680News, Celebrating 20 Years
[colored_box color=”green”] 680News, Toronto’s #1 source for all-news radio celebrates its 20th anniversary. In celebration of the station’s anniversary, 680News Airborne Traffic Reporter Darryl Dahmer reflects on his expansive career and shares his insights on Toronto’s exceptional growth and development as seen from the skies.[/colored_box]
What drew you to a career in airborne traffic reporting?
I’d been in broadcasting for 10 years, both in private and then at the CBC and made a career change. As a flying instructor at Buttonville Airport, with Toronto Airways, I watched Eddie Luther take off and land daily in a Hughes 500 helicopter at the heliport. I approached Eddie in 1973 and after discussions with Rogers it was agreed I’d start as a Traffic Reporter. Incidentally Eddie came up with the term ‘basket weave’ and even today most motorists don’t know where it is. (Highway 401 — just east of Jane Street).
What are you most passionate about professionally?
Flying, photography and broadcasting. I’ve flown since 1968 and I clearly remember the first time I flew solo. Today it’s still a kid’s thrill to get into the plane and go flying, without my instructor sitting beside me. My job encompasses many disciplines and over the 40 years I’ve been fortunate to work with the best in the business at 680News and Rogers. It’s a great company with diversity spanning all forms of media.
What is the most remarkable or fascinating part of your job?
Even though I’m sitting in the cockpit, I have a 360 degree view and feel as though I’m outside. The constantly changing weather, the four seasons and the evolving landscape make each day different. I have a background in electronics and it never ceases to amaze me that when I push the transmit button, the signal goes from the airplane through a circuitous route and ends up coming out of the car radio. I work in reality radio and the motorist receives information … real time.
What has kept your career stimulating for the past 40 years?
The flight attendants delivering water during each flight have kept me hydrated.
What is the biggest change you have witnessed during your career?
There have been so many changes in technology and construction. While flying I’ve watched the building of the CN Tower, the Rogers Centre (SkyDome); construction of Highways 403, 410, 404, and the 407; installation of HOV lanes; the explosion of ‘bedroom’ communities and the resultant increase in traffic. When I started reporting, most traffic was heading into Toronto. Now the volume is almost equally split with motorists heading into the 416 and out to the 905 area; Rogers cellular service (Cantel); the internet; RIM and the brilliant BlackBerry; the MTO Compass System (Highway cameras have a limited field of view and provide only a very small part of the picture. Airborne traffic reports are superior as all the routes are visible. When one road is affected by an event, adjacent routes take the overflow. I see that from the air. Ground cameras are just one of the tools we use to provide our listeners with the best traffic reports); and of course CFTR evolving into 680News.Throughout the years the one constant is the car radio. Can you imagine driving and not having that immediate link with the world around you?
[button color=”green” link=http://www.680news.com/””]680News gives up-to-the-minute traffic and weather together on the ones, at :01, :11, :21, :31, :41 and :51 past the hour … 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.[/button]