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Seattle broadcast legend Pat O'Day (r) stands next to the Miss Wahoo with KONA radio announcer Bob Orndorff at the 2011 Columbia Cup hydro races. (Image courtesy Bob Orndorff Facebook.)

Pat O'Day won't be silenced for Seafair after all

The voice of Seafair Sunday won't be silenced after all. Just one day after word surfaced Channel 7 decided to drop him from television coverage of the annual hydroplane races, Seattle broadcast legend Pat O'Day has agreed to host a one-hour hydro race special during Seafair weekend on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM.

O'Day has broadcast hydro races in Seattle on radio or TV for 45 years. He has also served as an ambassador for the sport since the early days of the singularly Seattle institution.

He'd been part of a team featuring anchor Steve Raible and former hydro racer Chip Hanauer on KIRO TV (no affiliation with KIRO Radio) since 2005. Once word got out KIRO TV chose to drop him from the broadcast, KIRO Radio's Ron and Don Show got in touch with the legend and convinced him he must be heard on Seafair weekend.

"Pat is a Seattle broadcasting legend, and we're really excited to share his longtime experience being the voice of Seafair on our airwaves," said KIRO Radio personality Don O'Neill. "Pat talking about the hydros has been a part of our community for many years and we're not ready for that to end."

O'Day had accepted the end of his illustrious run after getting word from KIRO TV management several weeks ago.

But with so many eager for him to continue as the voice of Seattle's signature summer event, he agreed to participate in the special KIRO Radio broadcast.

"It's been my joy to make contributions to the sport, but above all to make a contribution to our great, treasured festival called Seafair," said O'Day. "I feel very lucky to have been omnipresent in that whole thing for 46 years and am looking forward to sharing my perspective with KIRO Radio listeners."

Earlier Friday, O'Day told KIRO Radio's Luke Burbank Show he wasn't sure what he'd be doing on Seafair weekend, saying he may be calling the ferry boat races on his front lawn in the San Juan Islands.

"The wonderful Beth Knox of Seafair called me last night and said, 'You know Pat I want you to be our VIP at the race and we want to take care of you.' I said, 'Thank you Beth.' She's such a great lady. But I don't know what I want to do. It might be kind of a lump in the throat to be there and not be a part of it."

KIRO Radio 97.3 FM can be heard live or on-demand at KIRORadio.com and the KIRO Radio mobile app.

Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.
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