Huntsville, Alabama
WAAY-31-TV & Radio Alumni Page
From 1963 to sold 1999 (and updates since)

© 1996 For Internet Web Page

Written by M.D. Smith, IV

Photos of Alumni '08 Picnic and more - See BOTTOM of page

History of Smith Broadcasting from 1928 to present (including other businesses like HiWAAY Internet Services) can be found here. Now added 2004, PAMS WAAY Radio jingle packages in .mp3 format to listen or download. Goto 1969 section.

We look back 40 years ago to 1963 when the Smith family bought WAFG-TV and it became WAAY-TV. This page is for all the people who worked at Channel 31 over the years and for many who are still there after Smith Broadcasting sold the station in 1999. Stories continue since and have been added as they come in.

Memories, M.D. Smith, Sr., The Great Grandpappy of Jr., III, IV, V and VI.

Here: PHOTOS & stuff (photos, artwork, people, music) will be found on this page.

Memories from the past

Deceased 31 Alumni List Partial List of our Alumni who have past away.

January 1986 Space Shuttle Disaster Tribute. Read about it and then, download the video if you want to see and hear what we produced. It still brings tears to my eyes when I watch it. Cliff Windham edited the video into the audio piece with John Denver's song, President Ronald Reagan's eulogy clips and scenes from NASA, ABC & 31 files. Reagan's full speech is included on this page.
Dan Akens The early Radio Days WJIG, WAAY, WNUE, MDS III Production Studio
Johnny Evans (deceased) Ball Point Pens - Also story of TEX and photo.
Don Roden, A New Employee in 1968 - First impressions:January 3, 1968, snowing.
Rick Daivs - 1980 Winter Olympics Hockey
Linda Allen - "December 7th, a day that will live in Infantry."
Bettie Higgins - "#1 Cactus' new itchy-bitchy! and #2, '84 Winter Olympics
Val Ginter - "Terrell Whitaker (Tiger Terrell) & Sonny Limbaugh stories." + NYC Blackout 8-14-03
Jim Travis - 1970 Photos and more recent shots. Coffee Break TV Guide ad,too. (Updated memories on 6-22-03)
Hank Price - Story about Bobby Gleason & photo of Dialing for Dollars.
Ed Sisson - Comments about Johnny Evans & 31 Newsroom in early 70's. (new updates)
Allen Dunkin - 1980-1984 Photos (16 .jpgs) and stories.(updates - 8-18-03))
Bill Powers - 1974 Super Tornado Outbreak
Mike Sheffer - ~30 Photos from 1989 Live Eye remote at S&RC on 20th Anniversary of Moon Walk
Ski Bankowski - Nightmares and other stuff (''70-''72) [update after reunion]
Dan Akens - (7 1/2 years at Radio & TV) Stories: WAAY of the World, Tiger and the Go-cart, Atlanta on Fire, Christmas parade
Lew Koch - Variety of Stories from our Operations/Production Manager 1979-1999
Yolanda "Yodie" Lockhart - Two short stories
Dave Hargrove - Remembering "The Grape"
Cactus - Remembering 1959 through 1999 "40 years at 31"
Ben Boles - Election coverage 1994 + Gary Dobbs blooper
SANTA 1974 - Hank Price as Santa, told by Bill Powers + MD's History of the "Chair".
Erin Dacy Boles - Erin's Cat Story
Debi Benson Bradford - Debi's Christmas Parade Memory & (Update: Programming stories.)
Shawn Jarrett - Studio stories & practical jokes
Jan Miller - Operations/Media coordinator's story 1979-1986
Carl Spurlock (deceased) Santa Chair AND Santa story.
Tracy Slayton (1990-Present) "Strange Smell in front office"
Bill McClendon A "Mr. Smith, III" item"
M.D. Smith, IV Yep, these are my memories to add.
Rob Weske A New York Yankee in Waay TV's Court.
Kim Albright Remembering Dick Van Valkenburg & 13 years at 31. [update: photos of a W2E show at Moultrie-Nissan & microwave on billboard]
Dan Jamison (deceased) This is a bio Dan wrote in 1973 for the promotion department.
Cliff Hill Obtaining the job at WAAY-TV --- memories
Tony Beason A "Dick Van Valkenburg memory"
MDS, IV - 1988 A Birthday in the Studio to Remember with special visit from the French Maid. (also story of "Happy Birthday, Mr. President)
Tim Hall A 1992 Panoply Story
Ken Rainey A Deliverance Trip with Cactus
The April 3, 1974 Tornadoes Collection of works and photos.
Sam Depino Sam's reflections of 70's. [updates 7-7-03 & 8-18-03]
Bill Hubscher note from Bill - photo of new wife
Dean Abla (deceased) Dean's first Christmas and story about MDS IV
Article about Linda Spalla & M.D. Smith, IV

