KNX News Anchor Jack Popejoy Dies At 63

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.

Share Your Thoughts Using #knxpopejoy On Twitter

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.

  • Asher Waxman

    I’ll miss hearing his name and his voice.

    • Dwight Gray

      It is with sadness that I learned of the passing of Mr. Jack Popejoy. Unlike many of you, I listened to him and the others on the morning team via the internet in Rockville, MD/Washington, DC. He was a favorite voice covering the Southern California news. I first listened to KNX back in the mid eighties during the night time hours while stationed in Oklahoma. I lived in Southern California from 1981-1984 and always wanted to stay in contact with the news of this area. Mr. Popejoy allowed me to do this. My prayers are with his family and friends at this time.

  • Richard Libott

    Sorry to see this. He was my preferred radio newsperson: knowledgeable and fair.
    My sympathy to Frank’s family and friends.

  • Michelle Hart

    I was Jack Popejoy’s girlfriend in the 1980’s. At that time, he had beautiful red hair.
    For a variety of reasons we didn’t get married, but nothing creepy. He was a wonderful man and I’m very depressed tonight to hear of his passing.
    He was funny, charming………and…….a great kisser.
    I’m wondering? if he ever married and had children?

    • Jackie

      No, Jack never got married and did not have any children. I was his girlfriend form 1984-1990 and again form 1993 to 2000. My 2 children loved him and he played with them like a kid himself. We played badminton in the park and Jon and Julie were amazed when he looked like he was standing still as he walked backwards on the merry-go-round while it was turning. I have so many stories. He was a genius and I never tired of listening to him talk about space and the stories behind the days news.

      • Linda Karram

        I totally agree with Foobie’s statement. You were NOT his girlfriend, Those of us who were his REAL friends remember you from his meeting you at the McMartin pre-school trial, you were one of the Mothers bringing the charges. He dated you briefly and when he broke it off you started doing things like vandalizing his car, going to his house and smashing his belongings, including phones to keep him from calling the police. He had all of us on the alert about you and gave us your picture in case you started bothering his friends-he wanted to know immediately.
        Please, Jackie, let him rest in peace and stop making it seem like you were close, because you weren’t. He was afraid you would hurt him and that’s what you’re doing now with ridiculous stories(except for the facts you researched).

      • Foobie

        No, you weren’t his girlfriend over the time you stated. Jack had been with the same woman for 23 years and it wasn’t you. She was the one at his bedside when he passed away. It is a shame that there are these celebri-stalkers that come out of the woodwork and try to insinuate themselves into people’s lives that never even knew them.

      • Robert

        I remember you, Jackie. Always thought it was so cute that you two had the same name. He seemed pretty shy when I met him at the Hot Wheels party. He did have a great sense of humor. Don’t let the weirdos get to you. Chin-up.

    • metha sizemore

      To my knowledge, he never married or had children. He was clearly married to his profession and lived on the love and adoration he felt from his public.

      I am so glad that a former relationship from the 1980s still thinks so highly of him.

      He was a class act!

  • Fig

    Having had the pleasure of meeting Jsck Popejoy back in the late-1980’s, I was saddened to hear of his passing. I will forever treasure the kindness of this great man as we exchanged earthquake knowledge following the Whittier Narrows event. Rest in Peace, my friend and thank you for all that you’ve done to inspire my life.

  • Anita Machuca

    Jack Popejoy was my favorite radio anchor. He was so knowledgeable in so many subjects. His expertise was beyond compare. I will miss the smile in his voice that came through the radio. It was evident he loved his job. God Bless him. Condolences to his family.

  • Kim

    This is sad news. My condolences go out to his friends and family. I never new what he looked like, but I listened to him every morning for years while I would get ready for work.

    Rest in peace.

  • Henry Rosebuds

    I remember him on radio in San Francisco working with Stephen Capen on KSAN I believe it was. The obituary alas does not mention SF radio. He was brilliant and very funny on that show. Stephen died of cancer as well, five years ago now.

  • Gary Sunkin

    Jack was a good person I know Jack back in the 80’s at KCOP 13 News
    he was good on the radio any Earthquake,

    Gary Sunkin

  • Bill Mann

    Very saddened to hear of Jacks passing. He will be missed by his peers but more so my the listeners he touched with his warmth and information that made our lives easier.

    Bill Mann

  • duh

    After so many years of having Jack in my car via KFWB, I truly feel I’ve lost a family member. RIP Jack. True professionals are one in a million. Thanks for sharing your talent with us in Los Angeles.

  • Julie Spira

    Very sad. My thoughts and prayers to the family.

  • Brian Humphrey

    We join our many friends and neighbors in mourning a special friend. I wish I could find words to describe my sense of personal and professional loss.

  • Herman Mays

    After jubilation of my Green Bay Packers winning Super Bowl XLV I hear this news! Jack Popejoy rest in peace! Your earthquake series will always be in my mind. Thank you for being a great journalist! I’ll always remember your moniker,
    “Jack Popejoy, KFWB News 980!” My condolences to the Popejoy family!!!

  • Joe Goria

    Shocked is the word – I can’t believe Jack passed on. I heard him on KNX just two weeks ago, his voice was hoarse though. I thought he was off the last 14 days to beat ‘the flu’ – I was wrong. I will miss his Earthquake reports. L.A. Radio has lost someone very unique. What A Shock. JG

  • ko

    RIP jckso, You got 1;27 on ch 2. so may we all

  • Susanne Whatley

    This is sad and stunning news. Jack and I spent many mornings together in the KFWB broadcast booth, begining the day the shuttle Columbia disintegrated. That tragedy introduced me to a depth and breadth of knowledge that continues to dazzle me to this day — on subjects ranging from aerospace to climatology, seismology to local politics. Jack gave 100% on the air and expected the same from others, but held no one to a higher standard than himself. And he made me laugh. No small feat at 5:30 in the morning.

  • Dan Ontell

    He was a great radio person.

    I just heard Tech News yesterday. I can’t believe this is possible

    My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

  • David Kaplan

    I like to make a comment on KNX news anchor Jack Popejoy.
    He is the greatest news anchor on KNX 1070 and KFWB News 98 in the business. He will be missed !
    From David Kaplan of Los Angeles

  • David Kaplan

    I like to make a comment on Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday at the Ronald Reagan Library. Wow ! The reason why that I said wow. Country singer Lee Greenwood was singing his hit record ” God Bless The U.S.A. A perfect song on Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday. From David Kaplan of Los Angeles

  • S.L. Truitt

    Oh, no… if there was ever any emergency situation or an earthquake… I would immediately turn on the radio to look for Jack Popejoy’s take on the event… his voice was very comforting… he was a gem… thanks, Jack… you will be missed by so many in Southern California…

    My deepest regrets to his loved ones and his friends… his voice was a friend to me and I shall miss him very much.

  • ali

    I’m sad to hear about Jack’s passing. He will be sorely missed by us everyday listeners. He was such a knowledgeable and well spoken broadcaster. I will truly miss his voice. May he rest in peace.

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  • Alan Buis

    I was fortunate to have worked with Jack many times over the past decade. The friendly, kind, reassuring and knowledgeable personality so many of us shared our morning commutes with every day and the person a privileged few of us got to know were one in the same. Southern California broadcasting has lost a legend. My deepest condolences to his family.

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