Austin City Limits co-founder Bill Arhos, who was instrumental in the development of the longest-running music program in the nation's history, died over the weekend. He was 80.
While working as a producer at KLRN (now KLRU) in October 1974, Arhos partnered with Paul Bosner and Bruce Scafe to produce the first show in the concert series, which featured Willie Nelson.
“He was a real character, known and loved not just in Austin but throughout the PBS system. The idea for Austin City Limits was not just his alone, but he brought it to life, and he kept the show going and growing through some difficult times,” said Austin City Limits producer Terry Lickona in a written statement. “Whether they know it or not, millions of music fans, artists and PBS viewers owe a debt to him for his enormous contribution to what’s become a cultural institution.”
Below is a video tribute to Arhos from last year’s first ACL Hall of Fame award ceremony. Arhos was inducted along with Willie Nelson, Darrell K. Royal and Stevie Ray Vaughan, calling the prospect “intimidating” and joking that he was the only of the four that didn’t have a bronze statue in town.
Arhos’ family says he’ll be buried in a private ceremony at the Texas State Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, they encourage donations to the Bill Arhos Fund.