December 1, 2023

An excerpt from Dan Russell’s memoir, which recounts the highs and lows of internet hosting a call-in radio sports activities present in Vancouver for 3 many years.

Article content material

In Nice Good Night — A Memoir: My 30 Wild and Turbulent Years of Sportstalk, host Dan Russell recounts the highs and lows of internet hosting a call-in radio sports activities program in Vancouver for 3 many years. Right here is an excerpt:

Commercial 2

Article content material

One present, one host, 30 years. Longevity made attainable due to viewers loyalty. Not less than one full technology of Vancouver sports activities followers grew up with our present.

Article content material

It nonetheless surprises me how usually my voice is acknowledged whereas buying, at a financial institution or simply out and about with my household. It’s occurred sufficient to make me marvel how actual celebrities address always being recognized. By nature, I’m usually shy, extra nervous talking in entrance of a room of fifty than I used to be speaking to twenty,000 individuals on radio or on tv with at the least 10 instances extra. Most individuals who cease me are usually type. If feminine, the listener invariably takes nice delight to inform me, as if she was the one one who had considered this, “I am going to mattress with you each evening.”

Commercial 3

Article content material

Others will say: “I take heed to your present each evening, however have by no means referred to as.”

Nonetheless others ask: “How do you set up with a few of the callers?”

Like an orchestra conductor, I’d prefer to assume that dealing with calls, dancing via our cellphone board, altering the tempo, assessing how a lot time a caller must be afforded and the way a lot rope others ought to get, providing point-counterpoint, generally debating, once in a while providing empathy, and generally laughing have been Sportstalk strengths.

This brings us to “The Pauser” (Paul Lafleur), a Sportstalk creation who, with out debate, is the preferred caller within the historical past of Vancouver speak radio. He and I made nice radio collectively, each instinctively realizing our roles. The Pauser was the shit disturber and I used to be the pawn grasp. He was so widespread that even Don Taylor, who had briefly taken over my CKNW time slot, as soon as invited The Pauser as a visitor and requested him how he received his nickname.

Article content material

Commercial 4

Article content material

“I used to name in when the present first began,” he answered. “After I first got here on, Dan was completely again on his heels. My critique of the Canucks’ administration was so stinging, so biting and so good that Dan wasn’t certain if he ought to let me go on as a result of he knew he’d should reply to (Pat) Quinn and firm. So he would rush me. And the extra he rushed me, the extra useless air I gave him.”

That was just about it, aside from the Quinn half.

Cover of Pleasant Good Evening — A Memoir: My 30 Wild and Turbulent Years of Sportstalk.
Cowl of Nice Good Night — A Memoir: My 30 Wild and Turbulent Years of Sportstalk. Photograph by Tellwell

However his pacing was extra good than many seasoned broadcasters. He would converse quickly, decelerate, construct up once more, then all of a sudden jam on the brakes simply as his sentence was about to finish. I keep in mind lastly saying to him, “Stop pausing. You’re nothing however a pauser.”

And it caught.

Most individuals assume he drove me loopy. Typically he would, however I principally used him to drive the scores. I might even promo that The Pauser was on maintain. Who else does that? Who promos an precise caller, then holds the viewers for as much as 20 minutes earlier than placing him on? I used to listen to from listeners who mentioned they sat of their driveways ready to listen to him whereas questioning what their neighbours considered a lone occupant sitting at midnight of their automobile.

Commercial 5

Article content material

As soon as on, Lafleur may entertain, irritate or each. He was all the time ready, full of what he thought have been cutting-edge concepts and opinions. Deep down, as a Vancouverite, he wished the Canucks to do effectively however provided that they did issues his manner.

Lafleur additionally menacingly started displaying up on the Canucks’ coaching camp websites from which we have been broadcasting. One evening in Parksville after the gamers had returned from a pre-season sport down the highway in Cowichan, just a few of them started heading as much as their rooms. However earlier than the elevator may shut, The Pauser caught his hand into the opening, inflicting the doorways to reopen. That allowed him to say to future Canucks normal supervisor Jim Benning, loud sufficient for your entire foyer to listen to, “You’re a fringe participant.”

Commercial 6

Article content material

Not a nasty participant. Fringe!

Whereas coaching at Victoria’s Memorial Area, The Pauser cornered Quinn in one of many nooks and crannies close to the dressing room and began telling the Canucks’ super-boss easy methods to run his crew. I watched that trade intently, not solely sure Quinn wasn’t going to drill him.

Later that very same evening we tried to not permit the disruptive LaFleur wherever close to our stay broadcast location within the foyer of Harbour Towers. Unable to disrupt from inside, The Pauser jockeyed his manner right into a small backyard outdoors the window proper beside our distant setup.  After loudly knocking on the glass to get our consideration, he then circled, dropped his pants and, with cheeks touching the window, confirmed us a full “Pauser” moon.

Commercial 7

Article content material

The Pauser argued, berated and agitated higher than anybody, whereas mixing in self-deprecating humour. I’d prefer to assume I introduced out the very best in him, however possibly it was the other.

The Pauser additionally took nice enjoyment of bragging to our listeners about how Sportstalk made him a star and that he usually ate totally free at sure east-side eating places as a result of the homeowners cherished him.

After he died at 60 in 2009, his Vancouver Solar obit included: “Often called ‘The Pauser,’ Paul may even be remembered by many elderly pals and hockey followers. Sportstalk won’t ever be the identical. At all times entertaining, informative and a pleasure to listen to. Who’s going to maintain Brian Burke, the Canucks and Dan Russell in line now?”

The reply was: nobody. Not less than, by no means in the identical manner.

Commercial 8

Article content material

Learn extra excerpts from Nice Good Night — A Memoir: My 30 Wild and Turbulent Years of Sportstalk:

• Excerpt 1: ‘Sportstalk, go forward’: Beginning a Vancouver radio speak present juggernaut
• Excerpt: 2: ‘Thanks for having me on, Dan’: Brian Burke as Sportstalk’s greatest visitor ever
• Excerpt 3: With ‘McKeachie-isms … you by no means know’: An expensive, maddening buddy to Sportstalk
• Excerpt 4: ‘Critique so stinging, so biting, so good’: ‘The Pauser’ referred to as some pictures on air, and off, at Sportstalk
• Excerpt 5: ‘We linked’: Recalling Sportstalk’s evening in ’94 riven by Rangers and riots

For extra info, go to

Extra information, fewer advertisements, quicker load time: Get limitless, ad-lite entry to the Vancouver Solar, the Province, Nationwide Publish and 13 different Canadian information websites for simply $14/month or $140/yr. Subscribe now via the Vancouver Solar or The Province.

Article content material


Postmedia is dedicated to sustaining a full of life however civil discussion board for dialogue and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Feedback could take as much as an hour for moderation earlier than showing on the location. We ask you to maintain your feedback related and respectful. We have now enabled electronic mail notifications—you’ll now obtain an electronic mail in case you obtain a reply to your remark, there’s an replace to a remark thread you observe or if a consumer you observe feedback. Go to our Neighborhood Tips for extra info and particulars on easy methods to alter your electronic mail settings.

Be part of the Dialog

Commercial 1