Dean Abla

An interesting thing happened to me on my journey to WAAY-TV. It was in December, 1970 and I had just been hired by Dan Whitsett to join the Sales Staff. Since I was to report to work effective January 1, 1971, I took my family for a ride up the mountain on Christmas Day to show them where I was about to begin a new career.

Just as we rounded the hairpin curve from Bankhead Parkway to Fearn Drive, here came down the mountain some guy, who had obviously had too much Christmas cheer, on a motorcycle. He lost it and wound up in the ditch in that curve! I stopped my car and got out and rushed over to see if I could help him. It seemed the worst catastrophe was his smashed flask in his hip pocket. We were successful in pulling his bike up out of the ditch and he managed to climb back into the saddle and head BACK UP the mountain.

On Monday, following Friday's New Year's Day, I reported to work and was extremely excited about my new job. Everyone was very pleasant and friendly and I was enjoying all the introductions. Finally, there was a man with his arm in a sling who was introduced to me as MD Smith, IV, the general manager of the station. It only took a couple of seconds to realize that he was the guy on the motorcycle!! His shoulder had been dislocated in the accident! As we laughed and talked about the incident, he told me the worst part was that, on his way back home, every time he would stop he forgot to put his foot out and his motorcycle kept falling over!!!!! I think MD sold his bike soon afterwards. (editor's note: Yes, and he has not owned one since then)

The 31 1/2 years I worked at WAAY-TV were extremely rewarding. I met lots of really fine folks who passed through those doors, some of whom still work there. I also was priviledged to work with and for some great clients who became friends as well. I appreciate the Company's willingness to allow me to have membership in the Advertising Federation and the opportunity to give back to the community which was so good to me all those years. I must admit that the first 29 years were the best and that working for the Smiths was a rewarding span in my lifetime.

© 2003 Smith Broadcasting, Inc. [update 6-26-2003]