James White, public radio newscaster, dies at 60

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JamesWhite.

James White, a longtime public radio newscaster, died Aug. 13 of pancreatic cancer, according to Dolores Wynn, his sister. He was 60.

White spent most of his broadcasting career at WAMU in Washington, D.C., where he filled various host and producer roles over 24 years. He began hosting an overnight jazz program when he joined the station in 1983 and in 2003 began hosting local All Things Considered broadcasts. He also reported and handled engineering and producing for the station, according to his LinkedIn profile.

“I met James when I began working at WAMU in the mid-1990s. He will be deeply missed,” said NPR newscaster Lakshmi Singh in an email. “James cared about the on-air product, he cared about getting the story right, he cared about providing context, he cared about the integrity of the broadcast. In the time that I knew James, he was not afraid to push the limits of news coverage and that influenced those of us who, back then, were still new to the profession.”

Mostly recently, White worked as a part-time host and producer at WYPR in Baltimore, where he hosted local All Things Considered airings. He also hosted pledge drives for Maryland Public Television.

Wynn said that he continued to work even when he became ill.

“He loved his job,” she said.

  • Max Cacas

    Um, I find it highly ironic that you posted a picture of the late James White behind the microphone at WTOP radio, where he was also an anchor, without ANY mention of his service at that station in the obit. He also anchored at WNEW-FM here in D.C. more recently. And he worked at a number of other broadcast news operations here in D.C.

    I expected better of Current .

    • Hi Max — I’m sorry you found the article lacking. Our obituaries are rarely exhaustive treatments of the subject’s full career, and White worked at a number of places. With our focus on public media, we chose to highlight his contributions to public radio. Thanks for your comment.

      • Max Cacas

        Mike, thanks for the prompt reply. So, you don’t find it unusual publishing a picture of James working at WTOP, and *not* mentioning it in your article? I understand that your obits may not be “exhaustive”, but at the very least, they could be at least an *accurate* accounting of the person’s life and career. And I would be happy to help gather info from some of James’ other colleagues & friends if you want to add *one* sentence reflecting his other career stops to this online version. Just let me know…

        • Regarding the photo, no, I don’t find that unusual. It’s likely that with other obituaries, we have also used photos of the subject in a particular setting and not necessarily alluded to or explained that setting in the obituary.

          Can an obituary be accurate and not list every job someone held? I believe so.

          • Max Cacas

            Mike, it sounds to me as if you’re not willing to go the extra mile to make the obit truly *accurate*. The item makes it look as if his entire career was spent in public broadcasting, with the majority of that time at WAMU. Which simply is not accurate. As I said, all you need is one sentence — two lines tops — to include the call letters of the other radio stations and news outlets where James White *also* worked. Yes, I know better than you likely give me credit for that Current’s mission is to report on public media. But many of us who have worked in public media have *also* had careers where we have also worked for commercial organizations. Those jobs are*just* as valid as any in public media. So I guess its more important for you to stick to your guns, and leave a *once* loyal reader frustrated and disappointed that you won’t make your story better, even when I offer to help you improve it, and provide a full and final accounting of a colleague’s career at the end of his life. So be it. Good day.

          • colbertesque

            Mr. Cacas passed away today. He had an extensive career as an award-winning journalist, including a stint at WOSU Public Media. I pray his obit, which he merits, will be accurate. He had an impressive career, doing stellar work for numerous outlets, commercial and public. As you experienced, he was a stickler for accuracy and for working to the highest standard. Trust me, you never knew a finer newsman.

  • A new legend. RIP.