Hearne is always considered a Canadian but, he was born in Clapham, London on 6th
August 1927. When he was three his parents moved to Toronto, Canada.
There he grew up and attended school. Upon graduation at 17 he returned
to London to study commercial art at St. Martin's School of Art. After finishing St.
Martin's he returned home and became a successful illustrator and artist. In 1950 he
graduated Ryerson Institute of Technology, Radio Broadcasting School. During the
following fourteen years Bill worked in broadcasting as director, news reader,
interviewer, commentator and script and commercial writer. In 1964 he once
again left for Europe where he worked for Radio Luxembourg. Bill joined Radio
Caroline North in April 1965.
One contribution Bill made to Caroline North was his many "drop-in voices".They ranged from a "Cockney cleaning lady" to an old west cowhand. On his week off Bill did voice work for the Anderson Puppet Television Productions. He remained on board the North ship until 1966 when he moved on shore and worked in Caroline House in Production.
One of Bill's tasks at Caroline House was "Caroline Cash Casino". Hourly between 9 a.m. and noon weekdays, Bill gave clues to listeners on both Caroline ships. They were in rhyming couplets describing a person or thing. A new line was given each day. Listeners entered the contest with their guesses or "deductions" as to who or what was being described by the couplet. They mailed their answers to Caroline House along with a proof of purchase of one of the contest's sponsors writing that sponsor's name on the outside of the envelope. Hourly three randomly chosen letters from the particular sponsor for that hour were opened. Each letter that contained a wrong answer added £10 to the jackpot which started at £100 for each new contest. The first letter opened containing the correct answer won the jackpot.