Jack Hogan, longtime News Director of WZZM passed away Thursday in Florida. He was 89 years old. Jack also worked for the city of Grand Rapids. He was past president of the Radio and Television News Directors Assn.
Jack hired me in Nov. 1974. I did the weather on radio (WZZM-FM) and WZZM-TV weekday mornings and Saturday evening. I worked 6 days a week for $175 a week salary. Craig James and I made a couple extra dollars giving specific forecasts in the winter to ski resorts (like Cannonsburg) and municipalities (like the city of Grand Rapids). Jack hired me over a number of candidates that had TV experience. He told me he saw an enthusiasm that would connect with viewers. He also noted that I was an Eagle Scout. Jack was a Scoutmaster and admired those who earned the rank of Eagle.
When I showed up, the news anchors on WZZM were Cal Wierenga and Jim Rummel. Dick Nelson, Henry Capogna and Anne Doyle did sports. Eventually, Lee Van Ameyde and Barry Shanley took over the anchor chairs.
Jack literally knew everyone in town. I’d walk down the street with him and just about everyone stopped to give a friendly “hello”. He got news tips from his many contacts. Anyone remember the series on “The King of Newaygo”?
Jack thrived on people contact. When he retired, he decided to run a checkout lane at Meijers. So, he went down and filled out an application. For his two references, he listed Fred Meijer and President Gerald Ford!
Later he relocated to Clermont, Florida, where he ran for city councilman – and won.
Jack was very loyal to his alma mater, Michigan State.
I was at the Coast Guard Festival Saturday – I think I’ve been at Coast Guard every year since I came to West Michigan. My first Coast Guard Parade was in 1975. The news anchors, the reporters, everyone came to the big parades back then. After the parade, we all went to Fracano’s for pizza.
Jack hired good people and let them do their job without a lot of micro-managing. Not only was he News Director, but he produced and anchored the news segments on Eyewitness at Noon.
I have thousands of people (literally) to thank for my long and happy career as a broadcast meteorologist in West Michigan. After my wife, Jack Hogan would be at the top of that list, R.I.P_.