Don Haney, Host Of "Haney's Jazz," Dies At Age 80

Mar 24, 2015

Don Haney, host of KUAR's Haney's Jazz and former midday announcer at KUAR and KLRE, died on Tuesday, March 24. Haney was 80. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, March 31 at Ashby Funeral Home.

Don Haney
Credit haneysjazz.com

Haney had a distinguished career in broadcasting. Born and raised in Detroit, Haney grew up dreaming about becoming a radio announcer. "I became interested in radio as a child of about 10 or 11," he told Arts Scene host Ann Nicholson in a 2011 interview. "I would listen intently to the radio broadcasts and decided then that I wanted a career in broadcasting, and I never let go of that idea."

Haney attended Wayne State University in Detroit. "All during my years in college, I was very much interested in working at WJR in Detroit, which was a 50,000 watt... still is a 50,000 watt... clear channel radio station and that was the apex of broadcasting in Detroit." At the time, the only jobs for African American announcers in Detroit was as rhythm and blues deejays, which was not the direction Haney wanted to go. "Instead of giving me a fit of depression," Haney told Tim Kiska for a book on Detroit broadcasting, "it spurred me on."

Haney went to Ontario, Canada, where he found success working at several radio stations and where his work was broadcast coast-to-coast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. When he returned to Detroit in the 1960s to help with the family business, the climate had changed, and Haney's childhood dream was fulfilled when he went to work for WJR in 1964. Three years later he was hired as a news reporter for WXYZ-TV in Detroit.

Haney hosted Haney's People, a talk show broadcast Sundays on WXYZ from 1967 to 1981. "Mostly the show concerned itself with local, national and international politics. I had a number of personalities on the show discussing events that took place around the world." In 1981, Haney joined Detroit Cablevision as executive vice president in charge of creative programming.

Haney came to Arkansas with his wife Brenda, an Arkansas native, in 2006. Despite having retired, Haney took a part time job as an announcer on KLRE and KUAR in 2006. In 2008, he started hosting Haney's Jazz, a weekly jazz show on KUAR.

Haney developed his love of jazz in his hometown. "The city of Detroit developed a number of clubs - jazz clubs. Miles Davis would appear, all the big names in jazz appeared, so I got the opportunity to see and hear many of my favorites... I managed to be able to hold on to my love of jazz regardless of what I did in other aspects of radio."

Despite his medical condition over the past two years, Haney continued to produce his jazz show from his home in Bauxite.

Don Haney is survived by his wife Brenda, two daughters, and one grandchild, along with stepchildren and stepgrandchildren.