James Hessler 1994 series of E-Mail pranks
Kirk Chaisson Investigative Reporter 1989-1994
Lisa Waugh Story of WAAY2Late and happenings in California
Don Phelps Mental patient breaks into studio to be on the news live
Mary Beaton Morgan Mary hosted the morning (or noon) show for 10 years with 10 co-hosts.
Al Whitaker - bunch 'o memories, humor & Pierre Kimsey story.
Jeff Rosado (deceased) - story of the "Oh Sh#t" live shot of Susan Holley
Evelyn Starnes (Pelfrey) - 1977 Promotion manager of big ABC changeover.
Allan Hoffman - News Director - 70's
Greg Carroll - Promotion Manager - A Christmastime Story
Gus Hergert - Sports Director - Big Events and Good People
Toni Harper - Selected memories 1992-2002
Don Roden - Technical issues of April 3, 1974 Tornado night. Also, Don's first meeting of "Cactus"
Scott McCauley Favorite Quotes from My Generation:
Linda Pope Going to Graceland in Memphis - Live
Kip Cole WAAY-2-Late Crew and stories
Mike Sheffer Engineering and Impossible Live Shots
Oralie Tyson 1989 Airport Road Tornado
Bill Heslip Mr. & Mrs. Smith, III stories
Redge Swing From a Sales Point of View - October 1968 to October 1999 (31years)
Terry Heaton The Smoking Room observations
Rick Mecklenburg Worked under Gary Dobbs & Bob Baron, 1993-1996
The Klystrons and Cactus A GREAT story of one of the ways Cactus saved Ch. 31 many thousands over the years.
Joe Lowe Engineering: THE BIRTH OF HIWAAY
Story of 31 Target ID First in B&W then a contest to colorize it
Adrian Gibson (deceased) How he went from Radio to TV and Mr. Smith, III
1992 Business Alabama
Article about M.D. Smith, IV & News

Helen Howard Carroll (deceased) Surprise party, Dick Van Valkenburg and photos of early 80's
Lu Ann Cahn 1980 story & memories
Sam Arnold 1959 B.C. (before Cactus) stories. [update after reunion]
Mike Sheffer's Photos page Listed as a directory, click on the one you want to see.
Sam Arnold's photos 1960 ID, News, Studio, Control & Romper Room
Brenda Wood Anchor in 70's, now at WXIA in Atlanta
The 1981 On-Air Team And comments from MDS IV about winning.
Dennis Packard Engineering and Bob Sullivan recollections
Ed Hedden Artist, but Batman in this photo. Story & pic of Tiger Terrell
Lee Baker Artist and shown in costume with Carl Spurlock
MDS Newspaper story of March 1982 (large graphics)
Liz Webb And Employee of the Month winner - March 1984
Cliff Windham News Director & Xmas Parade float decorator
Steve R. News Director 1978 - story
MDS IV Talent, Director, Pilot and other 60's photos.
John Malone TV & WAAY Radio team & TV Weather
John Keel Production in 1978-1985 (photos of John & also Bride, Julie)
Lisa Greer (Ceci) WAAY To Cook "Finger" Food
Mike Sullivan News Dir. '80-'84 - Great stories and memories of events
Pat Shadrick 18 years at 31 - - Starting when Ch. 48 burned to the ground.
Tim Clemons Producer-Director 1982-1998 - Great series of stories
Mark McGee News manager from 1984-1996 - "hello" from Mark
1996 31 Wind Chill Chart From early web site.
Mitch Montgomery Engineer in late 60's - early 70's
Gary Dobbs Great weather stories & photos. "Gary Said It Would Be Like This!"
Bruce Hutson Elvis, Dick V V, Live Ammo?, SCI Tanic, great stories '80-'83
Jeff Raker (deceased) Was News Director KRCG-TV, CBS in Jefferson City, MO
Kelly Cooper Anchor/Reporter - Mike Sullivan and other news folks remembered '80-'82

