Things in the sky late at night!
One night in early ‘92 I had our engineer hook up a long...really long cable for a microphone and during a news break in the middle of the night I hauled the cable out of the studio and down the stairs and out into the parking lot. I had told my board guy to go off delay and I had a transistor radio tuned to the local station we owned and I waited for the theme music to go back on the air.
We were on on three satellites circling the globe and I started by addressing any aliens in outer space hearing my voice...inviting them to come and visit. I repeated the invitation a few times and then at the first commercial break I rushed back upstairs and into the studio to resume taking calls.
Now Art Bell may have been listening somewhere because he really ran whole hog with the UFO thing and would eventually destroy my show but not for some years to come.
This had been an era of dozens of UFO sightings...in alot of places where my show was on the air, like Phoenix, New Orleans, Miami etc.
Even back when I was a DJ in Peoria and doing that stay awake promotion there had been a couple who called in to describe a really scary UFO encounter on a rural road near Peoria. (Ever notice how the farmers see more UFO’s than city folks? I Often wondered about that.)
Anyway this couple were all alone on a highway at night and the woman mentioned that there was a plane or something over the corn fields...and she kept describing a “bright light” slowly moving toward them. Then, the guy driving saw it and watched it go ahead of them hovering over the pavement with a light of some kind aimed at them. Suddenly the object moved lower and came directly toward them on the road. It got so close the driver yanked the wheel and went off the road and screeched to a halt nearly into the corn field.
The object then sped up into the air and out of sight. This is what you call a “close encounter”.
Of course I never had “alien visitors” and I basically did not deal with the UFO thing except from time to time on my show.
But now...late at night when I’m walking my kitty...I look up into the sky and wonder if any “visitors” had ever zeroed in on that parking lot in Clearwater, Florida.
Earlier...In October of ‘57 I had a similar situation in Peoria at the different station...WEEK AM-TV with studios over in East Peoria out of the city limits.
I was on the air all night...playing records..using the name Larry Light and the morning man was Dick Dawn. So our promotions were, of course...there is “Light” before “Dawn”.
It was that kind of radio then.
The Russians had shook up the world by launching the first satellite and it was circling the earth every few hours. I checked the schedule for it to come over our area and I got a really long cable and walked out the front door to describe the space object on the air just as it crossed over us. You could see it pretty well...like a small star but moving fast from horizon to horizon. I described it on the air.
I do not denigrate what Art Bell did...but he was very lucky. He started, I think, on the TRN Network out of the northwest as he resided in Nevada.
TRN had a British guy name Julian Hudson as a hot shot affiliate director and he did one hell of a job just like our Bill Miller only more aggressive. He tried every gimmick in the book to get my station list but I caught him at it. I admired his efforts even though he was a tough competitor. I think he was still there for Michael Savage and had a hand in getting him going.
Bell eventually moved to Premier which was the Clear Channel owned network and that’s when he started grabbing my stations by the loads. I also switched networks several times but Bell’s inroads were significant...he continued to go up in stations and I declined...but this took years and I had loyal advertisers like Gold Bond and Ovaltine who kept sending me nice checks each month.
But the sun was about to set on the “Sun” network portion of it.