Monday, September 01, 2014

The LuLac Edition #2721, September 1st, 2014


The late Kevin Jordan. (Photo: Face book).
Our longtime friend Kevin Jordan died Sunday night after a long, arduous battle with lung disease. I had known Kevin since 1975 when we met on the radio trail. He was working at WBAX and then later moved on to WARM. I posted a story about our meeting on my 590 Forever WARM blog site a few years ago and Kevin was both amused and thrilled by what I wrote. In an e mail we commiserated about that car he drove as well as parking in Scranton in the mid 70s. (That story appears in this Edition.
Jordan was a true broadcast reporter who believed that no story was too big or too small to cover. As a Radio reporter he believed that two things were need to excel, accuracy and speed. He always wanted the story first but never hesitated to share any tips or information that would help any broadcasting in search of a story. He knew the consumer was not just a WARM or WYOU audience but any outlet that people were tuning into at the time.
On TV Jordan was a mainstay on the old WDAU and WYOU TV. His on the spot and succinct delivery made him the “go to” guy for News Directors and the “Must Watch” reporter for viewers. A friend of mine, not in the business which makes this compliment all the more important remarked, “You never changed the channel when you heard Kevin Jordan was reporting on a story”.
I got to know him during our 70s and 80s association with the NEPA Professional News Media Association. He was the President, I was the Secretary and the late Ed Hughes was the Treasurer. That Media Association brought in various out of town journalists, had on the record meetings with local and statewide officials and was a training ground for any number of people that were in the media throughout the 70s and 80s. Our “Godfathers” were David DeCosmo and the late Tom Moran of the Times Leader, Sunday Independent and Luzerne County Community College. Jordan was never afraid to take advice from guys who were there on the ground floor.
After broadcasting, Jordan was head of the Election Bureau in Luzerne County and then moved on to private business. We’d e mail and chat on Face book. The topic would always start out on baseball, politics, pop culture or just anything inane….but we always ended up speaking about broadcasting, remembering the old faces and voices, critiquing the new comers. Kevin Jordan was a fun person to be around with an ironic wry wit and a sense of humor. Most of us will smile every time we think of one of his remarks.
This week there will be many Kevin Jordan stories told. He will be remembered well. With his knowledge, drive, passion and ambition, I feel Jordan could have been a player in a major market. Assessing his life’s work, perhaps it is unfortunate for him that he didn’t take that route. However, it is fortunate for us here in Northeastern Pennsylvania that he didn’t. We had the opportunity to see a real professional in our midst. 

Kevin Jordan at the Ted Kennedy for President rally on Public Square in Wilkes Barre in the spring of 1980. (Photo: LuLac archives). 

As a member of the WARM News team, Jordan was always front and center at any story or station event. (Photo: Andy Palumbo blog and Bobby Day Face book page).  

 Screenshot of David DeCosmo and Kevin Jordan who teamed as two reporters for Luzerne and Lackawanna County in the old WDAU TV news days. (Photo: Carl Abraham Tribute page to WDAU TV). 



I first met Kevin Jordan when I was on a College Internship from King’s College with WARM Radio. (Actually they had us go to WARM, WILK, WBRE AM & FM, and WMJW –FM). My first week at WARM was spent with the sales department. (That’s a future WARM Memory). By the second week I was in the newsroom with a very skeptical Jerry Heller who most likely had seen his share of lightweight interns. For the first day I re-wrote news copy and much to my surprise I found that it wasn’t edited that much. The next day I covered Luzerne County with Kitch Loftus. On Wednesday I was told I’d be out with Kevin Jordan, then barely 19 and one of the rising stars of WARM Radio. He was then working the 3 to 11 shift so I killed about 5 hours and then went on the road with him. It was one of those cold January days where the temperature barely broke 12. We sped up 81 to Scranton City Hall for a Council work session. As I stated earlier it was a bitter day but the January sun was blinding. To this day I don’t know how he did it, but he squeezed his little red car (a fire engine red Pinto) into a parking space with little room to spare. The sun was so intense that I swear he parked the car by intuition. In City Hall, Jordan literally lunged for then Mayor Peters, got his sound bite and then spotted Deputy Mayor Jim McNulty who was on the verge of resigning to run the Frank Elliott for Senator campaign. More sound. We then went to the Police Station and in what could only be described as a scene out of Law and Order, Jordan talked with two City Detectives about an ongoing murder investigation. More sound. Not wanting to relinquish his parking spot, we sprinted (when I could sprint) to the Lackawanna County Court House. Jordan saw Commissioner Charlie Luger and got his take on water tables up near Moosic in an area that was destined to be Montage Mountain. More sound. We then paid a visit to Register of Wills Sam Cali asking him about a new state regulation regarding probate of wills for senior citizens. More Sound. We then made our way down to Moosic where there was a small fire at Glenwood Products. Talked to the Fire Chief, water and smoke damage. More sound. In one afternoon Jordan with his trusty recorder got 6 stories for WARM News. He called “sound” in on the fire, aired three of them and back logged two of them for future use on WARM News. We got back to the Studio at 5:30PM, and after a brief lunch break Jordan anchored the WARM newscasts until 11:30PM. It was an amazing display of how WARM News reporters worked. It gave me an insight on how Jerry Heller insisted that a beat be covered efficiently and dare I say prolifically. Jordan was at WARM from 1975-1979. He came from WILK and returned to WILK as News Director. In 1981 WILK won the Joe Snyder Award for the year 1980 as the best medium market radio news department in the state. Jordan says “That was due in no small part from the training I got from guys like Jerry Heller and David DeCosmo” Jordan later went on to anchor and report news on WYOU TV.
It would be my good fortune to interact with Kevin Jordan many times in the future most notably when the Professional News Media Association was in existence. Anyway, back to the story. The next day I walked into the WARM News Department and Heller glanced at me obviously frazzled looking ahead to a busy day of news. “Got your car?” he asked. “Yep” I replied. Hurling a tape recorder at me, he said, “There’s a big meeting down at the Host Inn to plan a visit for this peanut farmer from Georgia that thinks he can be President. Get some sound and then call it in if there’s anything good”. Puzzled, I asked, “How will I know if it’s good?” He replied intently typing, not raising his head, “You were out with Kevin yesterday, you’ll know”. And I did.


At 1:38 PM, Blogger Better Life Seminars said...

Very sad about Kevin and a very nice post.

At 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The rare man in any market, a true professional. Radio or TV Kevin was top of the line always. A sad loss
and an excellent Lulac post. Sincere, accurate and touching.
RIP Mr Jordan.

At 10:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kevin did a great job when he moved into Voter Services. He inherited a mess there and straightened it out. R.I.P.

At 9:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very nice post, David. Kevin and his sense of humor will be missed. He was a gentleman, a friend and a true professional.
Lorri Lewis

At 8:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew of Kevin from radio & TV, but got to be with him when he was the "Voice of the Queensmen", and I operated the scoreboard. It was a thrill to work next to him, to see the passion he put in to his job. Just talking to him you wouldn't guess to the depth of his voice and the amazing delivery he gave to those basketball games @ O'Reilly. RIP Kevin. Bob Chez


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