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.

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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.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Asher Waxman says:

    I’ll miss hearing his name and his voice.

    1. Dwight Gray says:

      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.

  2. Richard Libott says:

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

  3. Michelle Hart says:

    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?

    1. Jackie says:

      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.

      1. Foobie says:

        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.

      2. Robert says:

        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.

      3. Linda Karram says:

        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).
        Linda

    2. metha sizemore says:

      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!

  4. Fig says:

    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.

  5. Anita Machuca says:

    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.

  6. Kim says:

    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.

  7. Henry Rosebuds says:

    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.

  8. Gary Sunkin says:

    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

  9. Bill Mann says:

    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

  10. duh says:

    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.

  11. Julie Spira says:

    Very sad. My thoughts and prayers to the family.

  12. Brian Humphrey says:

    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.

  13. Herman Mays says:

    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!!!

  14. Joe Goria says:

    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

  15. ko says:

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

  16. Susanne Whatley says:

    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.

  17. Dan Ontell says:

    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.

  18. David Kaplan says:

    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

  19. David Kaplan says:

    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

  20. S.L. Truitt says:

    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.

  21. ali says:

    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.

  22. Alan Buis says:

    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.

  23. m. yriarte says:

    I listen to him every morning on the way in to work, his voice will be greatly missed,

  24. LOU says:

    Some of these newscasters don’t get off the air until they die, Laura Diaz and jim hill have been there forty years breaking paul moyers record.

  25. Sue Anderson says:

    I listened to Jack for as long as he has been with both KFWB & KNX. I feel like I have lost a member of my family. He taught me many things and the minute the earth shook i geabed the radio and there he was, with all the most up to date info, in his calming voice making a scary event easier to handle. My condolences to his family, both personal and his radio family. Through tears I say, goodbye Jack.

  26. Steve Weinberg says:

    Sor sad and shocked.
    I worked with Jack at the orginal KiiS Radio. He was one of the
    nicest radio guys around.
    Loved listeing to him to this day on the radio

  27. Samantha Elsebusch says:

    I am saddened by the loss of this great journalist. I have been listening to his voice for most of my life. My husband had the privilege of working with him at KFWB for a short time. Jack will be greatly missed. Rest in peace, friend.

  28. Ira Schwartz says:

    I was deeply saddened this morning when I heard of the passing of Jack Popejoy. He was a true professional in every sense of the word. Whether we were on the set or in the studio, at home or in our cars whenever there was a quake, a fire or whatever else Southern California could throw at us Jack’s calm and reassuring voice would always make it feel better. Though his voice may have been silenced his legacy will go one. He left us way too soon and will be deeply missed. Ira Schwartz Little Green Men Productions

  29. Gary Abel says:

    Of course like all of KNX’s listeners I was shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Jack Popejoy. To me the main remembrance of Jack was that whenever we had an earthquake in the Los Angeles area, within minutes we would be hearing Jack’s calming voice over the airwaves explaining to all of us where the quake was and how large it was and all the possible ramifications. He would always be educating Los Angelinos on how to prepare for future earthquakes. I’m sure I can speak for all listeners in saying that Jack will be deeply missed.

  30. Cameron Keys says:

    I worked with Jack at Channel 35 in LA. He was a gentleman, genius and friend. It’s painful to lose you, Jack. Your passing lessens the world.

  31. Herb Kahn says:

    I offer this to the memory of Jack; ” Deathy is no enemy of man,it is afriend,who when the work of life is done,just cuts the cord that binds the human boat to Earth,that it may sail on smoother seas.

  32. ELLIOTT ALPER says:

    JACK WAS A GREAT PERSON TO BRING THE NEWS TO OUR HOMES AS IT HAPPENED I AM SAD TO HEAR THIS I HOPE THERE WILL BE A PUBLIC SERVICE.

  33. ELLIOTT ALPER says:

    I KEEP KNX ON ALL THE TIME WHILE WORKING AND NOT HEARING HIM WILL BE SAD. THERES ALWAYS GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS RIP JACK YOU WERE GREAT.

  34. Lucy Liou says:

    When I heard about Mr. Popejoy’s death last night, I was dumbfounded. I teared up when I listened to his friends along with his past and current colleagues pay tribute to him. He was not just a morning news anchor–he was a teacher and a virtual mentor to everyone he reached out to over the radio waves. He made every subject he that touched on interesting, even topics I hated when I was in school. I’m sorry I didn’t get to listen every day, and I’m thankful for the days that I did. Mr. Popejoy will be sorely missed…

  35. Mark Hallburn says:

    The broadcast news industry has lost a giant. The world has lost a great human being. I only worked with Jack briefly, but, like so many others, listened to him for decades. Even after I left California, I enjoyed listening to Jack online. His level of knowledge and quest for excellence took him to levels of excellence that few have or will achieve.

