Gateway: Sports

Bullpen: Gig Harbor police chief now in fourth year of calling Peninsula hoops on KGHP

Gig Harbor Chief of Police Kelly Busey has long been a sports lover. He’s now in his fourth year of calling Peninsula High School boys basketball games for local radio station KGHP. I caught up with Busey about how his hobby is going these days.

How’s this year going?

KB: It gets easier every time. The game is slowing down for me a bit. I’m learning different ways to describe places on the court. That was my big obstacle at first. I’m a lot better with the player names, also better at figuring out other team’s names, because I have to focus less on what I’m trying to say. And other things are coming easier to me. I can monitor Twitter a little bit during the game now, with people doing mentions, trivia contest winners, stuff like that.

What’s the biggest difference between broadcasting now, and when you first started?

KB: Basketball isn’t my first sport. So I’ve learned a lot from (former coach Jake Jackson) and (current coach Matt) Robles. I get to spend time with them. I’ve sat in on some practices. When (Robles) is teaching a concept, I can transfer that to the game. So that’s been good. And instead of searching for words, they’re just flowing a bit more naturally now.

Busey LT Photo mug
Kelly Busey Courtesy

Adjusting to the speed of the game can be difficult, I would imagine. Is that something that just takes time?

KB: Probably. I learned that I don’t have to keep up with the ball. If a play happens, I can spend a few seconds describing it, even if the play has concluded. I had that urgency to explain everything — I realized I don’t have to.

Is there any broadcaster you try to emulate?

KB: No. In fact, I don’t want to try to sound like anyone. I don’t want to steal (longtime Sonics broadcaster Kevin) Calabro or (longtime UW Huskies broadcaster Bob) Rondeau lines.

So, no “Good golly, Miss Molly?”

KB: I could never be that cool. But “dead fish” has become my signature line. When a ball hits the back of the rim, and just dies, like it’s lifeless. I try to get one of those in every broadcast.

What do you enjoy most about it?

KB: It’s something totally different than my normal life. I’m a sports junkie. It’s a lot of fun. I also really like that the station has worked with everyone to make the broadcasts more professional — we do player interviews, coach interviews. It seems much more professionally done. Our listener base is growing all over the country and we’re simulcasting on live streams, also.

What are your overall thoughts on the 4-3 Peninsula Seahawks so far this season?

KB: I think they haven’t reached their potential. I really admire Seth Kasteler’s ability to score. He’s a strong kid who can get the ball to the rim in heavy traffic. I think that Kaleb Lichau is the player to watch in the future. He has super quick hands and he’s smart. He always seems to know where to be under the hoop. I think they’re still gelling, trying to find their identity. I like Coach Robles’ style of teaching. He always ends on a positive. He’ll tell them what they need to hear but he’ll always end on the positive. I think there’s more wins for them in the future.

What’s the best way for fans to tune into the broadcast?

KB: Listen online at kghp.org or locally, 89.3, 89.9 or 105.7. (Those interested in watching the live streams of games can find a link at the bottom of the kghp.org home page).

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