Monterey, VA – At the Allegheny Mountain Radio annual meeting and banquet earlier this month the organization presented its annual STAR award for outstanding volunteer service. This award is named for Monterey resident Steve Terry, the first recipient of the award in 2000. Mill Gap resident and long-time WVLS volunteer Doug Smith was presented this year’s STAR award, by former WVLS station manager Carson Ralston. During the presentation, Carson listed some adjectives he would use to describe Doug Smith.
“Cantankerous, grouchy, antagonistic, meticulous, gripey, maybe a little egotistical – just a little bit” says Ralston. “I think to to a volunteer job you have to have a little ego, you could do it if you didn’t; sometimes a little rude. Now why in the world would you ever give a STAR award to someone like that? Well that’s the kind of volunteers we have, and believe you me, I’m glad we got em.”
Doug talks about how he got involved with Alleghany Mountain Radio.
“I never really thought about doing radio until suddenly I was doing radio” says Smith. “But when I moved down here I started listening to the local radio station WVLS, and it was different from just about anything else I’d listened to before – there were some good shows on. I joined the Mill Gap Ruritan Club and at the time one of the members was on the Pocahontas Communications Cooperative Board [AMR’s governing board] and he retired or resigned. I decided at that point that I would replace him on the board. So I called over and said I’d like to replace him and they said well you’ve got to run for it.”
Doug was elected to the Board and that began many years of service to Alleghany Mountain Radio. He also served on the steering committee. But it was in the control room where Doug would really make his mark.
He worked Highland high school basketball games, and Bath high school football games. He manned the board for the Highland County Supervisors meeting broadcasts. One of his music shows ran 12 hours from 6 PM to 6 AM.
Doug became known as WVLS’s “Iron Man” who was always there to fill in for a DJ who had to miss a show. No matter if Doug had a 12 hour air shift the next day. Doug discusses how he went from board member to DJ.
“I met Mary Switzer and Cathy Patterson and they were both DJ’s with WVLS back in the late 90’s” says Smith. “And little by little they started trying to twist my arm to do a show. I guess they knew that I like music and that I was interested and involved with the radio.”
Doug is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of music and his collection of records that numbers in the thousands. In the end though, it’s his manner on the air that has brought pleasure to Alleghany Mountain Radio listeners for so many years.