Jerry Lee (Real Name Jerome Tisdale) went on to the recently Purchased Smith Broadcasting station in Fort Walton Beach, Florida..WNUE (New Radio)
At about the same time Dan Akens went to the Smith Station in Tullahoma, Tn. WJIG RADIO. While there, Dan..who was in his mid 20's...was located by his "Draft Board" in Illinois, and Summoned to the Induction Center in Montgomery, Alabama..(It was in between the Korea and Vietnam Nam Wars...so, the only Fighting was trying NOT to go to Montgomery!)
Anyway, Dan Lost ... and was sent to Fort Jackson for Basic Training..and then to Fort Gordon For "Radio Relay, & Carrier Operator Training"...(I Picked that because it had "Radio" in the title) Ooops...it really meant I was being sent to a Mountaintop in Korea to 'Turn On & Operate" Radio Relay Equipment every Morning!
So, while I was in Oakland, California waiting to be Shipped Out...The War ended, and I was "Mustered Out of the Army Signal Corps" ...And, sent by Greyhound Bus Across Country to Fort Walton Beach, Florida....Where MD Smith and Wife Kirby had purchased WNUE RADIO.
HERE's where it gets "Semi-Interesting"...Tragic...and, Changed My Life! For those paying attention (or, still with me)... The aforementioned Disc Jockey Jerry Lee, had gone down to WNUE Radio...(which was closer to his Hometown of Crestview)...AND Another Friend of Ours.. Bill Dewey Also went down from WAAY to WNUE.
This is where a Tragic Event Changed my Life! Jerry and Bill were swimming in the Clear, Green water just below the Destin Bridge at the Destin Pass...(where All the Fishing Boats and Pleasure Cruises came in from the Gulf...
Tragically, Bill Dewey got caught up in an Undertow...Jerry tried to Save Him...but, could not! ...And Bill Drowned ...Just out from the Jetty at the Destin Bridge!
Both MD & Kirby knew I was getting Out of the Army...my Old Jobs in Huntsville and Tullahoma were filled...So, they offered me the Job of Deejay, and what became Operations Manager for WNUE...AND LATER for Smith Broadcasting in Birmingham.
But, Wait....THERE'S MORE!
Kirby Spent a good deal of time at WNUE (Since they had Vacation Home on the Gulf..and, she also did a lot of Work at the Station).. So, one Day Kirby said..."Since you don't know anyone here...I've got just the Girl for You...a Family friends daughter...Diane DeRoche.
So, Kirby set me up with a Blind Date, with Diane...However, after it was set up...I got a call at the Radio Station while I was 'on Air' as a DeeJay...Diane said she had a "Family Conflict" and couldn't go...BUT, A GOOD FRIEND OF HERS...."Martha Totten" had agreed to go...and, had promised not to "Move In on Diane's Territory"....
AND, THE REST IS HISTORY! [Photo of Dan and Martha when they married on January 27, 1962] Love at First Sight! Beautiful, Sweet, Smart...and, Truly One of the Nicest People I had EVER Met!
Best Regards...."Dan, the Medicine Man...with, Music & News to Cure the Blues!"
Dan Akens .. One of Smith Broadcasting's Pioneer Dee-Jays at WAAY RADIO In Huntsville, Alabama...Asst. Mgr. at WJIG In Tullahoma, Tn....and, DeeJay/Pgm. Dir. at WNUE In Fort Walton Beach, Fl....Then, Later as Operations Manager at Smith Broadcasting's Production Headquarters in Homewood, Birmingham, Alabama..... Dan salutes the Hundreds of Smith Broadcasting Alumni...and Fondly Remembers ... "MD 3" ...The Lovely Kirby..and "MD IV"!