A pillar of the Kamloops media community has died.
Radio NL reporter Angelo Iacobucci, a constant presence on local airwaves for nearly 40 years, was 60 years old.
“I’m still in a little bit of shock,” former Kamloops mayor and MLA Terry Lake told KTW on Friday.
“I just found out. It’s just out of the blue. I’m just horrified and devastated. He’s someone I knew a long time and had a good working relationship with. I thought of him as a friend.”
Iacobucci, known as “Bootch” among many co-workers and other local reporters, had been working at NL since 1979.
Radio NL news director Shane Woodford said the building on Sixth and Lansdowne is in shock.
“Honestly, we’re just very emotionally raw over here right now,” he said. “It’s been an absolute bombshell of a day for the building. People here are in shock. We are still grappling with this news.”
The cause of Iacobucci’s death was not immediately clear on Friday.
“He was at work yesterday [Thursday] and that’s all I really feel comfortable sharing,” Woodford said. “It caught us all by surprise, I can say that. He was normal Angelo yesterday morning and now this.”
Kamloops-North Thompson MLA MLA Peter Milobar, who as mayor of Kamloops got to know Iacobucci, described the reporter’s death as a blow to the community.
“He was a mainstay in Kamloops media and in politics, really,” Milobar said.
“He knew how to make sure his part of the job was being covered in terms of making sure he got his questions asked first and answered first. He tended to guide the tone for coverage based on what his line of questioning was. He was a real key piece to everything in Kamloops, really.”
City of Kamloops capital projects manager Darren Crundwell said he was shocked by Friday’s news of Iacobucci’s death.
He said the longtime city hall reporter worked hard to get the whole story.
“Council chambers won’t be the same,” Crundwell said, noting he will miss Angelo’s “happy-go-lucky” personality. “Whether it was texting back and forth on the phone while a council presentation was going on or his comments from the back row, he was always making me laugh or smile.”
Raffelina Siriani, another longtime Kamloops broadcast reporter, got her start in journalism under Iacobucci’s tutelage. In 1989, Sirianni, fresh out of broadcast school, started as an intern at NL.
“I’m actually numb,” she said. “I can’t believe it. I’m finding it hard to wrap my head around.”
Iacobucci developed a reputation for teasing competing reporters and loved to dominate media scrums and press conferences.
“He pretended to be super tough, but he was a super soft teddy bear,” Sirianni said. “And he lived and breathed news.”
“Quirky” was a word that came up multiple times on Friday as Iacobucci was remembered by friends and colleagues.
“He was quirky,” Sirianni said. “He’d show up at city council meetings eating his McDonald’s. Everyone has a quirky story about Angelo.”
Longtime Kamloops Daily News reporter and editor Susan Duncan said she remembered covering city hall with Iacobucci.
“The whole time he looked like he wasn’t paying any attention at all,” she said. “But he was getting the best stories.”
Duncan said Iacobucci was something of a rare bird in journalism in that he could hold those in power to account while still maintaining a good, friendly relationship.
“He had this gift of really getting good stories and being a hard news reporter, but, really, winning the hearts of the people he interviewed,” she said.
“It’s a loss for the city. It’s also a loss for the media world in Kamloops and, really, in B.C.”
Iacobucci is survived by his wife, Silvana.