Adrian Gibson Retires
December 2004

From: Don Roden

I started working at Ch31 on Jan 3, 1968 and Adrian started at WAAY-Radio several weeks later. One of my first jobs was to install a GE Porta-Mobile two-way radio in Adrian's car so that he could do traffic reports for the Radio station.

Back in those days, there was a garage door that opened up into the studio about where the newsroom stairs are now. It was late January or early Febuary, and snowing big-time, so we pulled Adrian's car into the studio where I could install the two way radio.

I asked Cactus why we were installing a two-way in Adrian's personal car instead of just giving Adrian one of the WAAY-Radio "NEWS-PUPS" that already had a radio in it.

His reply : " We don't want to invest too much in this guy...Mr Smith doesn't think he will last here very long !! "

Ask if anyone remembers Adrian "undercover" at the Madison County Fair. (under the covers in . . . .eh, well, but that closing to the story never made on the air on TV).

Don Roden - - Engineer


1975 Billboard. Yellow on Black really stood out. Did same for all anchor people on air.


From: Ed & Camille Hedden

Yes, I remember well the day that Adrian Gibson first came to the TV studios. His first comment was that he was purely a radio person and would not be there long. Nervous doesn't begin to describe how he felt that first day. Adrian was virtually ill at the thought of appearing on camera. "I'll break the camera with my looks" he stated. "Hopefully the Smith's won't fire me but just send me back to the radio station, I don't know why they sent me up here anyway." Well here we are after 36 years and what a great story to tell about a superb career. It's been a great delight over the years to have at least one contact and good friend to see on the few occasions to revisit WAAY-TV. Adrian's retirement will be like loosing the cornerstone of the building. Give Adrian my best wishes for a well-deserved break from the rigors of TV. Knowing Adrian there will be no slowing down just a change in priorities.

Dr. Ed Hedden


From: "Dacy, Erin"

Dear MD:

Here are my thoughts on Adrian:

He is such a one-of-a-kind guy. I'll never forget how he took me under his wing on the morning news when I came on board to anchor. He made me feel welcome, but more than that he made me feel loved. He's always referred to me as one of his 'children'.

My stint on the morning news with Adrian and David Lamb was so rewarding that I was reluctant to move to the nightside newscasts. I loved coming to work to see my friends and didn't feel like it was a job. The whole production and news crew got along great, we had lots of after-show parties and we were like a big family. I remember Adrian taking me up to the station many times in the ice and snow so I didn't have to drive up there by myself. He had that trusty white truck that could blaze through any kind of weather. I remember how happy Adrian was for me when I got engaged and we announced it on the air.

I remember him guiding me through severe weather, giving me directions to places and insight and background for my reporting. There was never a question I could ask that Adrian wouldn't know the answer to. I admire Adrian's on-air comfort with the camera, and his "no-nonsense" attitude on and off camera. Many people have said with Adrian "what you see is what you get." I absolutely agree. I've learned immensely from him in my career AND family life, and I will continue to do so.


From: "Bill Evans"

There are a lot of stories about Adrian that I remember... and at least a few that can be repeated! Here's one I've enjoyed telling over the years...

Back in the 70's, there was a News Brief that aired every afternoon in the 2:58 break. It was done live, and usually involved an anchor sitting on the set reading copy. I was the director on duty, and had paged "talent to the set" about 5 minutes out. No one showed up. I paged again at 3 minutes, and once again with about 30 seconds remaining before air.

Adrian came fogging through the door (remember the one in the blue wall?) with maybe 10 seconds to go. As he ran to the news set on the far end of the studio, he decided to go OVER the desk, rather than around it. Unfortunately, the anchor chair was tangled in the mic cord, and Adrian was having trouble pushing the chair back enough to step over the desk and sit down.

Just as Master Control handed us control, Adrian plopped down, held the lapel mic to his mouth, and very breathlessly exclaimed, "TODAY (gasp)... ON 31 (pant)... EYEWITNESS NEWS.....!!!!!(gasp) Talk about Live, Local, and Late-breaking... from the way Adrian delivered that tease, viewers must have wondered what on earth was he working on that would leave him that breathless!

