Mountain Brook home.
Strangers often stop to say hi to Bill Bolen
is out shopping.
â€œIâ€™m always happy to talk with folks,â€� said the former newscaster. â€œI appreciate the fact that they watched me all those years.â€�
spent nearly 50 years delivering the morning news until his
retirement in 2011.
Now the Mountain Brook resident said he
misses the news business but is happy to get to sleep a little later in the morning.
A member and deacon at Brookwood Baptist Church, Bolen
is quick to cite the leadership of God in his
grew up in Selma and said he
professed faith in Christ on Easter Sunday in 1940.
His best friend in high school became a pastor, but Bolen never sensed that God wanted him to be a preacher, too.Â
While working at the local Sears and Roebuck as a teenager, Bolen became fascinated with the radio repair shop.
After hearing him use one of the early wire recorders in the shop, a coworker asked if Bolen
had ever considered a radio career.
applied to Selma radio station WHBB and worked there until he
enrolled in the School of Radio Arts at The University of Alabama
After graduation, he served two years in the U.S. Air Force in Yuma, Ariz., writing press releases and meeting with the media for the Department of Information Services.Â
While in the Air Force, he
married Vivian Killebrew of Anniston, whom he
had met at The University of Alabama
Together they raised a son and three daughters, who all graduated from Mountain Brook High School
Following his enlistment, Bolen returned to Alabama, working at radio station WSGN.
When Birmingham added a third television station in 1965, he started at WBMG TV as news director and chief anchor.Â
The cityâ€™s First Baptist Church, where he
held membership, purchased airtime and asked Bolen
to host â€œReligion in the Newsâ€� each week.
moved to WBRC TV two years later, where he
hosted a weekly 30-minute religious newscast, and later hosted a monthly religious discussion program.
produced and hosted these programs for 22 years.Â