Jack Lease

Emmy-winning broadcaster Jack Lease died Sept. 7 of lung cancer at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta. He was 72.

Lease began his career in 1947 as projectionist and film editor for the Dumont TV Network’s WDTV, Channel 3, in Pittsburgh.

In 1951, while serving in the Korean War, he ran the film department of the U.S. Army Signal Corps. He later returned to broadcasting as a production engineer for Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV, Channel 2.

From 1967-1970, Lease worked as program manager at Kaiser Broadcasting. During the following three years, he produced Pittsburgh Penguins hockey games at WPGH-TV.

Lease served double duty from 1973-74 as both manager and announcer for the Bucks Roller Derby team. As announcer, he assumed the pseudonym “J.J. Janowitz,” becoming a popular radio personality.

A three-year stint as operations manager at WAST-TV in Albany, N.Y., preceded his 15-year term as vice president of programming and operations at WXIA-TV, 11 in Atlanta.

Lease produced the Georgia Tech U. coaches’ show, coverage of the Atlanta Steeplechase, live high school football and the first United Negro College Fund telethon.

He also served as vice president of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences before retiring from Atlanta’s WXIA-TV, Channel 11 in 1992.

Lease won regional Emmys for children’s programming in 1986, ’88, and ’89. NATAS honored his career with the org’s Silver Circle Award in 1991. He also received an Associated Press Radio-Television Award for Excellence.

He remained active as a broadcast consultant during his retirement.

He is survived by wife Felicia, a daughter, a son, two brothers and 16 grandchildren.

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