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Ballance was born in Peoria, Illinois, and studied journalism at the University of Illinois before serving in the United States Marines. He had radio station stints in Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and San Diego. Ballance was the evening personality late 1950s-early 60s on #1 rated KFWB. In Los Angeles, on KGBS, Ballance became well known as the host of the Feminine Forum radio show, which he managed beginning in 1971. He is known as the forerunner to "shock jocks" Tom Leykis and Howard Stern, having been accused of exploiting women's rights activists who called in to his show.
The Feminine Forum was dropped in 1973, and he began the Bill Ballance Show. He left Los Angeles in 1978 and went to radio station KFMB in San Diego, where he remained for fifteen years. While his early years in San Diego were successful from a ratings standpoint, his core audience was much smaller than what he had in Los Angeles. Ballance continued his practice of mixing open-topic callers with various in-studio guests (psychologists, counselors, physicians, etc.), as well as his own hand-written monologues. By the late 1980s, however, his popularity began to wane. As other talk show hosts copied and changed the "shock jock" format, and as the format itself began to evolve into racier topics and discussions, the "Bill Ballance Show" began to seem tame by comparison. He retired from radio in 1993, after more than 50 years in the industry.
Ballance caused another stir in 1998, when a judge ruled that nude images of Dr. Laura Schlessinger could continue to be posted on a website. Ballance had sold the pictures to Internet Entertainment Group for $50,000.00 because he had been snubbed by Schlessinger at a Beverly Hills luncheon honoring her. He claimed that they were the product of a 1970s affair between himself and Schlessinger, while Schlessinger was married. Schlessinger admitted the affair but claimed she was legally separated and had filed for divorce from her first husband at the time of their affair. Ballance was 28 years older than Schlessinger.
After undergoing quadruple bypass surgery and suffering a stroke in June 2002, Ballance died on September 23, 2004.
- McLellan, Dennis (September 25, 2004). "Bill Ballance, 85; Legendary Host of Provocative Radio Talk Show". Los Angeles Times., Retrieved 2013-5-30.
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