Mel (Melvina) and her husband, Jack, and two children moved to Polk County in 1965 and made their home in Bartow where she was credit manager for W.T. Grant. When the store closed, she joined Kmart in Lakeland as personnel manager.
After the family moved to Lakeland in 1974, the Cumberland, Kentucky native was hired by Lamar Outdoor Advertising as office manager/accounting, a job that lasted for about five years. Her introduction to radio was the result of a friend and co-worker’s recommendation to Bud Kurtz, GM of Lakeland radio stations WEZY-FM and WLKF-AM, who hired her in 1988 for the position of traffic manager.
In the mid 1990’s, Root Communications of Daytona Beach, owner of both stations, sold the FM to Paxson Communications which moved its operations to the St. Petersburg area, where it was acquired by Clear Channel and became Smooth Jazz WSJT. When WLKF became a stand alone AM station, Mel was promoted to business manager/accounting.
About this time, Bill Fowler, WLKF’s new GM, started a weekly print publication, The Radio Flyer, and she wrote a regular column for it called “Mel’s Diner,” featuring recipes, readers comments and questions, anything that was relevant to cooking. The task of researching and preparing the column was one that she thoroughly enjoyed.
In October 1996, Hall Communications, Inc., which owned Lakeland’s WONN-AM and WPCV-FM, acquired WLKF and she became the company’s executive administrative assistant/accounting; however, on occasion, she was known enter the production room and cut a radio commercial or two. She is quick to tell you though that her #1 position was assistant to Art Rowbotham, President of Hall Communications.
Everyone hated to see her go but totally understood when Mel announced her retirement in the spring of 2017.
1988 - 2017 WLKF-AM 1430 - Lakeland (Office Staff)