Another incident occurred on Election Night, probably in 1978. Remember that in the late 70's, we didn't have RTS or ClearCom, nor did we have an IFB system. Bob Sullivan had rigged up a temporary IFB to get us through election coverage. He used the intercom circuit between the Director's headset station and a black phone hanging under the desk between the anchors. As it turns out, unfortunately for Adrian, the Vidifont operator's headset was also on this same circuit.

Adrian was reading through the election results, with Vidifont fullscreens on the air. He was about to come to a race for which we had incorrect numbers. Just as I clicked on the IFB to tell him he was back on camera and to skip that race, Debbie the Vidifont operator screamed into the headset, "DON'T TAKE IT! DON'T TAKE IT!!!" And that's what Adrian heard in his ear! He jerked his head straight up... eyes almost popping out of his head... yanked the earpiece out and wiggled his finger in his ear. This all happened in living color for the entire Tennessee Valley to see! Fortunately, Dave Stanley was ready to pick up, giving Adrian a chance to regain his composure (and hearing).

Hope these help... I've got a box of WAAY memorabilia at home. I'll look through it and see what I've got. I seem to remember having a copy of the photo of Adrian, Dave, Brenda, Rick, and Ken, all wearing their camel-colored 31 blazers.




From: Edgar Davis

Adrian celebrated his 50th birthday shortly after I arrived at WAAY-TV as a producer in 1985. I knew he had been there for awhile because he had a collection of news stories on 16mm film in his desk. I found them and him to be a valuable source of information.

To be a household name, Adrian is the most self-effacing person you will ever meet. I know I can always call him a friend. Television viewers in this region are losing a legend. Adrian is gaining a life.

Edd Davis
Executive News Producer


From: "Kim and Lynn Albight"

When I first became aquatinted with Adrian I was working for a radio station in Scottsboro and Adrian was News Director for Ch31. Although it would be years later before I actually met Adrian through Dick VanValkenburg, I did talk to Adrian on the phone a couple of times.

When I finally went to work at 31 in January, 1987 Adrian and I hit it off from the start. I always marveled at his ability to handle stress and keep his cool. I honestly say I cannot think of a single time I have ever seen Adrian loose his temper even in some of the most trying times. (even when he'd forget to turn on the mic prior to weather!).

When we started the morning newscast Adrian and Linda Allen quickly formed a bond with the audience that I still hear comments on today. That was a team no body could beat-period! We had fun and enjoyed working with each other and the bond we all developed both on air and behind the scene's showed through to the viewers.

Adrian has been an icon in the Huntsville market as long as I can remember and has set a standard few (if any) following in his footsteps will ever achieve. There is not a TV person in north Alabama and beyond that could not learn a lot from this man I have respected my whole adult life. Lynn and I wish you and Faye the best Mr. Gibson and hope you enjoy your retirement!

With greatest respect

Kim C. Albright


From Cliff Windham

Like Adrian, I was a former News Director at WAAY-TV from 1983 - 1995. Because he had been in the new business so long, I remember that he was always an invaluable source of information regarding background on Tennessee Valley news stories over the years. I believe that this unique knowledge of area history and events was equally recognized and respected by the public he served.

I also recall that when icy winter weather hit, he was one of the few people who never seemed to have a problem climbing Monte Sano Mountain before dawn in his little import car with tire chains, so he could start broadcasting weather coverage on WAAY-TV, until reinforcements arrived. If the ice was really bad, he would wear golf shoes because the spikes would give him extra protection against slips and falls.

Adrian always had a quick wit and was full of short jokes and sayings that would make us all laugh. I remember one his many sayings, which he used when he felt too many there excuses being used: "If ifs and buts were candy and nuts then every day would be Christmas!" I still smile about that today. Congratulations Adrian on a remarkable career. It has been an honor and a pleasure to have worked with you and to know you. Here's wishing you every joy that retirement can bring. You richly deserve it!

