Jim Packard, a Wisconsin Public Radio legend, died on Mon.,June 18, after a yearlong battle with cardiopulmonary disease. He was 71.
A staple on Wisconsin Public Radio, Packard wore multiple hats at the station, where he was often heard between shows and producing for Conversations with Larry Meiller.
Most notably, Packard worked with Michael Feldman to produce Whad'Ya Know, an interview and quiz radio show.
Packard and his wife, Deb, reportedly had theater tickets and planned to spend a couple of extra days in New York City after a live June 9 Whad'Ya Know? broadcast.
But according to the Wisconsin State Journal, Packard's health quickly deteriorated, and he was admitted to a New York City hospital where he stayed for eight days before dying.
Packard was a good-hearted, well-humored gentleman, his wife of 31 years told the Journal.
Jim Packard was often seen as the brains behind the Whad'Ya Know, show, where he often wore a baseball cap with an attached webcam, known by fans as the Jim CaM. On the show, Jim read questions and honked a loud air horn.
In 2010, he retired from full-time work at Wisconsin Public Radio to focus on his cowboy poetry.
Jim was the best, Feldman told the Journal in an interview.
As an announcer, he was unbeatable. His voice and his general being is something people -- [not just in] Wisconsin, but all over -- I think, could relate to.
Packard could be heard throughout the day on WPR announcements while he also worked behind the scenes as a producer.
Jim was a wonderful guy, the consummate professional, always knew the right questions to ask, Larry Meiller told the local Wisconsin news outlet. He was unerring in his ability to get exactly the right guest for the topics he wanted to cover. Most of all for me, he was just a great friend.
Feldman went on to call Packard an irreplaceable cohort. There really can be no replacement for him. We certainly can have other announcers. But there aren't any other Jims out there, I know.