Sports Anchor Dan Roan Retiring from WGN-TV After 45-Year Lifetime Career

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Dan Roan, age 68, is retiring on May 26, 2022 after 45 years as a sports reporter and anchor. In February 1984, Dan Roan arrived at WGN in Chicago after working as a sports director at CBS affiliate WCIA, covering the Champaign-Urbana market. Dan began his career at WCIA-TV in 1977.

Dan Roan is finishing his career as the weekday sports anchor of the WGN Evening News at Five and Six and WGN News at Nine. He also currently hosts Instant Replay, WGN’s expanded look at weekend sports on Sundays at 9:40 pm.

Over the years Roan has hosted and co-produced pregame and halftime shows for WGN’s NBA and Major League Baseball telecasts. He is also a substitute play-by-play announcer for WGN’s Bulls, Cubs and White Sox games. In addition, he was the lead announcer for the station’s telecasts of DePaul University basketball. Dan also worked play-by-play on the station’s Notre Dame football telecasts in 1988, when the fighting Irish won a national championship. With the addition of the Chicago Blackhawks to WGN’s programming schedule, Dan is also hosting between-periods segments during hockey telecasts.

Dan has been recognized during his time at WGN, winning multiple Emmy Awards for his work as host, producer, reporter and play-by-play announcer. In 1994, he won three Emmy Awards for sports-related programming.

In 1987 Dan Roan unwillingly became part of one of the biggest mysteries in broadcast television, known as the Max Headroom Incident. He was in the middle of his sports report when the first of two Max Headroom incidents occurred. A prank was generated by an unknown tech-savvy person, who took over the WGN News broadcast. The prankster overpowered or “pirated” the TV signal from the WGN studios to the John Hancock transmitter, which relayed the broadcast from the studio throughout Chicagoland using a much stronger signal emitted from a much higher antenna. A second similar incident interrupted WTTW’s broadcast of a Dr. Who episode.

The first “Max Headroom Incident” that plagued the sports report that aired within The Nine O’Clock News on WGN Channel 9 one Sunday evening in late November 1987. YouTube Tips ⓘ

At 9:14 p.m. Sunday, November 22, 1987, Dan Roan’s sports report re-cap of the Chicago Bears Sunday game disappeared from people’s television sets. An eerie image and noise appeared when WGN’s signal was overpowered, and a prankster replicated the Max Headroom character from a British television series. WGN engineers were able to change the frequency for their upload signal to the John Hancock transmitter to resolve the issue, and Roan managed the interruption in stride. A second Max Headroom interruption occurred at WTTW later on Sunday night, but the signal that pirated WTTW’s broadcast played longer because there were no engineers working at WTTW at the time of the second Max Headroom incident. WTTW’s programming was playing automatically without engineers at the WTTW studio. The perpetrator of the Max Headroom incident was never identified.

Suddenly, the signal for Dan Roan’s WGN sportscast was disrupted and screens across the Chicagoland cut to black when WGN’s broadcast signal had been hijacked in what is now known as “The Max Headroom Incident”. YouTube Tips ⓘ

Max Headroom is a British fictional artificial intelligence (AI) character that played in the 1980s British Max Headroom Show television series and spin-offs in the United States. The character was known for his 1980’s artificial appearance, wit, digital stuttering and pitch-shifting voice. Max Headroom’s futuristic image, color scheme, and digital stuttering significantly captured the symbolic sight and sound of the 1980s.

From the 1980s to the 2020s … that time went fast.



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