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August 1

Country Songwriter and Radio Legend, Bill Mack, Dies of COVID-19 at 88

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Bill Mack, a country music songwriter, and longtime country music disc jockey died Friday at age 88.

Mack, who was dubbed the “Dean of Country Music Disc Jockeys,” died of COVID-19 complications but had “underlying health conditions.” His son Billy Mack Smith announced the sad news on Twitter:

“I’m deeply saddened to tell you that my Dad passed away early this morning due to COVID-19 with underlying conditions,” wrote Smith, a program director, and on-air personality at 93.1 KSTV in Stephenville, Texas. “He was an amazing father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and husband to my mom. I’m blessed to have had not only a great dad but my best friend as well.”

Bill Mack was a staple on country radio starting in the 1960s. He was best known for hosting the overnight “Country Roads Show” on WBAP, an AM radio station based in Fort Worth. The WBAP clear channel signal reached late-night listeners in Texas and beyond. It catered truckers logging long miles between dusk and dawn.

But his career actually started from hosting “Road Show” in 1969, which later became known as “Midnight Cowboy Trucking Show” that kept truckers entertained for decades and earned him a place in the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame.

The Texas Heritage Songwriters Association expressed their appreciation of Mack, saying how he kept “the world company with his music and chit-chat.”

“Nobody in broadcasting has a more recognizable voice than Bill Mack,” they added.

Mack’s lengthy broadcasting career also included time on XM Satellite Radio and as a host of the syndicated program “Country Crossroads.” He’d often crack the mic with some of country music’s legendary figures, such as Roy Clark, Conway Twitty, and Waylon Jennings.

As a songwriter, Mack notably penned “Blue,” which LeAnn Rimes made famous as a chart-topping hit in 1996. The song won Mack a Grammy Award for Best Country Song and Rimes a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. It also took home Single of the Year nomination at the CMAs and earned a Song of the Year and Single of the Year at the ACM Awards.

LeAnn Rimes took to social media to share her thoughts on Mack’s death, saying, “I am forever grateful for him and the music he created. We’ll be ‘Blue’ without you Bill.”

The Texas native also wrote “Drinking Champagne,” a song best known as a top-five country radio hit for George Strait in 1990 and was later covered by Willie Nelson in 2010.

Bill Mack is survived by his wife Cynthia, son Billy, two daughters Misty Dawn and Sunday Renee, and several grandchildren. Mack is also a father to daughter, Debbie, from a previous marriage.


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