I don’t even know where to begin in talking about Ken Schram.
Of course, everyone’s supposed to pile on when someone passes and say wonderful things about them. I’ve got a few of those things, but I also want to share the view I had of Ken and our short time together in the KOMO building. I was lucky enough to be around when he first started at KOMO when I was Larry Nelson’s producer on the radio side. That brief connection was enough to last for years. Whenever our paths would cross, the first thing he would do is yell out, “Timmy!” For all the commentaries and Town Meetings I watched him do over the years, Ken saying that word is how I can hear his voice.
Of course, with it came a big Schram smile and a great example of his complexity. There was Ken Schram, the serious commentator. Ken Schram the Town Hall host. Ken, the radio personality. He loved to make a point and do whatever he could to persuade you to his side of the issue.
Then there was Ken, the 7th grade boy. He was a prankster. He was known for things like turning off the lights while you were reading a newscast or disrupting a live report. He behaved as a professional on the air, but people who worked with him and knew him were not surprised when “son of a bitch” or “bastard” would just pop out of his mouth.
When I first heard last week that Ken was in hospice, I reached out to a few KOMO friends who got me in the loop and kept me updated. At first, I hoped he was just suffering a setback because, knowing Ken, he would out-stubborn it. But it was not to be.
I sent a Facebook note to his wife Sandi, who I may have met at a KOMO picnic 40 years ago at Vasa Park. I told her the “Timmy” story and she wrote back this awesome note:
The stories mean everything right now. As Ken lies here beside me, I talk to him throughout the night and feel certain he hears. He will smile inside about the 7th grade boy. Much love and gratitude to you.
I haven’t dug through my photo album yet for any pictures with Ken, but the second I heard he was ill, I immediately recalled a recording of him being that 7th grade boy that I thought I would share with you. It’s a little raunchy, but when you’re among friends, that kind of stuff happens.
The scene is a taping for an upcoming KOMO Radio Tailgate Party with Bob Rondeau, the voice of the Huskies, and Captain Radio, Larry Nelson. The two would pre-record this featured called “Special Times” and just banter back and forth about the day’s big game, often getting pretty silly. This particular day, it wasn’t happening without a lot of effort. They’d start….derail…..start again…..and then, just as a good take was starting to take off, the inner 7th grader came by and said something you wouldn’t want heard on the radio. (Just as a warning, he says something a bit on the raunchy side, so use your own judgement)
He could look you in the eye and convince you that his opinion should probably be yours. He spent over three decades in the Seattle market, most of those at KOMO. As a broadcaster, he did great things on both radio and TV. As person, he did even greater things as a husband, a dad and a friend.
My theory is that a few days ago, St. Peter got his first-ever Schrammie.
Rest well, Ken, and thanks for being you.