NOTE: Billboard Magazine published a series of articles of morning radio
personalities from across the country. This particular “stop” was on Sweet Dick
and was published on March 4, 1978.
LOS ANGELES – “To Ed Ziehl. May your hypochondria become real. I love you”
That’s the Valentine’s Day poem ‘Sweet’ Dick Whittington waxes to his news announcer kicking off the 7
am to 8 am segment of his radio show on KGIL.
It’s also what Whittington’s audience hears from the station’s tower in the San Fernando Valley but the
unabashed air personality doesn’t care. He’s “in love” this hour and day and it wouldn’t be the last bit of
extemporaneous verse he’ll spout to the tight-knit crew that works around him.
In fact, the irrepressible Whittington is so “in love” he’s turned his entire 6 to 10 am program over to his
The idea is to call producer Barry Koff with the number of a Valentine and he puts the two lovebirds on
the air with Whittington via conference lines. Then the person who initiated the call delivers a two, four or
It’s all reflective of the Whittington style. Topical, comedic, freelance, zany, conversational – and different.
The next day, he’ll play excerpts of tapes he made of a near-by senior citizen’s home where he conducted
a disco. Later in the week he’ll orchestrate a comedy routine about the week’s news events (a regular
Through it all he’ll manage to sandwich in rock and pop music and it’s the type of approach that has
garnered the veteran Los Angeles broadcaster a fiercely loyal following through the years.
Whittington alerted listeners to what he was doing the first hour and although a little apprehensive at first
about whether or not the concept would take hold. Koff’s telephone is blinking away.
He’s already had a few Valentine exchange including one from state senator Alan Robbins calling his wife
in LA from Sacramento and Koff is talking to listeners and busily scribbling numbers.
Stretching his words out in syrupy fashion, he chimes, “We’re all talking like this today. It’s the day of
love….God, am I making myself sick.”
Catching Koff’s eyes in the adjacent studio he asks mockingly, “Barry, do you love me?”
“Of course, sweetness,” comes the on air response as the producer fights hard not to crack up. That
exchange will take place throughout the program.
A call is set up between Erolyn and Dick (“Dick number two”) with Erolyn saying, “I love you in the
morning, I love you when we dine. I love you on this special day, Please be my Valentine.” Appropriate
violin mood music plays in the background.
“I love your nose, I love your eyes. I love this phone call, What a big surprise,” is her Valentine’s response.
Before disconnecting, Whittington showers them with kisses and a few moments later he’ll say, “I don’t
care if it makes you feel sick. If you don’t listen, that’s okay.” He also reassures his audience and callers
not to be embarrassed. He wants them to “express their love” to the fullest no mater how cornball or
Eric Clapton does nearly four minutes of ‘Lay Down Sally’ and afterwards Whittington re-emphasizes, “I
don’t care how corny this sounds, I though we would try it and it’s working out well.” Dressed today in
velour top and plaid slacks, the deejay is constantly expressive in front of his mike, arms and hands
“Well, Barry my love,” he says cueing Koff, but the producer informs him one of the callers has hung up
during the wait.
“Is there a rift we can heal perhaps?”
“I smell dissension in the family,” answers Koff.
During the Eagles’ ‘Best Of My Love’ (“Only love songs today”) Barry reconnects the two parties and a
little later John and Marla exchange greetings and hisses with Whittington.
“See how John delivered his own verbal Valentine, folks,” he says, “I stayed up all night thinking of that
alliteration. Say, I ought to call my mother in Philadelphia. What the hell. The station’s paying for it.”
The next half-hour the poetry contagion heats up with the staffers.
Pamela McGuinnes, the “weather lady” comes into Whittington’s studio and the two exchange Valentine
Momentarily, Whittington introduces “hairy bush of Northridge” Joe Butita and the sports has a poem for
his wife, just written.
On air he says, “Roses are red, Violets are blue. It’s been interesting, Terry, since I married you. Roses
are blue, Violets are red, Move over honey, I’m coming to bed” and everyone is sight is cracking up.
At 7:45 the funniest call of the day takes place. After Whittington tells his audience it’s “KGI Love You,”
Koff introduces Kim and Andy.
“To my Valentine,” says Kim innocently, “I love you not only for what you are but for what I am when I’m
Whittington and company go into hysterics.
“Well, folks,” the broadcaster pronounces, “we’ve said it all. I love it. Fantastic. Am I getting off on this.”
“Think of me as your catalyst…no, your conduit of love,” he adds.
Before 8 Whittington delivers his Valentine message to “Miss Pamela”.
“Oh Miss Pam. You make my heart go wham wham. When I think of you I just want you to be a part of me.
On my darling. Never shave the hair from you right knee.”
“At least it rhythms,” she tell him.
While the station has a mellow rock format, Whittington has the privilege of selecting his own
programming which he does on a daily basis.
The Philadelphia-born air personality is in his third stint at the station.