All below is AFTER the 31 Alumni Reunion Party, August 23, 2003 at Ditto Landing

All the photos

Over 300 photos, large and small. This is a directory with the names of the photos as a filename. Look at the sizes of the various photos. You will notice that the photos with the "-sm" which means small, are quite small viewing photo sizes. The originals with the same name are usually between .5 and 1.5 megabytes big. Download the LARGE one if you want a really nice 8x10 print of it. They are very high resolution. But if you just want to browse the photos and see everybody and everything, only click on the "-sm" photos since they are small and quickly downloaded.

Introductory Speech by M.D. Smith before everyone spoke on the platform.
---> Terry Heaton's 31 Reunion Party webpage (currently not working) Great photos & you can enlarge each one.
Lou Ikard Comments about the 31 Reunion Party
The 31 Reunion Logo Items - Yes, you can order them if you wish.
Pete Farrell - Then & now photos + comments about party and Smith family.
Dennis Packard's Photos - 17 photos of the reunion
31 Alumni List & emails - Everyone on the list in Aug. '03
Dave Stanley - Comments on trip and 31 Reunion event.
Gary Dobbs Wins Best Story Contest - Read the story retold
Debi Benson Bradford's Photos - nice shots of the reunion

31's 1,000 Foot Tower Falls 9-4-03 - Story & photos

From the TOP of 31's tower Photos - John Hain snapped these.
Donated fallen tower photos - Parking lot and cars included.
Variety of E-Mail about 1,000 foot tower - Construction and/or falling

Don Derrick sent photos - around station & Doppler Max install.
Dave Stanley's April Fools Joke - including anchor team
July 2003 News Ratings & Shares - 5, 6 and 10 newscasts of 3 stations
Lea Church - Prod. Coordinator. - A Lew Koch story.
Gary Dobbs Maps Story - On Horses and Cows at Rodeo.
Adrian Gibson Retires - December 2004 - Co-Workers stories, photos and good memories of 36 years with Smith Broadcasting/WAAY-TV. (Sorry to have to report that on Sunday, November 23, 2014 Adrian died from long term breathing related illness.)

10 Questions for M.D. Smith, IV - Terry Heaton's on-line interview with MDS IV on February 25, 2005. Terry said in his intro: "The bottom line TV people of today don't have a clue about any of that, of course. And I suppose they'd call a guy like M.D. "foolish" or "eccentric." But M.D. Smith IV grew up in broadcasting and understood it like few others. It was his life."

Hal Comello and WAAY Radio of 1961 - Photo of him then and now (2004) and some interesting observations.

AFTER the second 31 Alumni Reunion Party, April 26, 2008 at Gray's Farm by Madison County Lake

Group Photo of all attending (click for full size)

All the 2008 photos

Over 100 photos, large and small. This is a directory with the names of the photos as a filename. Look at the sizes of the various photos. Download the LARGE one if you want a really nice 8x10 print of it. They are very high resolution. But if you just want to browse the photos and see everybody and everything, only click on the "-sm" photos since they are small and quickly downloaded. There are several good photos of Jeff Rosado who died on 6-8-11.

Here: Music (jingles, promos, music ) will be found on this page. This is the great series from 1977 "Still The One" when we switched to ABC-TV, and the popular series of "31 News Everywhere" campaign (1974). Others featured are the "Look For Us" jingles and many WAAY-Radio promos and jingles, along with Channel 31 Jingles (yes, we played them on the air in the 60's and early 70's)

© 12-13-18
© 1942, © 2004, © 2018 Smith Broadcasting, Inc. and M.D. Smith, IV