During that era, Dick "Sweet Dick" Whittington, Dudley Williams, Doug James and other DJ’s were on during the morning hours. Sometimes Sweet Dick would broadcast live from somewhere in the
Also during the middle to late 60s, The KGIL jocks would play rival radio station DJ’s in baseball games which were played during the evening hours at
But getting back to the SKYWATCH button, one weekend, KGIL had their SKYWATCH airplane on display at the Van Nuys Air Show. When I first saw the plane, it was a Cessna 170. The traffic reporters were Jim "Sky" Key and Maj. Bruce Payne. Bruce flew C-97s and C-130s out of the Van Nuys 147th Air Lift Wing. Not long after meeting them both at the airport and nabbing a button and some pictures, I decided to call up the station and ask if they gave rides to listeners. Someone at the station said yes they do and they gave me a date to show up at the airport. I was to meet Maj. Payne at 3:45pm sharp on the
Soon we were airborne heading south and climbing to 1500 feet as we banked left to follow the Ventura Freeway. We followed most of the freeways as well as
KGIL had their news promos "news live at 55". At 30 past the hour, the station would echo "Dateline dateline". Also at that time, I believe that KGIL used
For the next several years, I continued to call the station to see if I could ride with the SKYWATCH airplane. By this, time a gentleman named Bill Smith, who was the public relations director and soon to be KGIL disc jockey, would set me up for another 4pm ride. You probably know Bill Smith now as a KTLA Channel 5 news reporter. His radio shows were very creative with his unique, humorous perspective, much like his current television reports. So again Mr. Smith, I thank you for those fun trips. When I took to the air again, Bruce Payne was now promoted to Col. Bruce Payne and the KGIL plane was now a Cessna 177 Cardinal. I remember this because the Cardinal was a high-winged aircraft without struts, which allowed you to see more. On that trip, Col. Payne brought along a friend who was also a pilot. Between traffic reports, we did a couple touch and go maneuvers at Whiteman Airfield in Pacoima, and a fly over along
By the time I was in high school at Van Nuys High, I was able to fly one more time on the SKYWATCH plane. This time I flew with the famous Francis Gary Powers. The only thing I remember about this trip is that we flew along
A year or two later, KGIL stopped giving rides to listeners due to insurance reasons unless you were a pilot and could be an observer for other aircraft. I will always remember those trips and the wonderful people at KGIL.
This memory was posted by Guitar Rat for Phone Rat as for some reason he could not access his account.