There are archetypes in radio broadcasting, and one of the most well known ones was the Professional Angry Person. Every market has one or more of them, and for a good, long while, that guy in Seattle was Ken Schram.
And boy, he could get angry. Emblematic of his distaste was a bobble-head award that he would offer up to people, often in the public sector, who had gored his personal ox: the Schrammie.
Handing out a bobblehead doll of yourself to people who you publicly scorn was a pretty strange move, but I liked it. If you were to ask me, I’d say it showed a clear understanding of the clown aspect of being Professionally Angry.
For as much as I can judge someone in broadcasting, I can tell you he did the job well. He said a lot of stuff I agreed with. Unsurprisingly however, I thought he was infuriatingly wrong about a number of things, and more than once I swore at him by proxy and turned down the radio, waiting for something less stomach-churning to come on. But that’s rather the point, isn’t it?
Better than that, he believed in people having a voice, even people he didn’t agree with. In 2011, he interviewed Mike Gillis about our Countdown to Backpedaling event. He made it clear he didn’t agree with us on a number of points, but still gave Mike the space to work, and let real dialog happen, all while having fun with the story.
I thought it was a good turn for us, and I was hoping to meet the guy and shake his hand. That’s not going to happen now– he died early this morning of multiple organ failure.
So instead, I’ll swear to myself again and repost the interview Ken Schram did with Mike back in 2011.
Nick Kennedy: Well, perhaps…
As I know I’m going to be outshined by those with tongues more polished than my own, I’ll keep it simple. He liked the things I liked, and he didn’t like the things I didn’t like. A rapier wit behind the controls of the Northwest’s largest flamethrower, smiting those who dare to spew their jerkass-brand butt sauce…and by “smiting,” I mean “talking about them for a minute on a Friday afternoon and giving them a bobble-head of himself as a congratulatory ‘screw you.'”
But Ken Schram left us wanting more. Where are we Washingtonians supposed to turn to when Tim Eyman drafts another initiative to protect Tim Eyman? Who can we count on to ensure that Pam Roach remains the butt of jokes all over Olympia? For Christ’s sake, who is going to get on the radio and remind us all to stuff our faces full of cheap-ass hamburgers from Frisko Freeze whenever we drive through Tacoma? We could count on Ken Schram, but like a little pansy, he had to succumb to his illness. If anyone had the ability to outlive death, it should have been him…alas, he did not.
After his untimely demise, I hope he will have a change of heart and rise up from the grave to take the microphone as the world’s most entertaining zombie. Until that time, Schram–take a bow, because this Schrammie is for you.