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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the radio host and hunger activist. For the 1960s political figure, see Bill Ayers.
Occupation Radio host and philanthropist
Years active 1973–present
Bill Ayres is a talk radio host and executive director and co-founder of World Hunger Year.
Ayres became a Catholic priest for the Archdiocese in New York in 1966, but always had a fondness for radio broadcasting, starting as WGSM on Long Island. He began hosting and producing a weekly radio talk show on New York radio station WPLJ 95.5 FM in 1973. At first called On This Rock, it featured interviews with rock musicians, that focused on the spiritual meaning of the music to them, rather than its commercial aspects. Known on-air as Father Bill Ayres, and then titled The Bill Ayres Show, he has taken thousands of calls and offered advice about personal, relational, spiritual and social values, as well as playing music by artists whose outlook he thought along similar lines as his.
He served for ten years at St. Joseph's Church in Babylon, New York until 1979. He resigned from the active priesthood in the early 1980s and focused on charitable work full-time.
In 1975, Ayres and his close friend folksinger and songwriter Harry Chapin saw a pressing need to aid the impoverished with basic needs such as food. They began World Hunger Year (WHY), an organization with a stated mission to defeat hunger through charity, using grassroots efforts and rallying celebrities and leaders to help promote the cause. Ayres has served as Executive Director since 1983. Ayres and Chapin believed that solutions to hunger and poverty are found through long-term solutions, like supporting community-based organizations that empower individuals and build self-reliance.
Ayres has spun off another national hunger coalition, The Medford Group of national hunger organizations. He was a founding member of the National Jobs for All Coalition, a full-employment group, suggested their series, Uncommon Sense, and is on their Advisory Board. He is also a board member of Long Island Cares, Long Island's food bank.
He is the co-author of the book All You Need is Love: And 99 Other Life Lessons From Classic Rock Songs with radio colleague Pete Fornatale.
He resides in Huntington, New York with his wife, Jeannine, and has two daughters, Michelle and Suzanne.