Dave Smithson Joins The AMR Family

Dunmore, WV – You may have already heard Dave Smithson on Allegheny Mountain Radio, guest hosting on various shows like the weekly morning gospel and county hours. Smithson is the latest addition to the AMR family. He’s a native of Richwood, WV and graduated from Richwood HS in 1970. In 1974 he joined the US Army and began a 21 year career that took him all over the world.

“I seen the better part of the world; most of what I want to see of the world, I’ve seen” says Smithson. “When I retired I spent a little bit of time in the Clarksburg area and then came back here, because although like as I said I’m from Richwood I actually hunt and fished here in Pocahontas County since the time I was about five or six years old.”

In fact the allure of hunting in Pocahontas was strong enough to entice him and a colleague to fly several thousand miles for a single week of hunting.

“There’s very few people who can say that they flew over three thousand miles just to deer hunt one week in Pocahontas County” he says. “I was in Augsburg, Germany and I met a guy there in the same headquarters who was from Ripley [WV] and he said why don’t we go home and deer hunt? So, we got our act together and we came home just to deer hunt and then we flew back to Germany and finished our tours over there.”

While in Germany, Smithson was a Survey Technician for the 7th Corps Artillery. That unit would eventually see action in the Gulf War, but he says that was after he had finished his tour of duty. He also received language training while in the Army.

“Yeah I speak two highly marketable languages here in Pocahontas County” he jests. “My first of duty I actually wound up on Okinawa as a Vietnamese linguist, so I speak Vietnamese, the Hanoi dialect only. And I also went back to DLI [the US Defense Language Institute] which is in Monterey, California and learned Czech – very, very difficult. Vietnamese was easy, Czech was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.”

He says Czechoslovakian was the language the Army chose for him. When asked what he used that language for, Smithson will only say that he used it for classified intelligence work. Prior to coming to work at WVMR, Smithson spent a number of years working at the Ski Barn. He says he applied for the position at AMR because he needed a job, but that wasn’t the whole reason.

“The write up that was in the paper, what they offered had a lot of things that appealed to me” says Smithson. “There was a writing aspect [and] I’ve always considered myself an aspiring writer. That and the fact that I like the whole community radio concept. You know I gave 21 years to my country which I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to do and proud of my service, but during that time you don’t really have a local community. Pocahontas County and the Allegheny Highlands including Bath and Highland all have the same thing and it’s a local community and I wanted to try to do something to give something back to that community.”

Smithson stays busy, covering a variety of tasks in addition to on-air deejay duties. He also hopes to honor the memory of one well loved supporter of AMR.

“AMR has special spot in my heart as much as anything else for my father in law, Eldridge McComb” he says. “He loved this radio station and he was a very strong advocate for it. I just hope, in his name – I want to contribute because AMR is a part of the community.”

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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