BY JACLYN ROSE –
Chris Daniel grew up in neighboring Oklahoma, in the town of Broken Bow, but moved to Mena in 1987, after living and working in several other cities. With a passion for all things radio, Daniel has a long history connected to the communication medium. “I was bitten by the radio bug very early. In fact, the first spanking I remember was for taking apart a radio and not being able to put it back together,” said Daniel with a smile. “My neighbor had a HAM radio and a two-way and my cousin was doing broadcasting so I had a lot of influence from them.”
At the young age of fourteen, Daniel was given his first opportunity to work in his field. “Broken Bow didn’t have a radio station but I got a job at nearby Idabel, Oklahoma. My dad who was a rural mail carrier, would drop me off on his way to work and pick me up at sign off. In most of my jobs I wore several hats and in high school I was a DJ and announcer and I would hang out around the engineers, because of my interest in HAM, any time I could. At 9:30, we would do the final news and it would be world, state and local news. I would rip the wire and sort the teletype paper into some order. I was given quite an education in world news and geography at a young age. I had to listen to the news to learn how to pronounce things when they came up in print and I had no idea where they were or how to pronounce the names of the countries. It’s no secret I’m interested in politics and that’s where I got my start,” explained Daniel.
After living in several other cities, Daniel was ready to move back closer to home and contacted the local radio station and moved to Mena in September of 1987 where he did the morning program, technical operations, sports, news and sales for 10 years. Shortly after moving to Mena, Daniel met his wife, Leslie, a Kindergarten teacher at Louise Durham Elementary. They had their first date around Christmas in 1987 and were married the next summer. “I think the secret to a long marriage is forgiveness and it’s usually her forgiving me,” said Daniel. The couple has one daughter, Chris Ann, who was born in 1989, she is now married and teaching second grade in Houston, Texas. “I love everything about being a dad. I feel like Chris Ann made us look like good parents, she never messed up and made good grades,” said Daniel. “I think Chris is being humble. He is a really good dad and was always present at everything Chris Ann was involved in. He never missed a game or an event,” added Leslie.
Through the years, Daniel has met many music artists, many politicians, including former presidents Bush 41, Clinton, and Carter, governors from many states and interesting personalities such as Zig Zigler and Paul Harvey, to name a few. Today he manages Daniel Communications, LLC, where he works as a radio consultant managing 43 towers in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas that work with TV, radio, cellular, two-way radio, and wireless internet. He helps build radio stations and keeps current ones compliant, functional and legal.
“When Leslie and I got engaged her mom made me promise not to take her away from Polk County and I’ve kept the promise so far. I like it here. I can honestly say I have enjoyed every place I’ve lived and I’ve lived in Polk County now longer than I’ve lived anywhere; it’s home. The people here accepted me and have been good to me and I think when you raise a kid somewhere it helps cement you to the community,” explained Daniel.