Dan Smith
KONO 1966

After being lost for more than 30 years, an aircheck of mine suddenly resurfaced when an old friend found it on the REVERSE side of a reel-to-reel tape he once borrowed from me in the 70s.  He said it was quite an accident that he even listened at the 'other' (backwards track) side.

I reported to work at KONO on Christmas Day 1965.  I was planning to use my own name, but KONO Program Director Woody Roberts had left word for me to use 'Dan' instead of Don, so as to not confuse me with fellow Disc Jockey Don Couser.  'Dan Smith' is not a flashy air name, but I was stuck with it.

This aircheck is a composite, but it's all from early 1966.  I am live from the KONO Alamobile on Mother's Day.  You'll hear about the Beach Boys coming to San Antonio on April 4th along with Chad and Jeremy and others.  Backstage at that concert I chatted it up with Chad and Jeremy.  I remember it well!

My aircheck begins with a few seconds of The Ballad of Batman.  'Batman' was huge on television in 1966.  Lee 'Baby' Sims started talking to a guy on the phone regularly during his great KONO evening show.  One night Lee Baby kept teasing that he had a big announcement.  When he finally got to it, he declared "I am BATMAN!"  The boy caller was, in fact, 'The Boy Wonder, Robin.'  At the time the KONO DJs played basketball versus various high schools in the area.  The KONO team added a new member...the regular caller now appeared in costume as Robin and played very good basketball!  Who knew?

What hurts is, from the perspective of 2011, I'm so BAD!  I'm embarrassed when no one else is in the room!  But...it's a piece of history that I thought someone might be interested in hearing and remembering how things were in 1966 on KONO.

Life after KONO:

I went to work for IBM repairing Selectric typewriters in Austin.  That only lasted a short time before I had to go into the Army.  I served in Germany (1968) and Vietnam (1969).

In 1970, I found myself in Winter Park (a bedroom community of Orlando) Florida.  I sold cars while I looked for a radio job.  I went to visit the WLOF Program Director, but he had something suddenly come up and so he couldn't even come out to meet me.  Quite unexpectedly, I got a call from the News Director of WESH TV, the NBC TV affiliate in Orlando.  It seems that the WLOF Program Director (who never met me or even knew what I looked like) had recommended me for the WESH morning news anchor position which required doing the five minute local newscast cut-ins within The Today Show.  From there I went on to full time work as a TV anchor and award-winning reporter before falling into an opportunity to shoot on a freelance basis for the networks in 1982.

For nearly 30 years now I've been an eyewitness to history as I shot and edited many, many stories for network news and magazine programs such as NBC Nightly News, The Today Show (I married a Today Show producer after meeting her as her cameraman for a shoot), CBS Evening News, ABC's 20/20, 60 Minutes and others.

Today I freelance out of the Dallas area and I work part-time in radio.  For a while, I was the back-up morning talk show host on the Sirius Trucking Channel (until it merged with XM).  I now anchor weekend news on KRLD in Dallas as well as the Texas State Network (TSN).

I just can't kick that radio habit!

Don Smith

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