10 AM – 2 PM
Steve Slaton was born and raised in Tacoma and grew up listening to a transistor radio while picking raspberries, strawberries and green beans in Puyallup, Fife, and Sumner.
It soon became clear that playing rock n roll on the radio would be an upgrade. So, in 1969, as a 16 year old 11th grader at Lincoln High, Steve got busy and took a summer course in radio and TV broadcasting at the local Tacoma vocational school, now known as Bates.
Woodstock was taking place as Steve played the new Beatles album Abbey Road on the school’s radio station. His creative solution to having no request line was to use the phone booth downstairs. This worked great on the weekend, but not so well come Monday when the office staff was present and the phone was still ringing. That phone booth was Steve’s request line exactly one time.
While still at Bates, Steve was hired at $1.60 an hour to babysit the automation system at KLAY, a local FM background music station. Showing faith, the owner, Clay Huntington, let Steve do the 2am sign-off weather report. One thing led to another and by 1972, while still a teenager, Steve was live 6-10pm saying and playing what he wanted to. Word spread, people listened and for the first time in the station’s history KLAY FM 106.1 had ratings.
In the spring of 1973, a friend introduced him to the program director of KISW who mentioned that they were looking for some help. Steve provided a tape and resume and within weeks left KLAY in Tacoma to join KISW in Seattle! The next 19+ years would be spent there. Metal Shop, Stump Slaton, and Livetime became regular features. Along the way he met and/or interviewed the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, The Clash, The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen and Ann & Nancy Wilson of Heart.
When rock acts played Seattle chances are Slaton introduced them: Frampton in the Kingdome, AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Queen in the Coliseum, Metallica at the Moore Theatre, Heart and Alice in Chains at the Paramount. In 1979, at a sold out Kansas concert at the Coliseum, Slaton conducted the swearing in of 14 thousand people at once, to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Air Force of which he was the self-appointed general. Disco would soon die.
During his career Steve turned Seattle on to new sounds by helping break AC/DC, Metallica, Van Halen, Def Leppard, Scorpions, Tom Petty, Iron Maiden, Pat Benatar, and others. As an early and epic AC/DC fan, Steve devoted a ridiculous amount of airtime to the band – sometimes an hour or more each night. For years he started his 6pm show with AC/DC, introducing them with the line: “I can’t give you their name, but their initials are AC/DC.” The rabid Northwest listener’s response that followed catapulted AC/DC to national prominence. By the early 90s Time magazine was quoting Steve on the burgeoning Seattle grunge scene – heady stuff for a kid from the wrong side of the tracks in Tacoma. Future members of Nirvana, Pearl Jam & Alice in Chains grew up listening to Steve’s show. What an interesting twist it is that THEY are now classic rock themselves!
In 1992 KZOK came calling where Steve still is! While at 102.5 Steve hosted Breakfast with the Beatles, Lunch with Led, and currently hosts 10a-2pm weekdays. A big bucket list check-off came in 2002 when Steve interviewed Sir James Paul McCartney. Don’t ask him about it, he’ll never shut up!
Win tickets to see Brit Floyd at the Paramount with Steve Slaton!