Seattle has long been spoiled by the quality of our sports radio broadcasters. For the most part, they are far above what is the standard fare for the rest of the country. Our guys are smart and less provincial, and when they are open to reasonable debate from callers and guests they disagree with, it's a far cry from the polarizing, often surly and crass jocks around the country.
Duff McKagan is the founding bassist of Guns N' Roses and the leader of Seattle's Loaded. His column runs every Thursday.
KJR's Mike "Gas Man" Gastineau is a large reason we've had it so good. He set the high-water mark for the rest of Seattle's sportscasters and radio personalities. Since 1991, the Gas Man has kept us riveted and informed from 3 to 7 p.m. He has mixed the passion of blue-collar Seattle with the intellect of a book nerd (I say blue-collar because when Gas started his show, Boeing and Weyerhaeuser were still the two biggest "games" in town! We were a working-class town, kids . . . once upon a time).Not only has Mike been a trusted voice and advocate for our sports teams, he's thrown his support behind veterans, kids, the Ronald McDonald House, local rock bands, crab fishermen, and dogs, just to name a few from yesterday's show!
I started listening to Mike's show when I moved back to town in 1994. The Seattle SuperSonics were in their heyday with Gary Payton and the Reign Man. The Mariners made that magical late-season push in 1995, and President Clinton was, uh . . . being presidential. It made for a lot of great radio fodder, but I was particularly drawn to the way Gastineau portrayed his stories and spoke with callers and guests. In fact, I was so comforted by the sound of his voice that I would make cassette tapes of his show to have in case I had a panic attack on a plane. (No shit.)
The Gas Man this week announced his departure from KJR 950. After 21 years, the dude is searching other ways to express his views and thoughts. I hope he writes more books. (Check out The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists, a must-have for any local sports fan.) I hope he stays around here. He has been great for this town. I hope he shares his views on the "other stuff' that he seems so smart about--things like compassion and heart, struggle and victory in life, helping out the fellow man, and dogs.
You will be missed on the radio, Mike Gastineau, but we can't wait to see what is next for a guy like you. Seattle owes you a ton, and I am glad to call myself a fan.