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William R. Phalen


1943 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
William R. Phalen Obituary
Phalen, William R.
William "Bill" Phalen, son of Richard and Lucille Phalen, was born in Chicago on March 8, 1943, and died May 19, 2016, at the age of 73. An astute businessman and long-time marketing and media mogul, Phalen had a major impact in both the radio and publishing arenas. At the time of his death, and since 1998, he was owner and CEO of Cities West Publishing, the parent company of Phoenix Home & Garden magazine and PHOENIX magazine. Prior to getting into the publishing business, Phalen had a storied career in radio, founding or co-founding three broadcasting companies that acquired 24 radio stations across the country between 1970 and 1996. These included KRQ-FM in Tucson and KZZP-FM in Phoenix, which were owned by Western Cities Broadcasting, an eight-station group. After selling that company in 1985, he created New West Radio with the acquisition of two radio properties in Wichita, Kansas. In 1993, he merged that company into Prism Radio Partners and within 18 months, he acquired 16 under-performing radio stations in five markets. He sold Prism in 1996, and went on to pursue his interest in publishing. He earned a M.A. degree in Organizational Behavior from Vermont College and a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Southern Mississippi. Among honors, he was a past president of the Tucson Broadcasters Association, served on the advisory board of the ABC Radio Network and was a past member of the Walter Cronkite Endowment Board of Trustees at Arizona State University. In 2013, he was inducted into the Arizona Broadcasters Hall of Fame and, in 2008, into the Mass Communication and Journalism Hall of Fame at the University of Southern Mississippi. Phalen was one of the first broadcasters in the nation to implement a meaningful EEO program for his radio stations before federal hiring quotas. He personally facilitated minority training through intern programs among his various companies. A voracious reader, especially of history, he was well-traveled, a gracious host and proud of his Irish heritage. He recently produced a book tracing the exodus of his ancestors from 18th Century Ireland to North America. Additionally, in his spare time, he enjoyed tennis, hiking, skiing, bicycling, and golf. Phalen leaves behind his devoted wife, Maibritt Phalen, nieces Shawn Phalen and Kathleen Phalen, and a wide circle of friends and business associates who will miss him beyond measure. A Private Memorial Service will be held. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Paget's Disease/ , 5009 E. Washington St., Suite 125, Phoenix, AZ 85034; or Patrick Kelley Youth Foundation, 355 Convention Center Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89109-2067.
Published in The Arizona Republic on May 29, 2016
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