Life and education
Gavin was born in Chetek, Wisconsin in 1907. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and the University of California-Berkeley. Before his radio career, he was a teacher, pianist and singer. He briefly traveled with an all-male vocal group called The Blenders. He died of cancer in 1985 at the age of 77.
Gavin founded the Gavin Report in 1958. It was a publication that "monitored air play for Top 40 records, and later expanded to other categories; it [was] used as a programming aid by radio stations and record companies." The publication gathered information from various radio stations and was used to measure song popularity. Gavin was called the "most powerful man in the business." It was also said that "every record company subscribed to and quoted the Gavin Report...Everybody copied him, but he originated the thing."
Gavin is also noted for his progressive stance in regards to race relations. He worked to help African-Americans break into the radio business by playing black artists and hiring black Disc-Jockeys at a time when it was unpopular to do so.
- "The University of Wisconsin Collection: The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire: a history, 1916-1976: Chapter I: "That you, the sons and daughters of the commonowealth, might have better educational service"". Digicoll.library.wisc.edu. Retrieved 2012-02-04.
- "Bill Gavin, the Founder in '58 Of List on Air Play of Records - Obituary". NYTimes.com. 1985-01-30. Retrieved 2012-02-04.
- The Hits Just Keep on Coming: The History of Top 40 Radio - Ben Fong-Torres - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-02-04.
- No Static: A Guide to Creative Radio Programming - Quincy McCoy, Stanley Crouch - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-02-04.