Robert D. Hyde, Jr.
Local Community

"Smokey", as most people call him, was born "out in the country" near Abilene, Texas. He was one of three children of R. Daniel Hyde and Elizabeth Darrow Hyde, who was half Cherokee Indian and an Oklahoma native. Daniel moved often in his childhood, following his father who operated White's Auto Stores in Abilene, Tyler, McKinney, Sherman and Wichita Falls. His father owned a carpet store, where he died on the job in 1972. Daniel describes his family's financial level in those years as "between poverty and middle income." He held several jobs as a teenager. He mowed yards, worked in grocery stories and ice cream factories, assembled bicycles and tricycles for department stores, and even sold women's shoes. In all, he claims, he worked at 60 jobs by the time he graduated from Wichita Falls High School. He entered Texas A&M University in 1955, arriving in College Station with everything he owned in a footlocker. He recalls his years at A&M, where he majored in business, as "the happiest four years of my life." He was head Yell Leader in 1959. After graduating he was commissioned in the U.S. Army and placed on active duty at Fort Bliss for six months. He was in an artillery component called Nike Ajax Center, a missile program. He also taught English to foreign soldiers. In active reserve for six years, he served in 261st Psychological Warfare Unit, eventually rising to the rank of captain. Meanwhile he worked as a salesman for Address-O-Graph Multigraph Corporation selling printing presses. He began a media career at an El Paso television station as a commissioned salesman, then switched to a radio station, KHEY, where he became a broadcaster and ran the station. In 1971 he came to Shreveport and with Jim Phillips bought KRMD radio station, as well as its FM partner, KJKL, which then played spiritual music. He turned both stations into country formats. Within four years his stations had earned $1,000,000. "We were pretty good country programmers," he says of his success. He married Shirley Henry in August of 1982. (They would have four children before she passed away in 1996.) Meanwhile he built stations in Reno, Nevada and Flagstaff, Arizona, while retaining 10 per cent interest in KHEY in El Paso. He owns Budget Prepay in 47 states, and a Honda-Yamaha dealership in Baton Rouge. He's also an agent for Bennche, a Dallas manufacturer of motorcycles and the Kawasaki Mule.