Since the 1940’s and the advent of broadcasting in York and Lancaster counties, WRHI has chartered an unprecedented record of consecutive seasons of live sports broadcasting. Over a span of seven decades, our family of stations have pioneered several sports innovations including the first live broadcast coverage for all of the area’s high schools and colleges, live pre-game and post-game coverage with statewide scores and interviews, and South Carolina’s first live worldwide play-by-play game coverage via the Internet.
During the past two decades six different OTS announcers have been honored by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, some multiple times, as either runner-up or state “Sportscaster of the Year.” This honored group includes Bill Rice, John Collins, Greg Bunce, Steven Stone, Mario Washington, and most recently in 2010 and 2011, Chris Miller. Last season in response to the rich sports heritage of our associated stations, OTS Broadcasting began honoring the legacy of announcers that have entertained millions of listeners with induction into the OTS Sports Wall of Fame. (Click here to view 2010 honorees.)
The management of Our Three Sons Broadcasting selects each year’s slate of nominees. A secret vote from the station’s 22-member sports staff plus previous living inductees determine the top honorees for induction. This season’s inductees, Dennis Partlow and Bill Rice, will be honored throughout the 2011 season including a special live segment during “High School Football Tonight” and a tribute on the field at the Rock Hill/Northwestern game on November 4th. Previous O-T-S Wall of Fame inductees include Jim Estes, Charles Kuralt, Connie Morton, Steven Stone, and Greg Bunce.
While growing up in Rock Hill, Dennis Partlow was influenced by WRHI sports legend Connie Morton. Little did Partlow know as Morton described his play as quarterback for Rock Hill High, that one day he would be Connie’s heir behind the WRHI microphone. After graduating from Erskine College in 1968, where he played baseball and basketball, Partlow began coaching multiple sports at Rock Hill High. When Morton made his decision to retire after the 1971 season, WRHI co-owner Harper Gault convinced Dennis that he was the man to do live play-by-play for both Rock Hill and Northwestern, the city’s brand new high school. Soon, he added play-by-play for both baseball and basketball, a job he continued to master for nearly a decade. Throughout the 1970s, Partlow combined his broadcast skills and affable personality to host a popular live coaches show on WRHI called the “The Huddle.” The weekly nighttime show with a live audience originated from local restaurants during football and basketball seasons.
In 1977, when Winthrop College fielded their first boys basketball team, Partlow was tabbed to head the WRHI on-air team that broadcast Winthrop’s inaugural games. He continued in that capacity through the 1981 season. After his time with WRHI, he did on-air work for cable television. Outside of broadcasting, Dennis was a local high school and youth coach for two decades and led his youth teams to four state championships in football. Dennis even invented a machine that screen prints numbers on athletic jerseys that is still used today. One of his most enduring achievements is his many years directing and volunteering with the York County Sports Hall of Fame. He has been involved with the HOF since its’ inception in 1998 and became an official member of the Hall in 2006. Dennis is semi-retired from the restaurant/catering business and lives with his wife Susan in Rock Hill.
Dennis Partlow is remembered as an outstanding broadcaster, coach, innovator and public servant within the York County community. Our Three Sons Broadcasting is proud to welcome Dennis as a 2011 inductee into the O-T-S Sports Wall of Fame.
In 1993, Bill Rice’s memorable play-by-play call of the Northwestern Trojans 2-0 state championship victory over Gaffney catapulted him to statewide broadcasting folklore. The veteran broadcaster was officially recognized the same year when he became the first of a long line of WRHI and Interstate 107 announcers to be honored as South Carolina Sportscaster of the Year. The late Bob Fulton, the voice of the Gamecocks and an eight time winner of the award, praised Rice by saying “I can tell you this is a very difficult award to win. Fans in Rock Hill should feel privileged to hear Bill Rice…I’ve heard him and he’s very, very good.” Bill’s love of football and his sterling description of the game set a standard that has inspired five additional O-T-S sports announcers to win the award over the past two decades.
Rice’s keen story-telling skills spawned a local version of “All My Rowdy Friends” in 1990 when he adapted the Hank Williams Jr. classic to local high school football. The tribute was named South Carolina’s Radio Promotional Ad of the Year in 1990. Bill did play-by-play for both Rock Hill High and Northwestern from 1987 to 1994, but was best known for his legendary calls of the Trojan’s State championships in 1989 and 1993.
Bill also enjoyed success doing play-by-play coverage of high school basketball for many years. When the position of calling Winthrop basketball became available, Bill was selected and did play-by-play for the Eagles from 1990-94 including their historic first ever Big South championship season. In addition to sports, Bill served as OTS Operations Manager and was the host of WRHI’s morning show from 1987-1994. One of Bill’s most memorable broadcasting experiences was anchoring WRHI’s continuous 13-day on-air coverage of Hurricane Hugo and its’ aftermath in 1989. Rice now resides in his hometown of Findlay, Ohio where he serves as Program Director of WFIN.
Bill Rice is remembered for both his award-winning on-air accomplishments and the important information and memorable entertainment he brought to the airwaves of WRHI and Interstate 107. Our Three Sons Broadcasting is proud to welcome Bill as a 2011 inductee into the OTS Sports Wall of Fame.