Longtime WECT broadcaster Wayne Jackson dies at age 96

Jackson started working at WECT, then known as WMFD, in 1954 -- just months before Hurricane Hazel hit.
Published: May. 30, 2023 at 11:19 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Longtime WECT broadcaster Wayne Jackson passed away at the age of 96 on Monday.

Jackson started working at WECT, then known as WMFD, in 1954 -- just months before Hurricane Hazel hit.

Jackson was host of a 90-minute talk show called Relax with Jax interviewing sports icons.

Jackson also was a sports anchor and station manager at WECT before retiring in in June 1989.

“Wayne was just a great person,” said Former WECT Employee Bill Cameron. “He was a happy person. He was a helpful person, he liked to help other people. He was a joy to be with. He treated people with kindness and care, and he was just a wonderful, wonderful broadcaster. He had broadcasting in his blood.”

Cameron’s family owned WECT from the late-1950s to the mid-1980s. Cameron says Jackson he and Jackson were good friends.

“He just had that natural instinct of how to do it,” said Cameron. “How to interview people, how to talk to people, and just get the best out of them to get good stories out of them. Get their personal, fun stories and good stories. He just had a gift of being able to naturally communicate.”

Jackson’s interview with Jackie Robinson was the first time a black man was interviewed on television in southeastern North Carolina. An avid sports fan, Jackson was a member of the UNC Wilmington basketball broadcast team after his retirement from WECT.

“It’s a sad time for Seahawk Nation. Wayne was a good friend to UNCW and to the athletics department, in particular. He loved being around our coaches and student-athletes and supporting them in whatever way he could. And they loved him intrinsically,” said UNCW Senior Associate Athletic Director Joe Browning.

“On a personal note, he was like a second father to me. I will miss our long talks about Seahawk athletics, the Chicago Cubs and the changing landscape of the local media. Wayne always had time for everyone,” Browning said.

In 2006, Jackson was inducted into the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame.