The Specs Howard School of Media Arts in metro Detroit was started more than 50 years ago by radio DJ Specs Howard, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 96.
Numerous radio and television professions in the Motor City market and around the nation got their start at the school.
Local TV news anchors Glenda Lewis (WXYZ-TV, 7 Action News) and Amy Andrews (WJBK-TV, Fox 2 Detroit) and Detroit radio legends Ken Calvert and Doug Podell are just a few of the many Specs Howard graduates who went on to become media stars in Detroit.
In a statement Saturday morning, Alisa Zee, Howard’s daughter, said she was “heartbroken” to have to say that her father had “completed his journey here on Earth” in the wee hours of the morning.
Specs Howard, the creator of The Specs Howard School of Media Arts, will mark his 89th birthday on Wednesday, April 8, 2015, at the Southfield campus.
He always expressed gratitude to the entire media industry. He felt your embrace at every stage of his professional journey, knowing that everyone was supporting and guiding his mission to help improve lives, Zee wrote.
The Pennsylvania native, Jerry Liebman, better known as Specs Howard on television, founded the school in Southfield in 1970.
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The school joined Lawrence Technological University in Southfield in 2021, which celebrated Howard on August 27 with a dinner and a tailgate party before its first football game of the season.
Howard was born and raised in Pennsylvania and received his education at Allegheny College there. He began his career as a DJ in Pennsylvanian towns before moving to Cleveland and specializing in top-40 radio. He moved to Detroit in 1967, and a few years later he changed his career focus from radio announcing to instructing aspiring broadcasters.
In one of the audio labs in 1998, Specs Howard, the school’s 28-year-old founder, watches Highland Park resident Felisia Causey work on her demo tape.
According to a 2021 obituary in the Jewish News, Howard’s on-air moniker dates all the way back to the 1950s and was motivated by his preference for eyeglasses.
His daughter and Mort Crim Communications are making a documentary about Howard.
Charlie Langton, a reporter for Fox 2 News and WWJ-AM, wrote on Saturday in honor of Howard’s passing, “I am proud to have graduated from @SpecsHoward which started my career in broadcasting.”