Warmest regards,
Cliff Windham


The weather center behind the sliding glass doors in Studio against wall where a director's booth once was.

From Redge Swing


I can see it now...Adrian driving his big new tour bus and giving a narration over the bus intercom to a load of anxious silver haired gamblers as they ease through Tunica when, out of the back of the bus, someone yells the famous words..."Adrian please turn on your mic."

Some things never change and I hope you never do. You're one of the all time nice guys. Those of us who had the privilege of working with you were blessed. We all love you and wish you the best. Redge


From Bettie Higgins

My favorite memory of Adrian is that he was willing to do whatever was asked of him. Without complaining or feeling "put upon," he took various responsibilities, often temporarily, and gave the work his very best effort. For a period of time I oversaw much of the Promotion work of the station in addition to Programming. Some on-air talent looked upon promotion as a "nuisance," and did not want to come in early, stay late, or whatever, to get their individual promos done. Not so with Adrian. He was always cooperative, always cheerful, always grateful that he was considered worthy of having a promo done about his work. Sometimes the crew would groan when it was time to do individual promos - but they welcomed the opportunity to work with Adrian, as did I.

With Dick Van Valkenburg, Adrian and I were considered the "elderly folks" at Channel 31. That is, younger staff members assumed we knew everything that had occurred prior to 1950! And, usually one of us did. Adrian sometimes played a little game when he was asked a "historical question." He said, "Ask Bettie Higgins - she's older than I am!"

And, this year, as I celebrate my seventh decade, I look back with great pleasure on the years I was fortunate to be associated with Channel 31 and with my friend, Adrian Gibson. God bless, Adrian.


I'm Damein Green, current WAAY-TV employee (morning/midday operations). I'm only 20 years old, so I can remember watching good ole' Adrian as a little kid. I was hired by Ben Boles in September '03 (interviewed on the day the tower fell). My first day at work, I walked into the studio and thought to myself..."I can't believe this man is now my co-worker. My Mom & Dad can't remember a time when Adrian wasn't at 31!" Needless to say, I was in awe. Over the course of a year, I've seen the greatest (and sometimes the worst) from Adrian. Everything from his trusty Midday Almanac, to him forgetting to turn his mic on. From what I can tell by the responses from other former employees, nothing's changed.

The funniest moment I ever experienced from Adrian was when a George W. Bush look-alike was booked as a guest on the morning show. Greg Screws didn't tell Adrian about the guest, mainly because he wanted to see the look on Adrian's face when "W" walked in the studio (typical Greg Screws). So in comes "President Bush" and his "Secret Service." They walk up to the CK wall where Adrian was getting ready for his opening 30 second weather hit. They're chatting back and forth, when the 3 second open music hit, and "The President" is caught on camera, with a look of "SHOCK!!" on his face, and quickly darts off camera! Greg, Christy (Douglas) and I (and everyone else in the back) are almost in tears. But Adrian, being the smooth veteran that he is, brings "The President" over to the wall lets him do the 30 second weather tease. Nothing short of a classic!

Over the course of his 34 years at WAAY, Adrian built a certain trust in local news viewers. The Tennessee Valley will truly lose a media legend on December 1st when Adrian turns in his clicker and leaves the airwaves. Words cant describe the pleasure I've had working with "The Man." Whoever replaces Adrian better know how big those shoe sizes are. God Bless Adrian Gibson in all of his future endeavors.


From Carl (Ed) Sisson (Early/mid 70's at 31)

So Adrian is going to retire. Hum, never did I envision that. I thought Adrian would be fighting off Ol' Saint Pete until Adrian would be so old that he could only stare and drool at the camera. It's nice to know he is going to be put out in good pasture with a retirement. With that in mind, let me characterize my view of him.

Ed Sisson (left) on set with Dan Jamison (sports) Walton Jones (Wx), Sam Depino (news anchor) & Adrian(anchor)

Adrian Gibson could smile while he worked, and he worked hard Though he had neither a higher education nor experience in television news, he did a remarkable job with his unique assets for WAAY's news shop: he was quite affable in a down home way, and he was more loyal to his employer than to any "high faluting" notion of professionalism.

