Richard Hake, a WNYC news host, reporter and producer for the past 28 years, died on Friday at his home in Manhattan. He was 51.
Goli Sheikholeslami, the chief executive of WNYC, confirmed the death on Saturday. A cause of death was not yet known.
“For all of us at New York Public Radio and in WNYC’s listening community, Richard was one of the first voices we heard every morning,” Ms. Sheikholeslami said, adding that he loved to say he “woke up New York.”
Mr. Hake produced and created live radio feature segments for WNYC that focused on breaking news, culture and artistic sound portraits.
His work was also featured on local and national NPR programs, including, “Morning Edition,” which he hosted, “Weekend Edition,” “All Things Considered” and “On the Media.”
Mr. Hake earned awards from The Associated Press Broadcasters Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and other organizations for his feature and documentary work, including the “Coney Island Cyclone Anniversary” and “The Perfume of the Bronx.”
Karen Frillmann, Mr. Hake’s editor and colleague at WNYC for nearly 20 years, said he was a “very local young man who brought his passions for New York to the WNYC newsroom.”
“He was unflappable as a broadcaster,” she said. “He really had an appetite for everything that New York offered.”
Ms. Frillmann said Mr. Hake could deliver breaking news as it was still coming in, noting that “he had to fill time and tap dance a little bit and say the right things and not misspeak, live on the radio, which is really a trick.”
“Richard was always calm,” she said, adding that he made the people sitting across from him “feel like, ‘OK, we’re just talking to each other.’”
Richard Scott Hake was born on Jan. 4, 1969, in the Bronx to Richard James Hake, a New York City police detective, and Joy Mekeland, a clerical worker and secretary. His parents divorced in 1986, and his mother married Joseph Colombo, an IT consultant, in 1994.
Chuck Singleton, the general manager of the Fordham station WFUV-FM and a former professor of Mr. Hake’s, remembered him in his early college years as driven, hungry and fearless about getting in front of a microphone.
“I worked with him in the newsroom, trained him in the newsroom and also taught him in that style of long-form audio production that NPR is known for,” he said, adding that Mr. Hake immediately took to radio.
Mrs. Colombo described her son as a social person who also loved theater. In December 2011, he made his Broadway debut as a chimney sweep in “Mary Poppins.”
In addition to his mother, Mr. Hake is survived by his father; his stepfather; his brothers, Ryan and Jack; and a sister, Christine Hake.
Aimee Ortiz contributed reporting.