    Rest in Peace, Jack!

  36. Judy Post says:

    I was shocked and saddened to hear of Jack Popejoy’s death. He was a dear friend, and I cherish the time we spent together, sharing jokes and puns, talking about on-air experiences, and listening to his clear, concise explanations of scientific principles. My deepest sympathy to his friends and family. We are all richer for having known you, and poorer for losing you. Rest in peace, my friend!

    1. Pam says:

      99 year old Bessie Carter in Ventura, CA was his grandmother’s sister and had lost touch with Mr. Popejoy years and years ago and she happened to see his picture and name on the news. She called me to ask if I would look him up on the computer because she did not hear exactly what the news was reporting but she was excited to hear that he was in LA and more excited to think she more have a blood relative still alive. I was so sad to have to report to her what the news about him is. If there are any friends or relatives of Jack’s that would like to share with her any thoughts, please feel free to contact me at Pam.Grossman@ventura.org or Pamgman@aol.com and I will put you in touch with Bessie. Reading his obit and these comments, it is obvious that they are blood related.

  37. Jackie says:

    SInce i heard on the news last night I have been remembering so many funny stories about Jack. Some I am sure he wouldn’t want me to tell. But then he had some about me, too. I have a C8 telescope and we used to go out to the desert to look at the night sky. Once we both came back itching, seems we were sitting in poison ivy. He had such a tremendous sense of humor. Once I was driving to work and say a lady in the car next to me laughing at intervals. I tuned in to KFWB and sure enough, her laughing coincided with Jack’s jokes and puns.

  38. Jackie says:

    My typing skills here would never pass Jack’s strict standards🙂
    Judy, I asked him why he wanted to be a reporter and he told me he had a gift for taking a complex issue and explaining it in a way anyone could understand. He truly wanted to perform a service with this gift he had. And he did it beautifully.
    I wonder how many people know he used to ride his bicycle to school through a department store when he was a kid. He did it on purpose because they were broadcasting a radio show from there. The guys started showing him how to run the equipment and that’s how he got an “in” in the business.

    1. Judy\ says:

      Jackie – Thanks for sharing the story about his “in” to the business. I did a radio show in college that came about because I got a ride back to campus from the Operations Manager of the station, and he liked my voice. I’ll never forget Jack explaining how weightlessness works in space. It was so simple when he told me. By the way, don’t worry about your typing skills, Jack had a few typos on the KFWB website, too.

      1. Jackie says:

        Judy, I sat on the couch in his spare bedroom over looking the back yard for many hours while he was putting together the KFWB web site. He worked on that until he couldn’t see straight. handling the problems he had with Cox broadband and so many things I didn’t really understand, but I learned so much, as always, he explained things as he worked.
        Who was the editor who always brought her cat to work? That was so cute🙂

  39. Michael Crowley says:

    I will miss him so much. He was basically my soundtrack growing up in Los Angeles, from the early 90s to today, and I liked him so much that I tuned into KNX and KFWB long after I moved away from Los Angeles.

    He was a contangeously lovable human being, an incredible professional, and a voice of reason and calm during times of great distress like the great earthquakes.

    You are in my thoughts, Jack Popejoy, his wonderful colleages, the radio stations he worked for, and the people who appreciated his work.

  40. Sam says:

    Now, I will never feel as safe…

    Well done Jack, well done.

  41. Sam says:

    Now, I will never feel as safe…

    And my mornings will be a bit lonely.

    Well done Jack, well done. : )

  42. Bryan Williams says:

    I cannot remember such a blow to LA radio since Bill Keene left us.

    The listeners hope that his family knows how many people he has influenced through his impeccable professionalism and trustworthy demeanor.

    Thank You, Jack Popejoy, for providing intelligent, informational, and balanced reporting for us these many years. You will truly be missed.

  43. Brea Bob says:

    Mr. Popejoy,

    Thank you for all of your years of service to the listeners of both KFWB and KNX.

    Even though you didn’t make it into space, you are now above us looking down…or should I say, looking down and listening to us!

    Jack, you can be sure we will be ready when the next “big one” hits.

    You will be missed.

