After decades in the broadcast business, KBKW NewsTalk morning show host Doug McDowell gave his final broadcast at the Hoquiam Farmer’s Market on Tuesday.
McDowell started his broadcast career while with the military in the 1960s; he did his first live broadcast in 1972. He’s been a Harbor staple for decades: he’s been on the air since 1980 with KXRO, KAYO, KIX and finally KBKW, save a few years from the mid-80s through mid-90s.
He’s been broadcasting on the Harbor steadily since 1996 and has been the KBKW morning drive time host with his popular Coffee Talk program for many years.
Plenty of well-wishers packed the market Tuesday morning for the farewell broadcast. Among them were Port of Grays Harbor Commissioner Tom Quigg, Grays Harbor County Commissioner Vickie Raines, Aberdeen Police Department Chief Steve Shumate and several of his officers, Hoquiam Police Department Chief Jeff Myers, former State Rep. Brian Blake, former Cosmopolis Mayor Frank Chestnut and Aberdeen Mayor Pete Schave.
McDowell decided to retire now in part because of a very public health scare he suffered a year ago. While doing his Coffee Talk program, he became disoriented and was unable to converse with his callers. It was his listeners who alerted the station to his predicament, and aid was summoned to the studio.
Before the ambulance even left the studio lot, his heart stopped. As he recalled Tuesday, his first responders were able to restart his heart within a minute, saving him from permanent damage — McDowell said had he not received the attention as quickly as he did, there’s a good chance he would not have survived the day. Some of those responders were at the broadcast Tuesday, and he thanked each of them for bringing him back.
On Tuesday, McDowell said he was celebrating a new birthday — a cake with a single candle — Wednesday, Sept. 1, the one year anniversary of his heart stoppage.
Listeners filed through the market Tuesday, many expressing their gratitude for McDowell being such a staple of their weekday routines for so many years.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do without you,” said one.