The more I think about it as an adult, the more obvious it becomes why I ended up a journalist. Growing up in Saratoga Springs, my heroes were mostly local journalists—reporters at the local newspaper or broadcast affiliates. I remember wondering at Mary Caroline Powers’ writing in The Saratogian (she was my friend’s mom), having another friend’s mom who worked the graveyard shift at the Albany Times Union (I believe she was a copyeditor) and following the broadcast news reporting of WNYT NewsChannel 13’s co-anchors, Ed Dague and Chris Kapostasy. (I also worshipped Ernie Tetrault, the anchor for the local CBS affiliate, who had a bit part in the 1992 Robert Redford movie Sneakers.)
But it was Dague (pronounced DAYg) and Kapostasy (KA-PO-stassy) that were my main squeeze; they had this incredible on-air chemistry that made journalism seem, at times, incredibly fun and relaxed, and at others, dreadfully serious.
This past weekend, I, along with the rest of the Capital Region, learned of Dague’s passing, following a long illness. He was 76.
Dague was born in Buffalo and attended the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, where he studied electric engineering. Beginning his career in broadcast journalism in the ’60s, Dague held a number of positions in the Capital Region, including ones at WTEN (the local ABC affiliate); WGY (the Albany-Schenectady-Troy news radio station of record); and WRGB, working as an assignment editor, weekend anchor and political reporter in the ’70s (he worked alongside the aforementioned Tetrault in the early ’80s).
But it was in the ’80s and ’90s that Dague made a name for himself, locally, opposite Kapostasy, as WNYT’s 6 o’clock and 11 o’clock co-anchor (he ended up publishing a book about his work in 2011). The pair spent 11 years together as co-anchors; Dague was forced to retire in 2003, following a crippling arthritis diagnosis, while Kapostasy, who began using her married name, Jansing, became an even bigger star, leaving for NBC News in ’98 and having done everything including filling in as an anchor on NBC Nightly News to becoming one of the many successful broadcast personalities on MSNBC.
On Sunday, Jansing memorialized her former co-anchor in a tweet:
The world has lost a great journalist – my former co-anchor Ed Dague. I was privileged to sit beside him for 11 of the 27 years he was the voice of the Capital Region – Albany, NY. @WNYT Rest In Peace my friend.
— Chris Jansing (@ChrisJansing) November 24, 2019
She was also quoted as saying: “Ed Dague was, quite simply, one of the great journalists of our time. That’s why so many people trusted him: his intellect, his commitment to truth and his devotion to his community. And it’s why all these years after he left the anchor chair, he’s still beloved by all who watched him, who admired him, who learned from him. The breadth of his curiosity and knowledge knew no limits, and he selflessly shared it with me as a mentor and friend for the eleven years I was privileged to sit next to him at WNYT.”
Rest easy, Ed; I can almost guarantee I’m here writing these words right now because of you.