Pat O’Day Canned From Hydro Show-Possibly Due to Honey Bucket Expenses

Pat O’Day Canned From Hydro Show-Possibly Due to Honey Bucket Expenses

By |2020-04-02T16:57:57-07:00June 21st, 2013|12 Comments

As Erik Lacitis reported in today’s Seattle Times KIRO TV has decided to give Pat O’Day the “that’s it, thank you, we’re done” treatment.

Upfront I’ll say that Pat is a dear friend and a mentor to me so I’m hopelessly biased regarding this story. That said….

So let me see if I’ve got this straight. There’s no room in the droning, unending, 7 hour hydro broadcast for the guy who loves this sport more than anyone else in the world? There’s no room at all in a 7 hour show for history and perspective from a guy who at 78 is sharper than most broadcast executives?

On a typical hydro Sunday there’s about 25 minutes of racing action spread out between 10am and 5pm. That leaves 6 hours and 35 minutes of analysis time. But KIRO TV has decided not to take advantage of a walking encyclopedia of the sport. What a joke. There’s enough down time in that broadcast that they could stop cars on the I-90 bridge and interview drivers.

To be clear, I don’t think this is going to cause a huge ratings hit. I’m not blinded by my love of Pat to the point that I think people really plan on tuning in or tuning out because he’s involved or not involved. What irritates me is the fact that cutting him out completely is such a defenseless decision.

I don’t know Jake Milstein but his quote in Erik’s story is the kind of priceless babble broadcast management specializes in: “Pat is a great guy. We’re revamping the broadcast to make it better.”

Wait a second. If he’s a great guy why are you moving him off the show? How is that going to make things better?

In the past few years Pat started filling a different role within the broadcast. I teased him that he had become like Jack Whitaker, the veteran TV broadcaster who ultimately became a sort of historical essayist at big events. My favorite Jack Whitaker story by far is the fact that he was banned from covering the Masters for years after (God Bless Him!) referring to the gallery as a “a mob scene”.

How is it possible that having Pat continue to fill the role of historical essayist would in any way harm the broadcast? Use him two or three or four times over the SEVEN hours you’re on the air to add flavor, color, and the kind of balderdash he specializes in. Trust me, viewers love it. For many in this town Pat is and always will be the hydros. And why we’re still lucky enough to have him, we should use him.

Hey KIRO TV, here’s an idea. If you’re dead set on making your broadcast better by taking away a legend, why not at least give him a chance to say goodbye? Announce that this is his last year. Let him do several commentaries on the sport that you could archive and then use forever. Then announce that at the end of the show he’s going to be given 5 minutes to say good bye to the fans.

Think you’d get a ratings point or two for that?

It’s not too late to admit you’ve made a mistake. Consider my idea. It’s a good one.

(I’d address the radio side of this story but I’m still laughing at a radio GM saying that “we couldn’t make changes to our team at the last minute”. Since when is a decision made in JUNE for a broadcast that airs in AUGUST the last minute?)

I spoke with Pat this morning and he was his usual humorous, sharp self. I told him not to make plans yet. Sometimes these things have a way of working themselves out.

Is this the reason Pat O'Day has been removed from the KIRO TV team? His private port a potty costs too much?

Is this the reason Pat O’Day has been removed from the KIRO TV team? His private port a potty costs too much?








About the Author:

Mike Gastineau has been a fixture in the Seattle sports community since his arrival in June of 1991. In a business where loyalty and longevity are rarely used in the same sentence his 21-year career at KJR Radio screams out both. During his time at KJR Gas created the KJR Kares-a-thon, a yearly charity radio show that raised over $1.5 million for various Puget Sound-area charities.


  1. Jose Morebo June 21, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Its no longer enough to be good at your job. I wonder if he was younger, he would have been kept around. Disappointing.

  2. Buck June 21, 2013 at 10:59 am

    SEAFAIR is really turning into a drag.

    No Blue Angels.
    No Pat.
    Incessant Police presence.


  3. Scot Runyan June 21, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Gas, I always love the way you craft an argument and leave the Corp idiots standing with their pants falling down and their lips sealed shut because they cant debate with your simple frigging logic. Love you and miss you on KJR.

  4. Chip Haynes June 21, 2013 at 11:05 am

    This tells me that Hydro Racing in Seattle will soon be non-existent.
    The reason to listen to 7 hrs of a bore-fest is to sometimes catch the rare gems of anecdotes that O’day could provide.

  5. Pat O'Day June 21, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Hey Gas, Thanks for all those nice words. I was trying to keep this whole thing quite and maybe slip away unnoticed but, like yourself, so many friends and so many appreciate the things we’ve tried to do. I’ve always done this for the good of Seafair and bring fun to the fans. Got away with it for 45 years so, mission accomplished!

    Now, you go do your new books! I’ll go try healing some drunks and selling some houses.

  6. Jeff Barker June 21, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Thanks Gas! As I replied to Erik Lacitis, over on Twitter, I think one of the other TV stations should give Pat an hour show, Saturday night, the weekend of the races. He could open up his vast treasure chest of memories and take all of us down memory lane a bit. I for one would love it. For many of us, Pat is Seafair as much as the pirates and Bill Muncey.

  7. kenny mac June 21, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Thank you Pat, for 40 plus years!!.
    GAS…well said as uaual. Miss you a bunch..

  8. C Barnes June 21, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    Sad when experience and substance stand for “bubkus” in most media forms today! The sport is shrinking (especially here in Madison IN) if not dying as it is, now the color is fading. As you say maybe things will work out.


  9. Mike Barer June 22, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Thanks to the excellent article by Eric Lacitas, this move by KIRO7 has outraged the town.

  10. Mark Hoben June 22, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Really a shame, as Pat O’Day is so representative of the heritage of Seattle hydroplane racing and broadcasting. The Seafair Cup simply won’t be the same without him.

  11. Mike Nelson June 22, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Thanks Pat for all the years you have dedicated to Seafair and the Seattle hydroplane scene. As a life long resident I’m going to deeply miss your excellent knowledge of the sport. You have made all the broadcasts more interesting with your banter. Would also like to thank “Gas” for bringing this to all of our attention in the greater Seattle area. KIROtv are fools for letting the legend go!

  12. Chris Mounsey August 6, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Well said Gas, his passion for the sport should be celebrated and used to attract viewers. Look at Dr. Jack Ramsey and Hubie Brown both near 80 both still working passionately describing the game they love. Pat should be doing the same.

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