Rod Hansen, a Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame inductee and longtime WJR-AM radio journalist, passed away July 4 at his Canton, Michigan home.
While at WJR, he earned dozens of awards during his 38-year career, including two Peabody Awards, one for a 23-part series exposing high-level corruption and collusion between judges, staff and attorneys at Detroit’s federal bankruptcy court and another that helped exonerate a man wrongfully convicted of his girlfriend’s murder. Hansen also won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Associated Press, and was a member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.
Hansen earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Bowling Green State University in 1963. After working in radio news in Akron, Ohio, he joined WJR in 1967 as evening news anchor and shortly thereafter became a reporter, covering the Detroit riot.
Among the stories Hansen broke, was the disappearance of Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa in 1975.
Rick Pluta, Capitol Bureau Chief of the Michigan Public Radio Network said “Rod Hansen was simply the best. His work at WJR brought justice to the innocent and to the guilty. In the final stage of his career, he made it easy (easier, at least) to cover some high-profile federal court cases. And that ain’t easy. He will certainly be missed.”
Services were held July 7 in Canton. He is survived by his wife, Christine, son, Eric; three daughters, Kristen Roy, Heidi Watson and Kelly Hansen; and five grandchildren.