When William Van Osdol was in sixth grade, he began listening to radio personalities like Kamasami Kong, Ron Jacobs and Danielle Tucker. It was then that he realized one thing: This was exactly what he wanted to do.
“I wanted to have the fun they were having every day,” he recalls.
And he did. For 31 years, Van Osdol, better known by his moniker Billy V, has entertained listeners with his charismatic personality and equally charming voice, most recently hosting “Na‘au Therapy” in the mornings on Hawaiian 105 KINE.
As of Dec. 1, however, fans have had to look for Van Osdol elsewhere, as the date marked his official departure from the station.
“They were going to move in a slightly different direction and so … they gave me the opportunity to explore other options,” he says.
“The last 18 months with Mele Apana was the best time of the 31 years,” he adds of his “Na‘au Therapy” co-host. (After repeatedly asking for a partner, the company approved the idea, and program director at the time, the late Kimo Akane, approached Van Osdol to ask whom he least wanted to work with. Van Osdol replied with Apana’s name and Akane returned the next day, telling Van Osdol to meet with Apana. Within five minutes, Van Osdol believed the partnership would work.)
Currently, he has no plans to return to radio. It’s been nice, he says, to have more free time to spend with his family. But this doesn’t mean he won’t miss it entirely, as he quickly cites the connection it allowed him to make with people.
“The other thing that I miss is that interaction with our Hawaii recording artists, because if it’s not about the listener, then it’s about our very talented music artists and the music language culture that they project through their recordings.”
He is coy on future projects, but the uncertainty has not made Van Osdol nervous. “(I am) very optimistic,” he says. “There are a lot of things that I’ve had my hands in before that have suddenly opened up, and so we’re going to explore some of those.”
At the moment, this includes a book detailing his 31 years in Hawaii’s entertainment industry. He also hopes to expand his voiceover work, and possibly take on acting and other roles in front of the camera.
He will be no stranger to that, since Van Osdol has appeared on Hawaii News Now’s Sunrise since its inception. It originally began as a once-weekly piece on entertainment news and quickly turned into a daily gig that evolved to include multiple segments.
For the past 15 years, Van Osdol, who also appeared on MidWeek‘s June 20, 2012, cover, also has been game-day activities coordinator with University of Hawaii Athletics. This is among many other activities in which he regularly participates — no doubt you’ve seen him emceeing any number of special events.
“I am not sure what the future will bring,” he admits, “but I am hoping I get to still maintain those relationships with a lot of entities I’ve been fortunate to be a part of.”
While he no longer will be supporting Hawaiian music on radio airwaves, Van Osdol remains deeply devoted to it.
“Even though I am stepping into new avenues, I think the No. 1 thing that I would like people to know is that Hawaiian music — Hawaiian music artists — need the public’s support more than ever,” he says.