Joel Connable Has Passed Away

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Former WTVJ anchor Joel Connable passed away yesterday in Seattle. It was a seizure related to his diabetes, he carried an insulin pump with him. A post on his Facebook wall on behalf of his father states his insulin pump malfunctioned – the lead line was disconnected and he didn’t realize it!

I’m at a loss for words. I didn’t know him personally but we emailed back and forth occasionally and I talked to him just a few days ago. He was so upbeat about his new gig at KOMO and getting the opportunity to live in Seattle with his lovely bride to be who meant the world to him, and with his dog Lola.

With him moving to the other side of the continent I asked about his lawsuit with NBC and he assured me he’s going to fight it until the end. A few months ago we had exchanged emails he told me NBC was dragging the lawsuit trying to force him to reveal his income just to slow things down, in his opinion. So I wondered if he wouldn’t be better off settling and putting the whole ordeal behind him but he confided that he declined NBC’s settlement offers because other people who’ve been wronged by the network and WTVJ wouldn’t get justice so he wanted to go all the way not for himself but for the others who couldn’t!

And this is the kind of guy I saw him to be even with the limited contact I had with him over email. Down to earth, nice, you wouldn’t even know he worked in the TV biz. He cared a great deal about people. He cared deeply about WTVJ staffers who he felt weren’t given the opportunity to excel at their jobs. He cared if they were not treated fairly by management. Not something you see often in the TV news business where today’s intern is your replacement tomorrow at less than 1/3 of your salary.

And he was just 39 years old. Too soon.

 

 

31 COMMENTS

  1. I was lucky to have worked with Joel and I knew him for about a dozen years. I had a short chat with him on Facebook last month to congratulate him on the new job he was about to begin at KOMO-TV in Seattle. Now I wish it had been a long chat.

    Joel suffered from Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes, which is different from Type 2 that most of us have heard of. The insulin pump helped regulate his insulin automatically, but a malfunction was apparently something he always had to be on the lookout for. Unfortunately, it appears that he didn’t realize what was happening. Joel was a very ardent supporter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and was honored as its Volunteer of the Year in 2005.

    He was an incredibly sweet guy and a caring friend. He definitely made an impression with the people who knew him well.

  2. What a loss for you to be gone too soon. My sister had worked with you at NBC6, she always had the nicest things to say about you and you helped her along in her career as a journalist. Rest in Peace Joel…..

  3. As an avid watcher of NBC6, Joel had mentioned on-air that he suffered from Type 1 Diabetes. Too soon. Confirms that the Ft Lauderdale Half Marathon I am doing on Sunday for diabetes is one of the best decisions I have made all year. Heartbreaking.

  4. You were such an amazing person. You were more than a mentor for me, you were my friend. I am so sad to hear about your death, but I promise to celebrate your life. I have lots of footage, pictures and outtakes of us during our “Anchor Boot Camp” that you so generously started to help mold us into great reporters/anchors. You will be missed and I love you. Thanks for everything you taught me.

  5. So sad to hear he’s gone. He really was a good guy, and damn those who tried to taint his accomplishments due to jealousy.

  6. Watching NBC6 News is about to kill me! There is one particular anchor who has been at that station since the dark ages which NBC6 must love because as this person is horrible. The best years of NBC6 are in the past, and it is difficult to watch because the majority of Miami/Cuba news readers are amateurish at best.

    R.I.P. Joel Zay Gezunt!

    • Amateurish like your post. This is about Joel and you other crap and other people that has nothing to do with his passing. Way to go moron.

      • Amateurish like your post. This is post is about remembering Joel and you bring up other crap and other people that have nothing to do with his passing. Way to go moron. If you don’t like NBC don’t watch it. Bye

        • This to remember Joel, and he must have thought to himself everyday employed at NBC6 what am I doing working with such lowlifes at NBC6.

  7. Being a friend and former colleague of Joel during his WTVJ days I can vouch for the fact that he cared for us, his co workers. When management didn’t allow me the opportunity to be a director he would come in early or stay late to be my anchor while I directed a newscast so I can learn and define my craft. That kindness and his guidance led me to be a successful director and manager for a national network to this day. I love you Joel and I forever will be greatful but upset that I will never get the chance to thank you the way you should of been thanked. May god rest your soul my friend.

