Bill Thrash, station manager and program director of OETA, the Oklahoma Network, stands by the plaque marking the entrance to the William C. Thrash Television Studio in the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center at East Central University. A dedication ceremony for the studio will be held at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, July 22, and the public is invited. Thrash, an Ada native and ECU graduate, and his wife Billie donated $50,000 to help complete and furnish the studio.

East Central University

An award-winning Oklahoma City television producer and station manager will be honored at the dedication of the new state-of-the-art television studio named in his honor at East Central University in Ada.

The William C. Thrash Television Studio will be dedicated at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, July 22, in the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center. It is the first true high-definition TV studio in this part of Oklahoma.

Thrash, station manager and program director of OETA, the Oklahoma Network, and his wife Billie will be honored for donating $50,000 to the ECU Foundation Inc. over several years.

Their gift helped build and furnish the all-digital TV studio.

The dedication and a reception are open to the public. Several OETA officials and staff members plan to attend.

The ceremony will include a short DVD presentation about Thrash’s career which was made for his induction on July 18 into the Gold Circle of the Heartland Chapter of the National Academy of Televisions Arts and Sciences. To be eligible for the Gold Circle Emmy Award, a recipient must have been in broadcasting for 50 years and made a significant contribution to the industry.

Thrash previously was inducted into the Heartland Silver Circle for at least 25 years in broadcasting.

He began working at KTEN’s television studio in Ada in 1955, learning the live TV production business from the ground up when he was still a student at Ada High School.

He graduated from ECU in 1961 and went to KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City in 1962.

Thrash moved to WKY-TV (now KFOR) in 1971 and produced numerous local programs. He also supervised “Danny’s Day” with Danny Williams and Mary Hart.

He directed a nationally televised series of patriotic Fourth of July “Stars and Stripes” shows in Oklahoma City with such entertainers as Bob Hope, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Kate Smith and others.

He became program manager and station manager of WKY TV (Channel 4) before joining OETA in 1988.

At OETA he produced the award-winning historical series “Oklahoma Passage,” the most popular nationally broadcast series in the history of public television. Another highlight included coverage of the state’s Centennial in 2007.

As program manager and station manager, Thrash is involved with a number of highly rated OETA-produced shows and has won several Emmy Awards.

He directed wraparound segments of “The Lawrence Welk Show” and produced and directed many Lawrence Welk specials for PBS that have raised more than $50 million for public television stations.

Thrash received the Bill Crawford Memorial Media Award from Gov. Brad Henry at the 31st Annual Governor’s Arts Awards in 2006.

The award recognizes an individual in the print and/or electronic media who demonstrates commitment to the arts in Oklahoma. He also is a member of the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

For more information, phone Phyllis Kunze, executive director of the ECU Foundation, at 580-559-5514.

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