It’s been a big year for Dan Russell, the trailblazing Vancouver-area sports broadcaster who published a memoir and was named among B.C. Sports Hall of Fame inductees, class of 2023.
The 330-page “Pleasant Good Evening” book chronicles the 30 wild, turbulent years of Russell’s wildly popular “Sportstalk,” which became the longest-running show of its kind in Canada. On weekday evenings, it was appointment listening for a generation of Vancouver-area sports nuts.
The show’s three-decade run on local AM radio airwaves led to the inclusion of Russell in the B.C. Sports Hall, in the media category. The announcement of the 2023 class was made in October, many months ahead of a gala ceremony planned for next June.
It’s not clear whether Russell will attend, though, as he now lives in Thailand with his family, after leaving Langley a couple years ago. Raised in Richmond, Russell dedicates his book to his son Ben, his sisters Palita and Anna, and their mother, Paula.
— Tom Zillich (@TomZillich) November 24, 2022
Back in the day, Russell worked as play caller for Vancouver Giants, Seattle Thunderbirds and other hockey teams, but his dream job of full-time NHL broadcaster never happened.
The subject is well covered in “Pleasant Good Evening,” self-published in May with the Victoria-based Tellwell company. The book is sold on Russell’s website, danrussellsportstalk.com, which includes an audio vault, blog and more.
An interesting stat is that during his time on “Sportstalk,” from 1984 until 2014, Russell fielded an estimated 200,000 calls from listeners of the show.
He also interviewed close to 25,000 people, including many greats — Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, Pelé and George Foreman, among other sports heroes.
The book also tells the stories of some not-so-great moments in Vancouver sports, notably the Stanley Cup riots of 1994 and 2011.
Many other pages in “Pleasant Good Evening” dig into the dirt of backroom politics of sports radio.
Bottom line: Russell’s book is a fascinating read, even for non-sports fans.