  8. To say “The insulin pump helped regulate his insulin automatically, but a malfunction was apparently something he always had to be on the lookout for. ” is a bit problematic to me. The insulin pump is a manually controlled device. There is nothing automatic about the insulin pump and there is nothing automatic about having Type I Diabetes. You do not get to take a day off from it and you can never let your guard down. It is a disease that requires 24/7 diligence with manually testing blood sugar levels regularly, and manually setting your insulin pump to deliver a steady stream of insulin throughout the day, and also manually controlling the extra insulin they need with meals or to correct for a blood sugar level that is too high or low. Sure, the pump will administer the steady stream of insulin automatically, but it has to be manually set first. It is always a constant balance of trying to keep the blood sugar regulated and not too high or too low, while still trying to live your life and not let the disease dominate your every waking moment. Whether you want to take a nap, or exercise, or eat, or go to a movie, or fly on a plane, or go on a road trip, or get through a long meeting, or just shop for groceries…you have to manually test your blood sugar first to make sure you can safely proceed. I think this is absolutely tragic and is probably the worst nightmare come true for his wife and family. My heart breaks for them!!! Just FYI, a seizure is most likely to happen from low blood sugar though, which is when too much insulin is being delivered. A coma is most likely to happen from high blood sugar, which is when not enough insulin is being delivered. The fact that they are saying he had a seizure leads me to speculate that his blood sugar was too low. If his lead line was disconnected, this would have helped him in the event of a seizure (if the seizure was due to low blood sugar), as the first thing you want to do is cut off the insulin supply so the blood sugar stops dropping. It IS possible he disconnected it himself before the seizure, as his instinct was to stop the supply of insulin. Some diabetics just do not have any sensitivity as to when they are getting too low or too high. That was probably the case with Joel, especially knowing he had a blood sugar imbalance-sniffing therapy dog. If he was naturally sensitive to his highs and lows he would not have needed to be alerted, but instead could have corrected the issue himself just by testing when he started to feel something was wrong. Each person is different with how sensitive they are though, and sensitivity to your own highs and lows is not really something that can be corrected. Again, my heart goes out to his wife and his family, and his loyal dog who remained by his side. I wish there had been a different outcome. It sounds like he was a truly beautiful person.

  9. Socked and saddened to hear this. 39 is much too young and just after getting married and beginning a new chapter in Seattle. My condolences to friends & family. He sounded like a good person. Very sad.

    • I couldn’t agree more. It’s just so heartbreaking to read considering that he was just a newlywed beginning his career in Seattle.

  10. I first contacted Joel via Facebook, just after his release from WTVJ. It was just a friendly note telling him how our family had enjoyed his reporting and anchoring. We talked about our avocations and found out that he had been a NYC paramedic and volunteer firefighter, as had I. That sealed the deal! We soon met for lunch and I told him about our television production company and how we were trying to develop a new reality series based on the fire/rescue service. Before we finished, Joel had tweaked my original idea and we brought it back to the partners, who jumped on board. A few months later, we found ourselves in San Francisco with a good production team from South Florida that Joel had organized, shooting with the San Francisco Fire Department. Even though the show did not come to fruition, a segment that Joel had produced and reported was nominated for a Suncoast Regional Emmy Award. I remember the day he called me, excited by the nomination. Funny, for Joel was already the winner of an Emmy for his broadcast journalism.
    We got together frequently, with my bringing my late dog, Remy, to his apartment, to play with his wonderful dog, Lola. While he and I tried to hammer out a script, the two dogs were running around the apartment. He was kind enough to invite my wife and me to his apartment to watch the Winterfest Boat Parade.
    I last heard from him last Thursday, as he answered an email I had sent him about his relocation to Seattle. He was so happy to be back into television news again and to have the love of his life, Angela, share this wonderful moment, with him. On Saturday, I watched his first news assignment about a diver who killed a giant octopus caught by the Seattle sea shore. The report was “all Joel,” with the classic intonations of his voice and his terrific TV presence. I sent him another email after watching the report and was surprised I had not heard back as he was excellent at prompt correspondence. Now, we all know why.
    Joel was a great guy, very genuine, and a good friend. May he rest in peace.
    Steven S. Greene, President
    Dalmatian Productions, Inc.

  11. Did NBC 6 mention Joel Connable passing? Local 10 has class they mentioned on their facebook page today. I don’t like the “new” NBC 6 they should move Adam back to sports he looks lost and Jackie Nespral looks dumb. Joel had a gift that connected with viewers he should have been the lead anchor their. I always thought that Joel and Julia made a great team together. Joel was strong in delivering news and strong in breaking news. The news still suck on NBC 6 they are slow and half telling stories. Who cares about the fancy new set they are still sorry…

  12. I never enjoyed working with anyone more than Joel. Once we realized we grew up about 20 minutes apart from each other on Long Island, our friendship took off. Now matter how frustrated I got at the t.v. business, Joel was always level-headed and was such a great encourager. We had lunch at 5-Guys when he told me about his venture into the travel industry, I’ll never forget his enthusiasm over that project. I met his parents at ‘TVJ once, they’re great people and I could see where Joel got his kindness and generosity from. He always told me I was the best meteorologist he ever worked with but because he was so nice to everyone I just chalked it up to Joel being Joel, but secretly it meant a lot to me coming from him. Best breaking news guy I ever saw, I’ll never forget his command of the anchor desk when that plane came down in the Hudson River. I truly never worked with, or known anyone in the business that was truly the same person off the air as he was on the air. When I lost my son he was such a great friend and a good listener. He always had time for anyone, his day wasn’t done until he had patted the last person on the back on the way out. A lot of this sounds like the “professional” Joel but that’s because he was the same great guy in “real life” too. Any friend of Joel’s was a friend of mine. I’m sad but will smile a little bit more as each day passes as I remember this gracious, funny, corny, helpful, decent, conscientious, humble guy that could make anything happen just by thinbking about it. Thanks for letting me ramble all the way from San Antonio, I thought about this all day and didn’t really know what I wanted to say until I said it. May God’s peace that passes all understanding be with his family, wife, and close friends.

