ST. ALBANS, W.Va. -- St. Albans Mayor Dick Callaway moved to town in 1978 to run a couple of radio stations and liked it so much he decided to stay.
"We had some friends in St. Albans who said it was a nice place to live," said Callaway, 70. The former radio newscaster and station owner had bought radio stations in Charleston and Madison, and thought St. Albans was strategically placed in between the two.
"We liked the area and we liked the people," Callaway said. Although he sold the radio stations in 1989, Callaway and his wife, Elizabeth, stayed on.
Callaway, in his seventh year as mayor of St. Albans, faces challenger Scott Russell in the city's general election on Saturday. Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Callaway grew up in Raleigh County, where in high school he developed an interest in theater and the arts. During college, he helped work on the outdoor drama program for Theatre West Virginia, whose musical productions "Honey in the Rock" and "Hatfields & McCoys" remain popular.
Callaway holds diplomas from Beckley College, West Virginia Tech and Marshall University. He developed a broadcasting program for Beckley College, whose formerly student-run radio station, WVPB, became part of the fledgling West Virginia Public Radio network.
He became involved in St. Albans city government over concerns about the city's struggling and financially strapped utility board.
"When I was first approached [to run for office] they were having a lot of trouble with the utility commission," Callaway recalled. Being new to politics, he decided to run for City Council at-large.
Callaway must have done a good job. In 2006, when former Mayor Greg Jones died unexpectedly during his first year in office, Callaway was appointed to fill out Jones' unexpired term.
That was seven years ago. Callaway finished out the last three years of Jones' term, then was elected mayor.