Steve Raible is that rare guy in sports — and journalism — who has gotten to make his own decisions about when it’s time to walk away.
The KIRO news anchor and former Seahawks receiver understands just how remarkable this is as he prepares to retire as KIRO anchor later this spring — news that he announced on the air during Wednesday night’s broadcast. He’ll still be in our lives as the Seahawks radio play-by-play man, but at 65 he thinks it’s time to step away from his day job.
“I’ve had two jobs in my adult life, working for the Seahawks as a player and broadcaster and working for KIRO 7 radio and television,” Raible said. “And I’ve been able to make that decision both times. Not a lot of guys can do that, especially in football. You’re told that, ‘Hey, listen, you don’t figure into our plans anymore. You’re just not quite fast enough.’ Or, ‘We’ve got young guys who are making less money.’
“This way I kind of made that choice myself. It’s the same with the TV gig. Because those young guys are coming in this business, too. Those guys with more hair and a deeper voice and who look better on camera.”
Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Raible played tight end at Georgia Tech and was drafted as a wide receiver by the expansion Seahawks in 1976 with the 59th overall pick. Raible was a rookie receiver for the Seahawks when they earned their first win, in 1976 against Tampa Bay. (His memories of that historic game are still sharp.) He played in 84 games for the Seahawks, making 68 catches for 1,017 yards and three touchdowns, all the while doing some broadcast work in the offseason.
He suffered a collapsed lung and missed much of the 1981 NFL season. The following offseason there were a number of opportunities at KIRO and he decided to make the leap rather than play a seventh season, something the Seahawks were open to.
“I think I made the right decision then,” Raible said. “And so I think I’m making the right decision now.”
Raible is making the move to spend more time with Sharon, his wife of 39 years. She has lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and after four decades of waiting around for her husband’s 12-hour days to end, the two will spend more time together while traveling the world.
“These next few months will be bittersweet as we celebrate Steve’s legacy and leadership at KIRO 7, but we all consider ourselves lucky to have had the pleasure to work alongside him and learn from him all these years,” KIRO News Director John LaPorte said in a statement, adding that Raible will still do some special events with KIRO even after his retirement. “We couldn’t be happier for Steve and Sharon to have more time to spend with each other and pursuing their passions.”
The Raibles are going to South Africa in April and the schedule will be wide open six months out of the year going forward.
“Until this fall, I’d been working the late shift for 28 years, so I’d never get home before midnight and I’d come home when I could for dinner,” Raible said. “So that’s been tough on her … and the bottom line is there’s a lot of things we still want to do while we both have our health, not the least of which is travel. And we’ve got a brand-new grandniece in Bellingham just born a week ago. We haven’t had a chance to see her yet. So, we’ve got so many things we want to do.”
Raible won five regional Emmy Awards as KIRO’s main news anchor, a position he earned in 1993. He’s covered the Olympics, presidential elections and most major Seattle news stories over the past 27 years as anchor, losing a very recognizable mustache along the way. As a broadcaster, he’s announced all three Seahawks Super Bowl appearances and some of the team’s most memorable moments, including Beast Quake and Richard Sherman’s interception of Colin Kaepernick.
“It’s difficult to put into words what Steve Raible has meant to KIRO 7 over the last 38 years,” Greg Bilte, KIRO 7’s vice president and general manager, said in a statement. “He has earned the trust and loyalty of our viewers because of his professional integrity and authenticity, but he has also been a leader, mentor, and friend among our staff for nearly four decades. His influence and generosity have made us all better.”
Listen to some of Raible’s most memorable calls for the team over the years.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly referenced an interception supposedly made by former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman against former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Sherman tipped the ball to Malcolm Smith, who made the interception.
Seattle Times editor Gina Cole contributed to this report.