Hydro Broadcast Stations in 1979

Stredicke-of-Seattle-Times1August 5, 1979 / There’s lots of spray-by-spray coverage of today’s Seafair Regatta hydroplane race. The spot on the dial that you chose may be dictated by the kind of music you want to hear between heats. The choices are KING AM, KIRO, KJR and KYYX FM.
When the rooster tails first came to town as many as 14 radio stations carried the day-long races. That gradually diminished. One year when it looked like no one was going to carry the race on radio, KJR, previously a no-show, came to the rescue.
Now Hydro coverage is in an expansion state.
Alphabetically speaking, here is what we gathered in advance:
KING AM, simulcast of Ray McMackin’s TV descriptions of the race heats, augmented by reports from the KING radio news staff.
KIRO, all by himself–but every bit counts, Wayne Cody calling each of the heats.
KJR, an air staff of 15 people will be involved, with most of the focus on B. R. Bradbury, Chet Rogers and Steve Montgomery. KJR jocks, except for that ringer Montgomery, are not noted for their sportscasting ability. Nevertheless, they have been practicing earnestly. They flew to Pasco to call the whole Columbia Cup “for practice,” brought the tapes back for a critique. Don Patrick has produced a “complete history” of hydroplanes for broadcast sometime during the day.
KYYX, in the third year of all out Hydro coverage for the new FM station. Key gimmick, full utilization of stereo capabilities. The left channel will be the barge- the right channel the South turn. Pat O’Day, radio’s most experienced (and excitable) hydroplane play-by-play man, will head a full staff of KYYX air personalities.

Author: Victor Stredicke

Former radio columnist for the Seattle Times (1964-1989). --- View other articles by Victor Stredicke

3 thoughts on “Hydro Broadcast Stations in 1979

  1. I never listened to a hydro race on the radio!…that was the sport that really needed the visuals…Fortunately, the local TV folks here zeroed in on those races, especially during the fifties and sixties, when those boats really were “thunderboats”…..nothing like actually seeing Bill Muncey, careening into that Coast Guard cutter in 1958….today, those boats are just high=powered jet-skis!!

  2. Today, with most NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, auto racing and college games so readily available on TV and many on radio, it’s easy to forget that this was not true just a few decades ago. So events like the Seafair Regatta were huge then. Now the hydros have to compete with so much more, and instead of listening to hours of heats spaced throughout the day, you can get a good recap of highlights with excellent video on the evening news.

    1. Yeah, but there was something about that day-long coverage on TV. There isn’t a lot of enthusiasm in a 30 minute recap, long after the fans have left the shoreline.

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