Jack Joseph Brosnan, 1924-2015

“There was a time in Reno when the casino workers’ best friend was Jack Joseph. When they got off swing shift at midnight and went home to unwind, the late-night movies he hosted were the only thing on the air,” writes Dennis Myer of the Reno News and Review in August 2006.

Much of what Jack did on-air; either in radio or on the television would be considered hokey by today’s standards — with his down-home approach and corn-ball sense of humor — but in the 80’s he was the pinnacle that many in the broadcast business secretly want to be like. He knew how to get the stars talking and he knew how to get his audience involved.

Eventually, his show was cancelled and now only his coupons book are what newcomers to the area know him best for instead of his signature sign-off of, “blue skies, green lights and peace.” The “Jack Joseph Coupon Books” are still delivered to area mailboxes every month.

Born Jack Joseph Brosnan in Binghamton New York, August 25th, 1924, he passed away at the age of 91 on November 13th, 2015, in Reno, Nevada. Jack was preceded in death by his parents and two older sisters and is survived by his wife of 61 years Helen Kitt, daughter Jacqueline and cousins Edward, (Leslie) Ann, Michael and James Rapson.

Jack graduated from Central High in Syracuse New York and at the age of 18, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. As a member of B Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Regiment, 5th Marine Division, he was with the first wave to hit the beach during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Wounded twice during the battle, Jack was awarded he Purple Heart and was present for the raising of the U.S. flag on Mt. Suribachi.

Following World War II, he returned to school on the G.I. bill, graduating from Syracuse University to become a radio and TV announcer. His first gig was at WMBO in Auburn NY with a semi classical show called “The Jack J. Brosnan Show.”

Later he worked at WOLF, Syracuse NY; WGR in Buffalo, NY; WCLR, Clearfield, PA; WKKO, Cocoa Beach FL along the east coast. Moving west he could be heard on such notable stations as KTSM radio /TV, El Paso Texas and KSL radio /TV, Salt Lake City, Utah.

First arriving in Reno, Nevada, in 1962, Jack’s voice could be heard on KOH, KOLO radio/TV, and later on KCBN, broadcasting his shows live from the Waldorf restaurant on South Virginia Street in downtown Reno. He also hosted dance parties at the historic Riverside Hotel Casino and was even referred to as “The man who knew his music,” by Metronome and Down Beat magazines, both forerunners of today’s Rolling Stone and Billboard Magazines.

He hosted the TV shows, “‘The Jack Joseph Late Night Horror Show” and his “After Hours” show with many great movies and on camera interviews with performing artists and TV and movie stars that came to town. Jack also enjoyed broadcasting at the Reno Air Races and the Great Reno Balloon Races and was instrumental in starting the Catholic Mass TV, which still airs Sundays on KOLO TV.

In 2006, Jack was inducted into the Nevada Broadcast Hall of Fame. While I was working for KROW in Reno, I had the pleasure of getting to know him as he plied his one-of-a-kind craft, down the hallway from me at KNEV, during the early 90s.

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