For 30 years Dan Russell helmed the talk radio phone-in show Sportstalk. Broadcasting out of Vancouver, Russell became a local radio legend and, at one time or another, all the great and the good of Canadian sports paid a visit to his studio. Throughout the years Russell kept copious notes and a detailed broadcast diary and it is these he has been able to utilize while writing PLEASANT GOOD EVENING, allowing pinpoint accuracy to dates and events and remarkable insight into guest appearances from the likes of Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe and, of course, Wayne Gretzky. Unsurprisingly, given the obvious skills of communication he parlayed into his long career, Russell is an affable and effusive guide to his own personal history. PLEASANT GOOD EVENING is well written and extremely detailed. Russell doesn’t take himself too seriously. There is always space for good humor or a wry aside. He is wise enough to know that a talk radio show needs good listeners and, vitally, great callers, and Russell is generous in his praise for the contributions to the show that the general public made. In many ways the Sportstalk audience became an extended family.
For his thousands of regular listeners and anyone with more than a passing interest in Canadian sports, and most especially the NHL, the book will be a goldmine of trivia and behind the scenes detail. It is packed with revealing anecdotes, many of which are being told for the very first time. The superstar status of Gretzky in particular is illuminated by numerous recollections of his many appearances on the show. More casual sports fans may struggle to recognize some of the less famous supporting players but even these add understanding to the way the world of a professional sports figure works and their relationship with the media. And as a specific case study in successful sports broadcasting PLEASANT GOOD EVENING is a valuable insight into how the media and the professional sports world co-exist symbiotically.
Full of anecdotes and presented in a conversational style, sports broadcaster Dan Russell writes with great charm in PLEASANT GOOD EVENING, his witty and insightful memoir of thirty years behind the mic. A must read for Canadian sports fans.
~Kent Lane for IndieReader