Joe Isabel first met Lloyd Smith in 1964.
At the time, Smith was a 20-something radio engineer for WAFS in Amsterdam and Isabel was 16 and hopeful.
“That was when if you wanted to get into radio, you just hung out around a station,” Isabel said. “You ran errands. Coffee. Sandwiches.”
The first time Smith spoke to Isabel, he told him to go across the street to Mike’s Giant Submarines and buy a mixed bologna and salami sandwich. Isabel recounted the story Wednesday from an office chair at WCSS in the Riverfront Center.
Smith passed away at Albany Medical Center after a short illness Tuesday at the age of 71. He’s survived by his wife, Diane. Arrangements are being made by Betz, Rossi, Bellinger and Stewart funeral home in Amsterdam. There will be no public funeral.
Most people remember Smith as one of the most reliable morning radio disc jockeys to man the microphone. Shortly after meeting young Isabel, Smith took a morning show job at WCSS, bringing hand-picked music and local happenings to Amsterdam residents between 6 and 9 a.m. for several decades, finally giving up his post in 1993.
“He never missed a day,” Isabel said. “One morning, there was so much snow on the road he got stuck. He abandoned his truck and walked three miles to the station.”
During Smith’s WCSS tenure, Isabel came up the ranks from errand boy to eventual owner and manager of WCSS. He was Smith’s boss when Smith abandoned the truck.
“Not many people would do that now,” he said.
WVTL morning show personality and Gazette columnist Bob Cudmore described Smith as a local radio legend.
“Every morning he’d play polka at 7:20,” he said. “I have no idea why he did that at 7:20, but he always did.”
Since leaving WCSS, Cudmore said, Smith worked as an engineer for radio station WENT in Gloversville and TV station WMHT, maintaining equipment. He stayed busy until days before his passing.
“This is sort of the end of an era,” Isabel said. “Things have changed so fast. There isn’t local radio like there was, and there will never be another Lloyd Smith.”