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July 13, 2007
V 35 Issue 28

 
 
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Investigation into Mike Webb murder ongoing process
Investigation into Mike Webb murder ongoing process
Public memorial to be held at St. Mark's on July 18th by Lisa Wardle - SGN Staff Writer

The mystery is over for the friends and family of Michael K. Webb, who had been missing since April 13 until his badly decomposed body was found on June 28th in a crawl space of his Queen Anne home. However, the mourning process has just begun.

The King County Coroner's office had ruled the case to be a homicide and said that the body suffered "multiple sharp-force injuries." Scientific identification was completed and it was determined that the body had indeed belonged to the radio host.

The Seattle Police Department declined to release additional details about their investigation to the Seattle Gay News this week. "Detectives are still investigating," said Mark Jamieson, a Seattle Police Department spokesperson. "The investigation is active and remains ongoing." As friends and family await answers regarding Webb's disappearance and death, they will gather to focus on his life, accomplishments and the memories they shared with him. A memorial service will be held at Saint Mark's Episcopal Cathedral (1245 Tenth Avenue East, Seattle) on Wednesday, July 18th from 7:30 p.m. until 9 o'clock.

Tributes and eulogies of 2-5 minutes will be welcomed at the event for those who wish to speak. The family has requested memorials in Webb's name go to Lambert House, which operates a drop-in center for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender youth. Flowers to honor Webb can be sent to Saint Mark's Episcopal Cathedral.

Many did not know Webb personally, but heard his radio show and became fans. His program tried to provoke as much thought loud L) and regularly addressed controversial topics, such as the Iraq war, President George W. Bush, and right-wing America on his program.

Like him or not, Webb found a home on Seattle's airwaves and many had a hard time turning him off. One regular listener, a conservative Christian, commented: "He annoyed me most of the time, made me angry, and didn't change my mind, but he made us all think. He really got the gears going in our heads about what we believe and why."

Webb was not one to censor his opinions and he would often receive angry calls as a result. The phone lines to his studio heard hundreds of hours of yelling and personal threats. Webb accepted these calls, responding with his calm, cool voice and (in a listener's favorite reaction) asked the caller "Are you wearing tight Levis?"

Tom Clendening, a former program director of KIRO radio, who originally hired Webb, spoke during a GAYBC Radio online tribute broadcast. "I knew Mike was Gay when I hired him, didn't care one way or the other, but on the air he made no reference to that. He just decided one weekend that he was going to come out on his show and announce to his audience that he was Gay," he said. "At the time I was very upset, because I wished he would have discussed it with me first. It was one of those things that, given the ownership of the station and the management, sponsors, et. cetera; it was just one of those issues that we could have all been prepared for the reaction when he did it. I think part of the reason that some people complained about Mike was they just couldn't get past that issue."

Webb was outspoken and very open with his ideas and sexuality, which created a love or hate relationship among the public. Some people would call him a "total idiot" while others believed him to be "a wonderful and courageous man". He fought to give a voice to the smaller populations, people who needed to be supported and heard from.

"On my first show with him, he challenged me point blank and asked if I hated Gays or if I thought they were bad people. When I told him [that] I was all for Gay rights and marriage rights, he warmed up immediately. He was what they call a 'flaming liberal', he defended everybody's rights to be who they are and he supported helping the underprivileged. I will miss talking to him," commented a former guest of Webb's show, Jeff Siddiqui.

Off of the air, many friends and co-workers knew Webb in a different light. Some described him as a "teddy bear" that genuinely cared about others and wanted to help people in need. He felt the desire to support those who were dealing with drug issues, as he had gone through it himself, and wanted to aid people in their recovery. At work, while Webb was still in the studio, his co-workers enjoyed seeing his face and hearing what he had to say.

Ty Rosenow, who worked with Webb at KIRO from 1996 until 2003, is grateful for the things that Webb had taught him (business-oriented and personal) while working at the station. "He was the first one to say hello to you everyday and was willing to talk to you about the old times of radio (he had one large collection of music that made me rediscover the oldies with wide open eyes). But, we had often talked about radio in the late hours after his shift at KIRO, where I learned more about radio history that had been missing in the history books. He may have been loud, and possibly obnoxious on the air, but Mike was really a teddy bear off the air. He taught me a lot about running a successful show in commercial radio broadcasting... I am humbly grateful."

Webb grew to be a very private person in the past several years, building and working from a studio in his house. "Mike was a friend of mine for years and years before we worked together at GAYBC. He was private, and I think part of it was just never fully recovering from the loss of Steve, his partner... all of the horrible stuff that he went through at the radio station he was employed at after the time that Steve died, feeling that he was let go because of discrimination and fighting them on that& he had such love for Steve and it was such a heartbreak to lose him," said Chris Diani, the executive producer at GAYBC Radio.

Webb received many angry comments from listeners, alleged police abuse and had recent legal issues. But, he always remained focused on the belief that truth and peace should be universal. Webb recently spoke at a peace rally and shared his opinions about war with the crowd.

"I've had my friends, colleagues, adversaries on the right who have asked me recently: 'Mike, why are you going to go speak at a peace rally? We won, things are looking great in Baghdad, there's a lot of smiling faces and happy people.' It was kind of shameful that I had to explain to them that peace isn't a fad, an event, or some kind of nostalgia trip for gray hairs from the '60s. It's an ongoing process that we always must be engaged in. Peace is something we have to pay attention to, especially right now."

Updated information about the memorial and Webb's death can be found online at www.mikewebb.org.

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