2005 Obit: Buddy Webber, ‘Communicator’ was broadcaster at KVI, KOMO

Buddy Webber, 1923-2005:

Buddy Webber ruled the Seattle airwaves in another era, a period that began before the Space Needle dominated the skyline and Interstate 5 cut through the Puget Sound area.

As the afternoon disc jockey on KVI more than 40 years ago, he waged a spirited battle with morning host Bob Hardwick, commenting on news of the day and participating in zany promotions.

“Buddy Webber was a sensational communicator,” said Pat O’Day, the Seattle radio legend who now lives on San Juan Island. “He was topical, he was funny, he was a dedicated broadcaster. He cut a large swath in the early ’60s.”

Webber, whose given name was Justus, died March 11, 2005 of lung fibrosis. The Bothell resident was 82.

He arrived in Seattle in late 1959 after working for four years at KGO in San Francisco.

“He had kind of a sheepish grin all the time,” like the cat that ate the canary, said veteran broadcaster Jack Morton, who eventually replaced Webber at KVI and now works at KIXI.

“It translated to what he said on the air. It always sounded like he was going to burst out laughing. He was a very spontaneous man.”

Teaming with Hardwick, Webber hooked listeners with “The Helen Trump Show,” a running soap opera in which the title character never spoke a word.

Instead, Morton said, Webber would provide descriptive commentary about Trump “sitting on the humble steps of her humble cottage” when her best beau — Rufus Von Middlesniffer, “Burien’s best used-car dealer” — came calling.

“Buddy always had the punch line,” said Morton, who later reprised the soap opera.

In March 1962, Webber and Hardwick circled the globe in opposite directions from Seattle to promote the World’s Fair, visiting dozens of major cities.

“Hardwick beat me,” he said years later, giving his usual explanation: “But then he always beat me because he cheated.”

Webber was born Feb. 21, 1923, in Bluffton, Ind. He served in the Marine Corps during World War II before marrying Betty Heck.

He played trumpet and led a band, which spun into radio work in Indianapolis.

After his stint at KVI, Webber moved to KOMO, where he hosted a morning television show that bore his name and an afternoon radio program. The set of his TV show looked like a little house. On the wall was a stuffed moose head that made smart-aleck remarks.

Webber, a Jehovah’s Witness, left broadcasting to devote time to his ministry, moving to the Canary Islands off Morocco. He returned to the United States and lived in Rhode Island. In the early 1980s, he came back to the Seattle area and started a business that protected buildings from the weather.

After his wife died in 1995, he married a longtime family friend, Carol Jensen, in 1997.


Author: Jason Remington

Creator, Admin, & Editor of QZVX, former broadcaster at KTOY FM/Tacoma, KVAC/Forks , KDFL/Sumner, KTTX & KWHI FM/Brenham (TX), KONP/Port Angeles, KBAM/Longview, KJUN/Puyallup, KRPM FM/Tacoma, KAMT/Tacoma, KASY/Auburn, KBRD FM/Tacoma, KTAC/Tacoma, KMTT FM/Tacoma, and KOOL FM/Phoenix. -- Airchecks
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