SEATTLE — Local broadcast legend and icon Ken Schram passed away Thursday surrounded by family and those who loved him.
Schram’s health took a sudden and unexpected turn for the worse recently and he was hospitalized. Respecting Schram’s own wishes when doctors realized the extent of his medical issues he was moved to hospice care over the weekend.
“Our family is deeply grateful for all the love and good wishes that have come our way during this time of incredible and devastating loss,” wrote Schram’s wife Sandi on Facebook.
KOMO-TV General Manager Janene Drafs released a statement to the staff.
“It is with great sadness I have to let you know that our good friend Ken Schram has passed away,” wrote Drafs. “Many of you know he had been battling a horrible infection for the past few months. Ken’s family was by his side when he passed, and in fact, he took his last breath just as his wife Sandi finished the final verse of a favorite song.”
Schram made a name for himself as a loud and distinct commentator on Seattle’s airwaves for more than 35 years. He first came to KOMO-TV in 1977. Since that time he served as reporter, analyst, commentator and talk show host both on television and on the radio.
Schram’s opinions blended populist outrage with liberal ideals and libertarian practicality. He was one of the first mainstream commentators in Washington State to voice support for same-sex marriage long before it became a reality anywhere in the U.S.
The broadcast journalist grew up in the Bronx where he honed his laser sharp analytical skills, quick wit and unmatched debate tactics all of which came in to play when he was paired with another long-time Seattle editorialist conservative John Carlson. The pair’s popular radio show ‘The Commentators’ aired on both KOMO Newsradio and KVI radio for nearly a decade.
Schram made headlines himself in late 2012 when his contract was not renewed and he took to competitor’s airwaves to complain that he felt he had been let go unfairly. KOMO maintained they were willing to negotiate, but that Schram was the one who had balked at the reduced offer.
After leaving KOMO, Schram made guest hosting appearances on KIRO Radio. He also stayed active on his Facebook fan page.
The family is planning a private catholic ceremony, but they are hoping to have a public memorial as well. Those details will be announced at a later date.
“The man was a huge presence, and deep under that crusty exterior, he had one of the biggest hearts in our business,” wrote KOMO GM Janene Drafs. “The measure of a man is how much they care about others – and as much as Ken tried to hide it – he cared more than anyone I know. The world is a little quieter, and a little smaller without him.”
Ken Schram was 66 years old. He is survived by his wife, his two sons, his daughter and his granddaughter.