newscasts (and the tapes exist to prove he had hair). In the mid 1970s, Perry worked both sides of the camera at KDFW in Dallas.
Bill Perry moved from the Heartland in 1977, but represented his home region admirably in many ways. He supervised field coverage for the launch of the first NASA Space Shuttle for WBBH (NBC) in Ft. Myers, Florida. During his service at WATE in Tennessee, he was one of nine news directors to form the ABC News Directors Advisory Board to foster affiliate news services for the network . . . And the list goes on.
Back home to Oklahoma television in 1986, he taught broadcast news at East Central University in addition to his commercial work as an Account Executive at KTEN (ABC/NBC). He moved his family home to Oklahoma City in 1987, and continued his television career with KAUT (Fox).
In January of 1990, Bill joined OETA – The Oklahoma Network (PBS) as Field Bureau Manager and has since contributed greatly to News and Public Affairs. Promotions and programming opportunities were given to him, not only because they were “part of the job”, but because everyone knew Bill Perry would get the job done and done well.
As Executive Producer of the highly acclaimed Documentary Department at OETA, Bill initiated the production of two monthly series. “Stateline” is focused on the issues and people and politics of Oklahoma. “Gallery” showcases the myriad artists, arts, and culture in the state. In less than five months, Perry was promoted to the position, found and equipped office and production space, hired three people, and had “Stateline: Beyond Black and Gold” on the air. That first documentary won Bill and the “Stateline” staff and award from the Independent Producers Association and made the cover of TV Week magazine.
Since the first “Perry Production”, Bill and his department have garnered Emmys, Clarions, Auroras, NETAs, and countless other regional and state awards from broadcast, journalism, and other professional organizations.
Bill Perry doesn’t limit himself to his profession. He consistently involves himself in helping in the community in many ways. He and fellow members of the 1997 class of the Oklahoma City Citizens Police Academy adopted the motto “Ready to Help”. He has a special place in his heart for the non-profit Christian Retirement Community and has volunteered countless hours helping raise funds and helping with promotional materials.
Bill has mentored and aided the careers of scores of people with whom he has worked. Additionally, for the past decade, he has involved himself, recruited, produced and even swept stages and schlepped props for the annual Oklahoma City Gridiron Club political parody show, in the effort to raise money for Oklahoma Journalism student scholarships.
And, please know for a fact, that Bill Perry continues a dedication and commitment to bring the best, award-winning documentary productions to viewers in the heart of the Heartland.
— William C. “Bill” Thrash (1939-2013)
“I have worked with Bill Perry for only a short time, but I can tell you he is one of the most talented content producers with whom I’ve ever had the pleasure to work. His instincts are consummate and his attention to detail and nuance are unparalleled. The way in which he guides the creative process is a master class in content production. He knows and loves the television industry and over his decades of service to it, has touched so many lives. Both those whom he has mentored, and the Oklahomans who have learned and benefited from the wonderful content he has stewarded.” — Polly Anderson, OETA Executive Director
Bill Perry is OETA’s Vice President of Content Production. If you are going to the Oklahoma City show, thank Bill Perry, his contributions to Heartland are enormous.