By Kent Larsen
Pioneering Radio Executive Jay William 'Bill' Wright Dies
WOODINVILLE, WASHINGTON -- Jay William "Bill" Wright, a former radio
executive and broadcast engineer died May 22nd in Woodinville,
Washington. Wright was one of the early radio operators and engineers
for KSL radio, who went on to help develop technologies for detecting
submarines and jamming rocket guidance systems during World War II
before he rose to become Chairman of then-KSL parent Radio Service
Corporation of Utah. He was also chief engineer of both CBS and
Seattle's King Broadcasting Company. He was 91.
Wright was born November 8, 1909 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the second
child of James Wardrop Wright and Sarah Lucy Charlotte. In the late
1920s and early 1930s, Wright supported himself and his family by
working for the nascent KSL radio as an operator and engineer. During
that time, he finished bachelor and master-level degrees in Physics
at the University of Utah, joining a consulting engineering firm in
Washington DC after graduating in 1936.
With the outbreak of World War II, Wright joined the Airborne
Instruments Laborator at Columbia University in New York City, where
he worked on the development of the sonar buoy and magnetic anomaly
instrumentation for the detection of submarines and helped construct
a high power radio jammer in the United Kingdom intended to disable
the guidance system of the V2 rocket. After the war, he remained in
New York for several years, working as Chief Radio Engineer for CBS
radio, and helped the company construct television antennae on the
Chrysler Building and Empire State Building.
In 1954 Radio Service Corporation of Utah, a forerunner to LDS
Church-owned Bonneville International, hired him again as vice
president, and in 1959 he became president of the company and
chairman of its board of directors. But just two years later he
stepped down to take the director of engineering role at
privately-owned King Broadcasting Company in Seattle, which owned
television and radio stations in Seattle, Spokane and Portland. A
vice president and member of the company's board of directors, Wright
oversaw the company's entrance into the video cable business and
developed its mobile broadcast units.
Wright was also active in Church service and volunteered his time at
Seattle's Neighborhood House, a charity serving the urban poor. He
served on the charity's board starting in 1966, and was its president
from 1970 to 1972.
Wright married Emily Fox Clawson in Salt Lake City in 1932. They
raised six children.
Jay William Wright
Salt Lake Tribune 24May01 B2
Former radio executive Jay W. Wright dies
Seattle WA Post-Intelligencer (AP) 24May01 B2
Ex-radio executive Jay W. Wright dies
Deseret News 23May01 B2