Bill Mack: Shamrock's Midnight Cowboy
For six decades, the distinctive voice of Bill Mack has graced the radio airwaves. Blessed with a creativity inherited from his mother, Bill has become a successful country music songwriter and one of the most popular radio disc jockeys in the nation.
Born to devoted parents Ernest and Irene, Billy Mac Smith and his brother Clois were raised in the eastern Panhandle community of Shamrock. After graduating from Shamrock High School, Bill began his broadcasting career in 1950 in his hometown at radio station KEVA. While at station KLYN in Amarillo, at the suggestion of his high school principal Edward Burkhalter, he began using only his first and middle name. From that day forward, he became known as Bill Mack. During this time, Bill began working earnestly to develop his songwriting ability. In 1958, at station KWFT in Wichita Falls, he wrote and made the first recording of the song "Blue” which years later would be recorded by LeAnn Rimes and would win him a Grammy award for Country Song of the Year in 1997. He also wrote many familiar commercial jingles for various products and companies, including
While working as program director at station KCUL in Ft. Worth, Mack became the announcer for the great Bob Wills. Mack had first met Bob while conducting an interview for KEVA in Shamrock years earlier. As Bob's announcer for many radio and television programs, Mack developed a close personal relationship with the "King of Western Swing." In 1966, while still at KCUL, he wrote one of his most successful songs, "Drinking Champagne." His composition would be recorded by many country artists, including his good friend Ray Price, but it was George Strait's recording that would bring Bill a gold and platinum record.
This song also brought Mack the distinction of becoming a member of the BMI Million Air Club, indicating his song had been played over one million times on radio and television.
Beginning on March 2, 1969, Bill hosted the midnight to 5:00 a.m. program at WBAP radio, Ft. Worth. In all, he would spend more than thirty years at WBAP. WBAP was a 50,000- watt Clear Channel broadcast station, and as a result, Bill was heard in many parts of the country. During his first night on the air, a truck driver calling from Minnesota referred to Mack as the "Midnight Cowboy.” For the next forty years,
In addition to his career in radio, Bill has
enjoyed success in television and motion
pictures. For a short time, he was the emcee
of the Buck Owens Ranch television show. He
also hosted the popular Cowtown Jamboree as
well as the award-winning Country Crossroads.
In 1971, Bill played a role in the Universal
Pictures film, Country Music, which starred his
good friend, Marty Robbins. Mack served as a
consultant for the country music in A Perfect
World starring Clint Eastwood and Kevin
Costner. His radio show can be heard in the
background at the beginning of the film. In
2003, Mack did a voice-over for the film My
Architect, which was an Academy Award
nominee for Best Documentary Feature.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in
Location. 35° 13.606′ N, 100° 14.93′ W. Marker is in Shamrock, Texas, in Wheeler County. Marker is at the intersection of North Main Street (U.S. 83) and Highway 40, on the right when traveling north on North Main Street. The marker is behind the Conoco Tower Station. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Shamrock TX 79079, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "Bill Mack's influence on country music is legendary" (here, next to this marker); Tower Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Shamrock Methodist Church (approx. 0.6 miles away); First Baptist Church of Shamrock (approx. 0.6 miles away); The Legend of St. Patrick and the Shamrock (approx. ¾ mile away); Welcome to Blarney Stone Plaza (approx. ¾ mile away); Shamrock’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration (approx. ¾ mile away); Shamrock Water Tower (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Shamrock.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 4, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 3, 2021, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 39 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 3, 2021, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.