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'It's not goodbye; it's see you later': Art Thiel ends weekly sports commentaries on KNKX after 15+ years

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A man and a woman sit at a bar-height table. They each have a microphone. There is a digital display behind them that says KNKX News & Brews.
Parker Miles Blohm
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KNKX
KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel and Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick at a listener event in Tacoma on Jan. 31, 2020.

For more than 15 years on KNKX, Art Thiel has been musing about sports in weekly conversations with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick. That is changing after this week. Art sat down with Kirsten to talk about his big announcement.

A note from Art Thiel to KNKX listeners:

"At a fundraising event for the station a few years ago, I was approached by an enthusiastic listener who shook my hand and said how much she enjoyed my sports commentaries. 'But,' she said, 'I thought you were a young Black man.' Ah, the mystery of radio. She may have been disappointed. I was not. Nor have I been anything less than delighted in connecting on-air, online and in person with the KNKX audience. It's a vastly different crowd than the one that listens to sports-talk radio. So I tried to keep in mind the casual sports follower's need to know something, just not everything for a fantasy football draft.

A woman in a black top and a man in a light blue button-down shirt pose in an office space.
KNKX
Kirsten Kendrick and Art Thiel at a KNKX event.

"Another listener explained it to me this way: 'My husband and my boys are big into sports,' she said. 'I just don't have the time. So I listen to you on Fridays so that I can sound smart at soccer practice Saturday, then walk away. Works at dinner parties too.'

"Seems as if Kirsten Kendrick, who knows her sports well, and I managed a modest public service by arming the casuals with sporting bon mots to parry with the zealots. Just remember the key in the exchange is the heel pivot away to refresh your drink before the question comes: 'Hey, how do you know that?'

"Again, the mystery of radio. Thanks for listening."

A note from Kirsten Kendrick:

"I am going to miss talking sports with Art every week as much as you will miss hearing his voice. I have learned so much from him — as I know you have as well. As a lifelong sports fan, I will forever be in Art's debt for giving me an outlet to talk about one of my passions — every week, for more than 15 years. It has been such a privilege."

Kirsten Kendrick has been hosting Morning Edition on KNKX/KPLU since 2006. She has worked in news radio for more than 30 years. Kirsten is also a sports lover. She handles most sports coverage at the station, including helping produce a two-part series on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the ongoing series "Going Deep."