By Kristi OHarran Herald Writer
Friday was the last broadcast for Jeff “The Fish” Aaron at KRKO-AM 1380. A bad economy sank the only local afternoon sports-talk program.
He is hoping to land another radio gig, but until then, Aaron will no longer offer on-air interviews with well-known sports figures such as Jim Brown, Warren Moon and Tim Tebow.
“I have one of the great Rolodexes of sports,” Aaron said.
Everett-based KRKO now offers mostly nationally syndicated hosts.
National personalities won’t pedal, as Aaron did, in the Strawberry Festival trike races in Marysville. They don’t know coaches and players with the Silvertips, AquaSox or Washington Stealth.
KRKO General Manager Andy Skotdal said he thinks the world of Aaron, but like any business, radio stations find ways to function in tough times.
“We hope this is a temporary situation,” Skotdal said. “Banks and car dealers are big advertisers, and both of those cratered.”
Aaron, 48, landed on the local scene eight years ago when he came to KRKO-AM 1380 from KJR-AM 950 in Seattle. A drummer, Aaron played with local bands such as The Machine and Big Top. He lives in Marysville and his son, Shane, known on the show as “Guppy,” is a senior at Washington State University in Pullman.
Well known for doing appearances at pubs such as Just Left in Lynnwood and Sporty’s Beef and Brew in Everett, Aaron will continue his Friday night show at Quil Ceda Creek Casino in Tulalip.
Paul Holman, owner of Cactus Moon Saloon in Everett, said he loved “Sunday Football with The Fish,” when Aaron spent time at Cactus Moon leading trivia games and handing out prizes.
“I loved the local focus,” Holman said. “He has a very good following. We like him enough we would hate to see him leave the area.”
Sports fans know there are slow times of the year — between the Super Bowl and baseball season, for instance. Aaron often chatted on air with celebrities during these times. He talked to Ed McMahon about what it was like being a sidekick. He exchanged quips with Alyssa Milano, Steven Seagal and George Takai.
Listeners from Granite Falls and Gold Bar discussed who rocked on “Dancing With the Stars.”
His talk show was bicoastal, said Sal Johnson, who owns golfobserver.com. They talked about golf on the air every Wednesday.
“I would get between 250 and 1,000 unique visits to my website from the Everett area after each show,” Johnson said. “It showed the power of being on with Jeff.”
Johnson said he considers Aaron a dear friend.
“I live in Washington, D.C.,” Johnson said. “I would tune in to his show via the Internet.”
He said Aaron’s talent will land him another job in radio.
“He’ll be missed by those who listened to him on their commute home,” Johnson said. “I have friends in Seattle who listen to him. In this industry, I know what’s good and what’s bad. He’ll get picked up because he is very talented.”
For now, Aaron is frying another fish. He’s a partner in a bar under construction called Scrubs Sports Grille at 1416 Hewitt Ave. in Everett. The business hopes to be open by June.
“It’s where ‘You’re the Star,’ ” Aaron said. “We’ll hang up pictures of regular guys.”
He bought big screen TVs for Scrubs at Judd and Black Appliance in Everett.
“I’ve always supported local businesses,” Aaron said. “I sold the merits of good, community radio.”
Running a bar will be an adjustment.
“Every day at 3,” Aaron said, “I feel a hole in my life.”
Columnist Kristi O’Harran: 425-339-3451, firstname.lastname@example.org.