Including all of Dave Beck’s long career accomplishments in one bio is no easy feat (multiple awards for producing, interviews, and journalism, a family history of building rockets and airplanes, and a seat as president of the Seattle Youth Symphony board of directors, to name a few), so bear with us as we navigate the many talents of one very talented host.
As a skilled musician who has played principal cellist of the Bellevue and Seattle Philharmonic Orchestras, Dave’s first love is music. A cello to be specific. But when he began working at KUOW in 1985, starting as a host and music director, radio quickly became an important part of all things ‘Dave.’ Throughout his on-air career Dave has earned national and regional broadcast honors including the Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI) Award for Best Interview and the Society of Professional Journalists Northwest Regional Excellence Award, as well as winning awards for his on–air conversations with historians Stephen Ambrose and Nathaniel Philbrick.
With three generations of Dave’s family working at Boeing (building rockets and airplanes), Dave went his own way when he took the radio route. Though Beck family roots still run deep as Dave sights his favorite work-related interviews as those with space pioneers Buzz Aldrin, Scott Carpenter, Bonnie Dunbar, Donna Shirley, Alan Shepard, Steven Squyres, and Don Brownlee.
Dave’s love of music originally drew him to radio; And his life in the Pacific Northwest kept him in it. As a University of Washington alum, his first on-air radio experiences were as a classical music, jazz, and folk host at community stations KBCS in Bellevue and KAOS, Olympia.
Get to know Dave
Q&A with Dave
KING: Let’s say you have a free day to spend somewhere beautiful. Are you heading to the beach or the mountains? In the Pacific Northwest, of course, we have easy access to both.
Dave: To the beach. I love walks along Alki near my neighborhood in West Seattle. I have great memories of hiking and camping over the years at Shi Shi Beach on the ocean up near Neah Bay.
KING: Favorite type of food?
Dave: I love Thai and Vietnamese food. Bring on the peanut sauce when it comes to Thai dishes.
KING: It’s game night! Are you hoping for a board/tabletop game, a video game, or a sporting event?
Dave: Watching NBA hoops works for me. The theft of the Sonics years ago still stings.
KING: Beatles or Rolling Stones? (Or Bach or Beethoven?)
Dave: Probably Beatles for the most part. Though I saw the Rolling Stones at Key Arena in 1975. Ask me about coming face-to-face with Mick Jagger sometime. And please, I’m a classical music announcer. Don’t make me choose between Bach and Beethoven.
KING: What music might people be surprised to learn you listen to — when you’re not listening to KING, that is?
Dave: I listen to and love a lot of jazz. Oscar Peterson, Basie Big Band, Joe Williams, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny are some favorites that come to mind.
KING: What classical composers, living or dead, haven’t gotten their fair dose of attention — which composers aren’t “household names” but should be?
Dave: Reena Esmail, Franz Schreker, and Carl Nielsen.
KING: If your classical music collection was entirely vinyl records, which of those records would be nearly worn-out from being played dozens of times? In other words, what music do you come back to, over and over again?
Dave: Dvorak Cello Concerto, Bach Solo Cello Suites, Bartok String Quartets
KING: What pieces of music do you turn to when you need comfort, solace, or relaxation?
Dave: “Adagietto” from Gustav Mahler’s Symphony no. 5; Joni Mitchell recordings — Court and Spark is a particularly beautiful one; French jazz pianist Jacques Loussier and his arrangements of Bach are exquisite.
KING: Let’s say you’re hosting a musical dinner party or cocktail party, and you can invite three composers or performers, living or dead. Whom do you invite?
Dave: George Gershwin, Jon Batiste, and Anne-Sophie Mutter.