  44. RD says:

    I’m very saddened by this news. Mr Popejoy always got me to listen up whenever I heard his very identifiable voice, and he never disappointed in giving out the news in a very professional manner. He did always radiate authority and immediately gained my trust just as Walter Cronkite always had.
    My prayers and condolences go out to his family, friends, and news associates.

  45. Shirl says:

    He was one of a kind . . . a man’s man. He will be truly miissed.

  46. Elaine says:

    I was surprised and sad to learn at the passing of Jack Popejoy. I enjoyed listening to him. He had a very pleasant sounding voice as he shared news with Los Angeles.

    1. Jackie says:

      Elaine,
      He would have loved to hear you say that. He always said his voice would open garage doors all over town.
      When we drove under a bridge he would make his voice all fuzzy like it had lost the signal.

  47. Deb says:

    Mr. Popejoy will be very much missed. I always told my students that they should listen to Mr. Popejoy after an earthquake so they could get the most accurate information. As a science teacher, I appreciated his ability to teach the public. He did so in a reassuring manner while avoiding the sensationalistic reporting that often accompanies disasters. I challenging the staff of KNX to honor Mr. Popejoy’s legacy by striving to report disasters in the same manner and to continue to educate the public about preparedness.

  48. PAUL WILLIAMS says:

    What sad news this is! To me, Jack Popejoy was one of the best reasons to listen to KFWB in the morning, and KNX was so smart to pick him up for their morning news after KFWB dropped all news. He definately had one of the best and most recognizable voices on L.A. radio, a voice that will be missed! My sincere condolences to his family, friends, and all of his colleagues at both KNX and KFWB! Rest in peace, Jack! You were truly one of a kind! Thank you for all your great work!!!

  49. Debby Green says:

    I am greatly saddened to learn of Jack’s passing. I listened to him for many years and always enjoyed the breadth of knowledge that he brought to his broadcasts, along with his sense of humor. Mornings will not be the same. Rest in peace, Jack. You will be missed.

  50. Viktor K. Decyk says:

    I remember Jack on WAMH Radio at Amherst College in the late 1960s. He had a golden voice. I have always enjoyed listening him over the years and will miss him.

  51. Mark Hallburn says:

    Please, let’s focus on Jack’s great career, not his personal life! Jack was a great news anchor whose hard work benefitted countless listeners!

    1. Metha Sizemore says:

      While I agree with you, there are some personal stories that highlight who he was in person. I recall him being loyal to a stray cat in the 1990s and trying to bring it back to health. I remember when he was determined to learn HTML and “…everything about building this website…!” I remember his humor and wit. And even when he spoke an unkind word towards someone (rare), he was charming. I remember the excitement in his eyes when he spoke of earthquakes. I recall his sadness never getting to go into space. This was a dynamic person and regardless of our personal relations with him, he belonged to the world. Now he belongs to the heavens! He was a class act! I am richer for knowing him.

  52. Rachael says:

    Thank you, Mark.
    I knew both Jack and Jackie. They may have had their problems, but I knew them for many years, pretty much the ones she said. I was enjoying her personal memories. I hope she isn’t scared away and continues to post here.
    Shame on you Foobie and Linda, grow up and honor Jack’s memory.

  53. John Tellez says:

    I just retired from a 40-year career in law enforcement, which contributed to my being a “news junkie”. I looked forward to my drive home after completing an early morning shift and listening to Jack Popejoy on his morning anchor spot at KNX. He was always so upbeat, informative, and truly a scholar. I was also a charter listener of KFWB when they switched from a top 40 format to all-news. I remember Jack from his many years at KFWB. He was a part of the Los Angeles fabric and will be missed.

  54. Brady WInchell says:

    I was and am so very sad to hear of Jack’s passing. I worked at KFWB as the web administrator back in 2000/01 when the site won the Best Web SIte award from the AP. I was hired to “modernize” the site. I worked closely with Jack while redesigning and running the site. He was one of the most generous people, both professionally and personally, that I have ever had the privilege of spending any time with. I last spoke with him this past April. Los Angeles has lost one of it’s greatest personalities. So long, Jack. You will be missed.

  55. Dede Whiteside says:

    I just learned of Jack’s passing last night. He was a wonderful, caring and very intelligent man. I met him when he was PD at KPOL and I was promoting records. We have been in touch over the years every 3 or 4 months at the least, and I just cannot believe he is gone. The world will be lacking someone that cannot be replaced, and I ~ a true friend. What a dear soul.

  56. Bill Marsh says:

    Hey folks, Will probably be the U.S. better off sticking with Syria’s Assad?

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