Jun 19, 2012

"Whad'Ya Know?" announcer Jim Packard dies at 70

Jim Packard, longtime announcer on pubradio's Whad'Ya Know?, died Monday (June 18) at a New York City hospital. He was 70.

Host Michael Feldman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Packard suffered from cardiopulmonary disease and that "his lung fuction had been decreasing visibly" for the past eight months.

The newspaper said Packard had been in New York for a live broadcast of the popular quiz show on June 9, at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University. He entered the hospital on June 10. Feldman said Packard was "great" on the June 9 show, although "noticeably slower in his delivery."

Feldman said he would address Packard's death on Saturday's show. "I'll speak from my heart for a while," he said, "and do the show. Jim would tell you, the show is the thing."

Packard had retired from Wisconsin Public Radio in 2010. "We're all deeply saddened by the news," said WPR Director Mike Crane on a tribute page on the station's website. "We loved Jim, and Jim returned that love to his colleagues and to listeners everywhere."

Oregon net's licenses are in jeopardy as board considers options

A mediated agreement between a fundraising arm of Oregon’s Jefferson Public Radio and Southern Oregon University would sever the foundation from the network, according to the Mail Tribune. But the paper cites anonymous sources who say that members of the foundation’s board may instead resign en masse this week rather than accept the agreement. SOU holds the licenses for some of Jefferson Public Radio’s stations.

Disbanding the board may jeopardize some of JPR’s broadcast licenses and other assets, though a lawyer has advised the foundation that accepting the mediation agreement could have the same effect. The agreement reportedly would require the JPR Foundation to transfer the licenses and other assets to a new nonprofit. But in a letter obtained by the newspaper, communications attorney John Crigler warns that the licenses could be revoked if transferred without FCC approval.

The university and JPR have been locked in a dispute over the leadership of the network and its foundation, as well as management of related assets. For background, see our earlier article about the situation. JPR Foundation board members will meet Friday to discuss the proposed agreement for settling the dispute.