Richard Hake, longtime broadcaster and trusted voice of New York public radio station WNYC and Morning Edition, died on Friday at age 51.
Hake was a beloved SAG-AFTRA member and a union shop steward who cared deeply for his colleagues. He died at home of natural causes, his family told the city’s radio station.
He worked for WNYC for nearly 30 years as a host, reporter, and producer. WNYC's listeners were intimately familiar with Hake's work — he spoke to New Yorkers through September 11, the 2003 blackout, Superstorm Sandy and the coronavirus pandemic. He was a member of every AFTRA and SAG-AFTRA NYPR negotiating committee from the first contract in 2000, the year he joined the union along with his station colleagues.
“For all of us at New York Public Radio and in WNYC’s listening community, Richard was one of the first voices we heard every morning. As the host of Morning Edition, he brought us the news, welcomed the new day, and helped us get ready for whatever lay ahead,” New York Public Radio President and CEO Goli Sheikholeslami said in a statement.
“It was the position he always wanted, and he worked very hard to get there. He loved to say he ‘woke up New York,’ and he brought the same warmth and generosity to listeners that he shared with his colleagues every day.”
Hake’s work was broadcast on nationally syndicated NPR shows like Weekend Edition and All Things Considered.
"He was the guy we could throw into the studio with a moment's notice to try and divine the facts of a moving situation and impart that information to our listeners. That is a remarkable, remarkable skill," said Nancy Solomon, a WNYC editor who worked with Hake on Morning Edition.
“It's hard to explain just how important Richard was to WNYC,” tweeted producer Rebecca Ibarra. “What a pleasure it was to listen to him and see his face every weekday. He cared about his listeners deeply and about his colleagues. He was a fierce defender of the little guy. Breathtakingly professional and kind.”
Ibarra was recently elected NYPR steward and credits Hake and his care for new employees as part of her inspiration for running. She recalls fondly that he always told producers and new employees, “Log your hours!” as though it was a mantra. He wanted to make sure everyone knew their worth, was being paid and getting all the benefits of the contract.
Photo Credit: Matthew Septimus/New York Public Radio
- Local News