SHERMAN OAKS (CBS) — Longtime CBS Radio news anchor, reporter and journalist Jack Popejoy died of complications from cancer Sunday at his home in Sherman Oaks. He was 63.
Popejoy anchored the morning news program on KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO along with Dick Helton and Vicky Moore since February 2009. He continued to work on-air until late January. From 1986 – 2009 he worked at sister station KFWB, where he served as the morning news anchor since 2000.
KNX 1070 Pays Tribute To Longtime Anchor Jack Popejoy
Among Popejoy’s passions were astronomy and earthquake studies. Popejoy earned an A.B. in astronomy from Amherst College and went on to cover the space program and a variety of science topics on radio and TV throughout his career. Popejoy was once a regional semi-finalist to go on the Space Shuttle before the Journalist-in-Space program was cancelled in the wake of the 1986 Challenger disaster.
Popejoy became an expert on the Southern California earthquake hazard and he was frequently seen lurking in the halls and offices at Caltech and the USGS, and he was a long-time consultant to the Southern California Earthquake Center. Additionally, he was an emergency management associate for the City of Los Angeles for more than 20 years and since 1989, Popejoy was an Honorary Chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Very involved in emergency planning and management, Popejoy contributed his expertise to the Los Angeles Emergency Operations Organization. He taught workshops in crisis management and emergency communications for more than two decades and was one of the creators of the annual Great California ShakeOut, a statewide earthquake preparedness drill that attracted millions of participants thanks to his familiar radio announcements instructing people to “duck, cover and hold.”
KNX 1070 Reports: L.A. City Council To Honor Anchor Jack Popejoy
Born in Austin in 1947, Popejoy spent his early years in the Delaware Valley, living in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.
He began his professional broadcast career after college and training as an Army reservist. Popejoy worked at WMEX, Boston and WPEN, Philadelphia. He came to Southern California in the early 70s and wrote jingles for commercials. In 1972 he was hired as a weekend DJ, then weekday announcer for KIIS, eventually becoming the program director. In 1976 he started as a newscaster at KPOL AM & FM. A year later, as the program director, he changed KPOL-FM’s call letters to KZLA.
In 1983, Popejoy joined L.A.’s KCOP, Channel 13, as a reporter and fill-in anchor, after having spent a few years as a news director and anchor in San Francisco television.
A multiple-award winner for broadcast excellence, locally Popejoy was recognized in 1998 as Journalist of the Year by the Society of Professional Journalists. He won 27 Golden Mikes from the Radio Television News Association of Southern California, including an award just last month for Best News Broadcast. He won eight Press Club Awards.
Popejoy was the producer/reporter for KFWB’s award-winning earthquake series “Shock of the Century,” “Safe at Home” and “Quake Quiz.” He wrote, produced and hosted the post-Katrina special “There but for the Grace of God…” and the 1994 KFWB / Disney video “The Great Quake Hazard Hunt.”
Popejoy mentored the fire department’s media relations staff, and city fire named him an honorary chief in 1989.
“Jack’s inquiring mind led him to be an indisputable expert on fires, floods and especially earthquakes, not to mention space exploration and astronomy,” the L.A. Fire Department wrote in a statement.
For the past several months Popejoy was co-host of KNX Tech News on Saturday afternoons. He created KFWB’s original Web site and served as its webmaster for a decade.
Popejoy loved to travel and tried to visit an exotic, new place every year. Recent trips included Nepal, Morocco, Scandinavia, the Baltic countries, Russia, Ecuador, Kenya, Egypt, Eastern Europe, Peru, New Zealand, China, Botswana, Turkey, Bali and Antarctica. Friends say he often found himself in political discussions with local cab drivers around the world.
Funeral arrangements are pending.