The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department are deeply saddened to report the death of Jack Popejoy, a legendary newsman and longtime friend of the LAFD.
For millions in Los Angeles and beyond, Jack was for decades the endearing and deeply trusted news professional who informed us in times of joy and duress. With an unparalleled skill for sharing word of disaster, in-progress events, science issues and other hard news, he was rightfully called "the go-to guy when the world starts shaking".
Heard and seen frequently on CBS, BBC, CNN, ABC, Group W and countless broadcasters across the globe, Jack is most fondly remembered for his clear, confident and always calm voice on radio stations KFWB and KNX during such landmark events as the Challenger disaster, the Northridge Earthquake and the Los Angeles Riots.
At any office water cooler, or the entrance to a public shelter following disaster, one could be almost certain to hear "Well, Jack Popejoy says...", a vote of confidence well placed in a man who shared his work seriously.
...and we emphasize share, because watching and listening to Jack Popejoy was always like being in the presence of a dear and knowledgeable friend - who despite being a broadcaster, was somehow always speaking directly to you.
Yes, Jack was that good: Earning 27 Golden Mike Awards from the Radio & Television News Association, and in 1998 being named Journalist of the Year by the Society of Professional Journalists in Los Angeles for his work at the aforementioned broadcasters, as well as television stations KTLA and KCOP.
But that is only part of the story...
Jack Popejoy was involved in emergency planning and management, contributing his significant expertise to the City of Los Angeles Emergency Operations Organization for more years than any other person, and remained an adviser to the County of Los Angeles Office of Emergency Management and ardent supporter of the American Red Cross.
Moreso, Jack Popejoy was a unparalleled mentor and dear friend to our Los Angeles Fire Department media relations staff, always taking time in and outside the studio to offer helpful suggestions and more often to inquire about LAFD policies, protocols and procedures. So devoted was he to understanding and communicating life safety issues, that the Los Angeles Fire Department proudly 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. To this day, many are surprised to hear that the humble Mr. Popejoy was a Regional Semi-Finalist in NASA's Journalist-in-Space competition, which was cancelled in the wake of the Challenger disaster.
As one of the creators of the annual Great California ShakeOut, with 8 million participants, and a valued crisis communications trainer to countless public officials, Jack leaves a legacy of excellence, as well as an emotional hole in our hearts.
Services for Jack Popejoy have yet to be announced.
View and share your thoughts on Twitter: #knxpopejoy
Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department