It was my pleasure to have worked with him, and I yet chuckle when his home spun jokes come to my mind, though I confess, I also have a bit of an inclination to cringe, not because his jokes were too risqué for me, but because I laughed perhaps harder than anyone at them. I might cringe more if it were not such rank hierocracy to judge a joke at which one is laughing too hard, knowing the joke is politically incorrect while one laughs. Hey, a good joke is valuable, and so was Adrian. He was quite a leader and, as such, he often spoke of leadership, saying "there is only good ol' bigguns and big ol' gooduns." Adrian was a "big ol' goodun."

With fond memories, let me say it is my sincere wish that Adrian has many years after retirement to crack some "good 'uns" to the bunch of good ol' boys in Huntsville. Ah, Adrian, don't you wish we could relive the good ol' days? Maybe you should wait until after you are drawing retirement checks before you answer that too loudly.

Hope these words bring a smile to your face: take care, ol' boy, and make hay while the sun yet shines. That's Hanna Hay, ya know, she's the goodun who lives up o'er the next knoll 'n crossin' that thar lil' crik.


From Allen Dunkin, Master Control/Audio/Director 1980-1984

Of course everyone who has ever seen Adrian on TV knows what a pro he is. Those of us fortunate enough to have known and worked with him know that not only is he a polished and professional broadcaster and journalist, he's a great guy. I remember Adrian as one of those people who just had his act together. Never late, never unprepared. You could count on him. Of course, we didn't use wireless mics in those days. ;-) He always had a quick joke or a funny story to tell.

Adrian loves to help people, whether it's offering advice and encouragement to a young reporter or anchor, sharing his vast knowledge of the Tennessee Valley, or helping someone with car trouble. I learned that Adrian does not mind at all getting greasy under the hood of a car. I remember I once had an elusive coolant leak. Adrian found the leak that the Pontiac dealer couldn't seem to locate and replaced the lower radiator hose, right there in the WAAY-TV parking lot. I couldn't believe this man that tens of thousands watched on TV every night was up to his elbows in dirt and grease working on my car...for nothing more than a "thank you." He worked on a number of his coworker's cars over the years. That's the kind of man he is. Willing to lend a helping hand to anyone, in any way he can.

Adrian, congratulations on 36 years with WAAY! Best wishes to you and Faye for a long, healthy and happy retirement.


I realize Adrian started previous to his annoucement during one morining news cast, "gasoline goes to two bits a gallon, details after the break", probably when it was a dime, so I can verify, he's been around. I really liked old Adrian. He always had something positive to say about everything.

He always was able to make me laugh. I'll never forget the time I said he would be good in sales. He said, Dennis, "I couldn't be a pimp on a troop train". I remember taking a trip to Scottsboro with my son's football team; Lee High School. We got on the bus, low and behold there was Adrian driving. I was confused until he told me he owned the bus.

I enjoyed seeing Adrian and all the old folks at the reunion.

Best of luck to you Adrian. Have a terrific retirement.

Best wishes
Dennis Packard, Engineer 1980-84


Walton, Adrian, Sam and Ed on the very first full news set, before we had a sports man join the team. Ed did some sports and other duties. Later we had Dan Jamison as full time sports. The entire front of the wood set was painted, except for the plastic news shield with the 31 logo on it.

Adrian and Liz Hurley in snow by side of building. You see transmission line & raceway behind them.

The most current weather set by side of news set against front lobby area wall.

Alicia Smith and Adrian at 31Alumni reunion - 2003

Adrian and Gary Dobbs at reunion 2003

Adrian and friend at reunion

Adrian & Mary Ann Higgins (late 80's)

Adrian at '78 picnic on right as Mr. Smith, III talks to David & Tony Worley (Tony is deceased).

© 2004 Smith Broadcasting, Inc. [update 10-22-2004]