  13. Even though I don’t live in the South Florida area… I would see Joel as the type of journalist that had a keen eye for great stories… and believed in doing what was right, and not what was politically correct. I saw him on my local CBS affiliate WGCL several times doing his Travel TV News segment on the “Better Mornings Atlanta” newscast, and liked his down to earth personality and unbiased professionalism… thought he was such a breath of fresh air. Given that Joel worked at WTVJ, I believe that the late, legendary Ralph Renick would have been very proud of him.

    RIP Joel. You were loved by so many.

  14. What an embarrassment WTVJ… You don’t even mention the fact that your former MAIN ANCHOR died suddenly and unexpected. It wasn’t on your air, it wasn’t on your website. Why? Because he was suing you for firing him without cause? This is classless. Even competing Miami stations did stories on Joel’s passing. Just terrible WTVJ – you are a shell of your former self. Feel sorry for those that still work there.

    • I noticed that too about WTVJ, not wishing to acknowledge their former anchor who had so much class, and was very well liked and well respected by so many.

      As for the breach of contract suit filed against WTVJ and NBC… I’m assuming that Joel’s estate will continue it, given that NBC is already reaping what it has sown. In my opinion, NBC made the terrible mistake of canning him and other likeable and respected local news talents (in Miami, and at other NBC O&O’s).

      • I agree Eric. They made no mention of Joel’s passing… not a big shock. There are more important stories to run like how many shootings there were in Miami Gardens. What do you expect they have a laughing jackass that reads the news at 6:00 PM, and loves to put up the U sign every time they run a story about University of Miami. WTVJ is a shell of it’s former self. That station is in total chaos you can tell.

  15. Frustrated Viewer I agree 100% with your comments. You mentioned Jackie looks dumb… well she is dumb. She is perfect for the lineup of newscasters at NBC6. If you notice the best anchors move on to better positions usually out of Flori-duh, but Jackie still remains night after night laughing like a hyena after every news story. She left to work in NY and came back to NBC6 as no one could tolerate her when she did the morning show.

    • Why do the people on this blog hold such a grudge against jackie? Is she a diva? Just plain rude? Or is she the type of anchor who shows up an hour before her show, is unfriendly with everyone and complains about bad writing for her on air screw-ups? What is it?

      Don’t talk bad about the lady without any backstory, because it plays off as just plain jealousy! She is Cuban and a former pageant winner. Perfectly qualified for NBC6!

      • Jackie shows up an hour before work. She should do NBC6 viewers a favor and not show up at all. You are correct she is Cuban, so perhaps she would be best suited to work at Univision or Channel 23… si senor.

        The glory days of NBC6/WTVJ are long gone.

  16. From what I’m hearing from everyone, Joel was a great person, may he rest in peace and my condolences to his new wife and family.

    BL

  17. There are more better Cuban journalist than Jackie Nespral. The only thing she has going is looks thats all. She always gets lost when the teleprompter goes off. JOEL MOMENT: I remember several times when teleprompter goes off Joel Connable would keep going and get more into his delivery. One time during the 7pm there was a report on bad breath after that Joel put listerine strips in his mouth and offered Jackie one and Jackie was offended and piss but it was funny if that was Kelly she would have went along with it. Jackie is an anchorwoman not a journalist. I see Shannon, Laurie and Belkys doing special reporting stories Jackie does not. Joel, Julia, Kelly, Kevin are way more qualified than Jackie and Adam. Nothing in management has changed just the same old people moving in newer positions. Two things why Jackie is on there: looks and Today Show. The auto special on Friday was horrible. What happened to Bob Mayer who was suppose to do specials for station?

    • Yeah, frustrated viewer like you mentioned there are more qualified Cuban news readers than Jerkie. She can not take a joke (that must be the Cuban coming out) like the one Joel tried on the air. Bob Mayer most likely does not even want to be mentioned in the same breath as NBC6 as that station’s news is an embarrassment.

  18. Thank you for writing an honest and accurate report. I adored Joel. He meant the world to me. It is hard to imagine my life without him. Please contact me to organize a charity 5k run/walk to benefit Juvenile Diabetes.

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