Every day, 90.9 broadcasts classical music and jazz through well-curated playlists and programs.

In Memoriam: Jack Goggin

As host of Film Classics with Jack Goggin for decades, he was known for his profound knowledge of music and curated a vast collection for his loyal followers’ enjoyment across the Detroit Metro region.

Our colleague, longtime friend and 90.9 host Jack Goggin passed away July 24, 2023 at his home following a prolonged illness. He was 68.

Jack was a consummate professional and cinematic music aficionado, loved by countless music lovers throughout the Metro Detroit area. He will be greatly missed, not only by his family here at 90.9 and Detroit Public Television, but by all those in our community who loyally followed him throughout his time with the station.

For decades, Jack shared his love of music with Metro Detroit over the airwaves. He joined 90.9 in 2005 and became the dynamic host of the long-running Sunday evening show, Film Classics with Jack Goggin, a weekly hour-long radio program devoted to music written for motion pictures. The show consisted primarily of orchestral scores from the early ‘30s — which was the beginning of talking pictures and background scoring — to the present.

“I am so saddened by the passing of my dear friend and colleague,” said his colleague and 90.9 host Dave Wagner. “It seems as though we have always known each other, since we first met back in 1980 when WQRS (a classical music station in Detroit for more than 30 years) went to a 24-hour operation. I was hired a week after Jack, and we became good friends through various ownership changes to that station before it went silent in 1997.”

Jack approached his radio program with meticulous care, handpicking music for every show. It was the only 90.9 production exclusively devoted to music from the 20th and 21st centuries, featuring new material as well as new recordings of classic scores by the old masters of the genre, like Steiner, Korngold and Herrmann. Occasionally, he devoted the show to a single score, like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, or followed a clever or quirky theme, like “Submarine Movies.”

“Jack had a huge following with his 43 yearlong radio program, Film Classics, Wagner said. “He loved being in the studio each and every week sharing his vast collection of film score recordings and, of course, his endless knowledge of every detail of every film.”

Apart from being dedicated to his program and loyal following, Jack was completely devoted to his biggest fans – his family – Gail, his wife and partner of nearly 40 years, and their daughter Elizabeth, who often visited her Dad at the station during her formative years.

Jack will be remembered as an authentic and rare radio talent, who used the microphone to personally communicate and connect with his audience. For five years, he also served as music director of 90.9 and created a unique station “sound,” which captured the hearts of thousands of WRCJ members.

Jack began his radio career at KBIA-FM at the University of Missouri. He landed a gig working for WQRS-FM, where he worked for 17 years and made a name for himself among Detroit radio listeners before joining WRCJ at the behest of Wagner.

But Jack was more than a radio personality; he was a music academic who cultivated a wide musical repertoire. Passionate about his craft and the audience he served, he showed effusive gratitude to his loyal supporters.

“Jack must have possessed a photographic memory,” said his colleague and friend Peter Whorf, host of 90.9’s Midday Music. “He could drop a surprising and detailed story on you any time – like what Beethoven wore to a premiere or Mozart’s favorite dessert. Jack was personally and intimately connected to great music – and all of us who love it. He served Detroit audiences over parts of six decades. The radio won’t be the same without him.”

“I’m very grateful for everything he taught me” said his friend and colleague Adam Hinton. “Thinking of Jack, I can’t help but recall the music he started and ended every show with, Max Steiner’s main title sequence from Since You Went Away.”

Thank you, Jack. We’ll miss you.

-The Staff of 90.9