Listen to a personal recorded message from Jon Rivers…
Thirty-five years ago, Jon Rivers was on his way into work where he hosted the morning show on KLTY-FM in Dallas/Fort Worth. It was around 2:30 in the morning while driving in where Jon clearly heard Jesus speak to him to start a weekly countdown show called, “20 The Countdown Magazine.”
There was already a big show called, “American Top 40” hosted by Casey Kasem that was counting down mainstream songs but nothing for Christian music at the time. Jon felt like Christian music is as good as anything and there are always at least 20 great Christian songs you can count down. And so…20 the Countdown Magazine began!
Jon did most of the writing and production himself at first…chasing after the FedEx truck late at night to make sure cassette tapes of the show made it out to radio stations all over the world in time! Technology has surely changed since then, but the heart behind the show has not.
Fast forward to 1998, Jon was at work at the radio station where he saw a young man working in the production studio. Jon asked the Production Director, Bonnie, “Who is that young man?” Bonnie replied, “Oh, that’s Young William Ryan III.”
Jon asked Bonnie to have William come to see him that week so he could get to know him. Jon recalls, “I could tell by the way he looked at things and solved problems, he could fix anything or figure it out!” It didn’t take long before Jon asked William to produce his morning show and that was the start of their lifelong friendship.
Jon and William have stayed close friends since those early days of meeting and have been through so many special milestones together like when William met his wife, Christy, in Nashville, Tennessee during a Christian Radio convention leading up to the Dove Awards.
After William’s time in radio, he started a wedding production company but would fill in for Jon on 20 the Countdown Magazine from time to time. William has always had a passion for Christian music and loves to keep up with what’s happening in the industry, so when Jon offered him the opportunity to take over as host of the show, he was beyond excited and honored!
William says, “I’m so grateful for Jon and this opportunity to take on something God gave him 35 years ago. It’s an honor that he would trust me to carry it on so I can’t wait to see what God does in this next chapter of the countdown!”
William was born and raised in Texas. He grew up in Arlington (home of the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Rangers). He now lives in Roanoke, TX with his wife Christy and their teenage boy/girl twins, Morgan and Bailey. He and his family love serving in their community and their church home, Milestone Church in Keller. William says Roanoke is the “Unique Dining Capital of Texas” so if you ever need a recommendation on a great restaurant to try while traveling through, reach out and he can help!
Check out some of these old photos we found of Jon Rivers and William Ryan as well as a few of their kids!