Article text ©Jake Katel
DJ Milton “Butterball” Smith was a pioneering Miami radio DJ of such epic proportions that his effect on the music industry is still felt strongly to this day. In tribute to this great man, who was also a business associate, friend, and practically family with Henry Stone, here are some of the essential facts that you must know about Milton “Butterball” Smith.
– Butterball was born in Richmond, VA, and received a B.S. from Tennessee State College, served in the Korean War for the U.S. Marines, and moved to Miami in 1952.
– He started out on WFEC, a South Florida based AM radio station which was one of the earliest regional stations to play rhythm & blues. They combined this format with gospel, news, jazz, and foreign language programming.
– He worked at WFEC under the name Fat Daddy.
– He was hired away from WFEC by WMBM, a tiny AM station headquartered on the island of Miami Beach on what is now known as the South Of Fifth area of South Beach.
– When he moved to WMBM he changed his name to Butterball because WFEC claimed ownership over the name Fat Daddy.
– He worked out of a street facing sub-station in the heart of Overtown in front of a big window. All the passersby could see and hear Butterball through the window and a speaker that was set up and he could see them too.
– Butterball broke all the hot independent records.
– Butterball was known for his signature catch phrases, slogans, and specific ways he started and ended show. He would say things like, “This is Mrs. Smith’s 300 pound boy.”
– Milton Smith was such a popular DJ that he would go to the Bahamas and play for 10,000 people. He was one of the world’s original superstar DJ’s.
– He was great friends with Steve Alaimo and even appeared in a few locally shot films with him that are today considered cult classics such as “The Hooked Generation,” “Stanley,” and “Mako: Jaws of Death”
– Smith was well known for the community programs he participated in to give back to those who loved him. This included food giveaways, appearances, and cash donations.
– When he retired from the radio, he became a TK Records head of Community Relations.
– He was the official TK Records bbq chef and was extremely well known for his special babyback ribs.
– The radio DJ and personality King Coleman was also hired away from WFEC by WMBM and they became a very powerful duo for breaking records on a nationwide basis based on their clout in the southeast.
– He used to party with Martin Luther King Jr.
– Was great friends with Clarence “Blowfly” Reid, with whom he recorded the earliest version of “Rapp Dirty” in 1962, making him one of the first hip hop engineers.
– Butterball passed away in 1990. Milton “Butterball” Smith, rest in peace.