Published Apr 13, 2015The founder of a musical institution has passed away, as Austin City Limits creator Bill Arhos died on Saturday (April 11) at the age of 80.
Arhos started working in public television in 1961. He hatched the idea for Austin City Limits in 1974 and organized a pilot featuring Willie Nelson in October of that year. It got the green light and has since gone on to become the longest-running music program in U.S. history. It's put on by PBS affiliate KLRU.
Arhos was the show's executive producer from 1975 to 1999 and its president and general manager from 1986 to 1999. Additionally, he was on the boards of PBS and the Country Music Association. He retired in '99.
"I've never met anyone like Bill Arhos," ACL executive producer Terry Lickona said in a statement. "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. 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."
Austin City Limits celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. Also in 2014, Arhos was an inaugural inductee into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame. Watch a clip about Arhos and his role in ACL below.
The show has inspired a music festival, similarly called Austin City Limits Music Festival.