By Scott Vanderpool

We lost a dear friend at KZOK this week, when our official “Voice of the Station” passed away, the man whose deep golden vocal cords you hear on our “sweepers” and “promos” and lots of other pre-recorded announcements, Mr. Beau Roberts. He’s also in recent years served in the same capacity at dozens of other radio stations in the U.S. and Canada. Here’s a quick sample…

…and he’s been doing it long enough that our audio production director Greg MacArthur was able to put together this “blooper reel”…

…but I knew him best as “Rockin’ Beau Roberts…Seattle’s Youngest DJ“…I think he was 30 or so when I joined the staff at the long-defunct KXRX in the late ’80s. He got that nickname at KISW, before most of that station’s heyday air staff left when its longtime Seattle owner sold out to the broadcasting wing of an insurance company, who promised to come in and start pee-testing employees (Slaton can tell you more about that). He was a few years older than me, but came from the same “Mean Streets of Bellevue” (Sammamish High, Hyak Jr. High…) I know the movie Dazed and Confused was filmed in Austin TX, but there were more similarities than differences. Rock and Roll music as we know it changed a lot during that time. I remember watching Winger and Cinderella videos on MTV, then going out to Seattle nightclubs and seeing bands like Soundgarden, Nirvana, and Green River who I thought were more in line with the Beatles, Stones, Who, Kinks, Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin I’d grown up on. This is way better than that! KXRX was widely regarded in the industry as a unique place where, as they say, “the inmates ran the asylum.” It was an insanely fun place to work. I started playing those bands late at night, but Beau, who saw the musical connection immediately, started playing this music on his earlier shift, which got it even more exposure (literally, as you’ll read in the Beezer comment below). His support made a huge difference in helping this new era of music take off. He just loved good rock and roll, period. One of my most enduring memories is of him pounding on the counter in the studio, blasting his favorite band, AC/DC, or tossing the whiny new Smashing Pumpkins album aside and playing their older, much better stuff. One of the nicest people I’ve ever known, he’s been a very good friend over these many years, and I’m missing him hugely.  –Scott Vanderpool

beau with journey KZOK Has Lost Its Voice

Beau Roberts with Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain of Journey (photo courtesy Darrell Westmoreland/DMW Images)

“When I arrived in 1998, KZOK was a successful radio station that required very little tinkering. But I thought we needed a stronger imaging voice. After auditioning several people, none of whom I liked, I realized we had a weekend DJ with a voice of remarkable depth and tone, and that was Beau Roberts. For almost 19 years, Beau was the image voice for KZOK. I hate that we eventually will have to find a new talent, he was a witty and smart man. I will miss him greatly.” – Carey Curelop VP of Operations CBS Radio 

beau roberts with scorpions KZOK Has Lost Its Voice

Beau Roberts enjoys a fine German Beer with a fine German band, The Scorpions, along with KZOK’s Steve Slaton, Doug Cooper, and some record company folks. (Photo courtesy The Slaton Collection)

“Back when I was first starting out in the biz, I was Beau’s intern. This was at KXRX on Elliott Avenue. I was going to school, cooking at Red Robin, and interning for free…very long days. And every night, for over a year, as soon as Beau arrived at work he would have me fetch his dinner. And for a year plus that man ate a Dicks Deluxe w/fries accompanied by a double-tall mocha from The Q(FC)…and not once did he offer to buy me a burger. I told him I would never let him forget it, which always generated a healthy laugh/hack from Beau. He taught me the ropes of FM radio, which I still use today. What a great man and another great homegrown DJ. He left me with many, many great memories. RIP My Friend…” –Nate Connors

“Hey Scott … I don’t know if you recall, but you set me and my band Stomach Pump up with an on-air interview with Beau way back in 1997(?). It ended up being one of the funnest/funniest evenings of my life, so I thought I’d remind you of it, in case you could use a smile. Going in, I had an idea … on-air interviews almost always start with an awkward moment where the band is asked to introduce themselves, and they always seem uncomfortable … basically, the DJ is in his element and the band isn’t, so nerves and confusion seem to always trip up the band and the poor band almost never pulls off a smooth and confident introduction. I wanted to turn the tables on that. Since our singer was the bouncer at a strip club, we brought a couple dancers with us to the studio. I asked them, as soon as Beau wants us to introduce ourselves, to start showing him some unexpected affection, so he could be the flustered one. And it all went according to plan, just as Beau asked us to introduce ourselves, two lovely young ladies walked up behind him in his chair and began rubbing their boobs all over his head, in stereo I guess you could say. And we definitely succeeded in tripping him up … but even though he was startled, he got it right away and went with it, telling the audience “uh, if you knew what was happening right now, you’d understand why I’m all tongue tied. Um, thank you ladies. No, no, no don’t stop!” I forget all the details from there, but we had a blast, and I’m pretty sure Beau had a great time, too. He definitely wasn’t pissed as many “professionals” might have been. Later, at our show that night, the dancers started to take off their tops while they were dancing on stage with us, which worried me at first, since that was a violation of several enforceable laws … but then I saw that they had placed some KXRX stickers in strategic locations and it was all good. It was an epic night, that all kicked off in Beau’s studio, so thanks for that memory … you must have hundreds of others like this!” – John Leighton Beezer, guitar and various improvisation for Stomach Pump, The Thrown-Ups and many others, a gentleman widely considered the Kevin Bacon of Seattle rock.

More pics and memories to come…

Comments (3)
  1. Paul/Beau and I used to cruise to every small station within driving distance of Sammamish HS in my ’56 Chevy… begging for weekend gigs and dropping off 3″ audition tapes. Not a nicer soul in this biz if you ask me. RIP buddy. -Rick Van Cise

  2. Growing up here and listening to KISW and KZOK since the 1980’s, his voice was like a member of the family. Sad to hear of his passing. Rest In Peace.

  3. I worked at KUGR with Beaux and followed his career. What a loss!

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