by Jayson Jenks, Seattle Times Sports
Originally published May 6, 2016 at 12:32 pm
Dave “Softy” Mahler is the afternoon host at KJR. A longtime local, and avid sports fan, Softy has both his advocates and detractors on sports radio.
Mahler has an approach that has made him one of the most popular and influential voices in Seattle sports. It also has made him one of the most polarizing — even in the world of sports-talk radio, which is known for its large personalities.
He goes by a few names, although most people know him by one.
To his wife, Gina, and former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren he is David Mahler. To old buddies he is Dave. To just about everyone else he is Softy, the loud, impulsive and passionate sports-radio personality at KJR who describes his style as being “a hyperactive, out-of-control tornado.”
The difference between David Mahler and Softy is so minimal that it can seem as if there isn’t one. But Gina is an expert on the subject.
“The greatest thing about David is what you see is what you get,” she says. “There are no airs. It’s just him.” She pauses, looks at him, smiles — the spousal equivalent of warning sirens and flashing red lights.
“Now, I will say this, and please don’t be offended,” she continues. “I don’t want this to be rude.”
“Here we go,” he says. “When he’s on the show and when he’s with people, he’s kind of like the monkey that you throw peanuts at and he gets more wound up.” He lowers his face so it’s practically touching his chicken sandwich. “Oh, my God,” he groans.
“But when he’s at home and it’s just the two of us and there’s not an audience and I’m not throwing peanuts at him, he is kind of chill.”
The key to Softy’s success is that he has never tired of catching (or throwing) peanuts. That approach has made him one of the most popular and influential voices in Seattle sports. It also has made him one of the most polarizing — even in the world of sports-talk radio, which is known for its large personalities.
But whether you are absorbed or infuriated when his engine starts firing, he already has won because he made you do the one thing he does as well as anyone: He made you care.
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