Fox News is grieving the loss of two valued employees who passed away unexpectedly over the Christmas holiday weekend.
33-year-old Matt Napolitano, an accomplished sports journalist, and 58-year-old Adam Petlin, a veteran operations executive, left behind beloved colleagues and families. The network is honoring their contributions and remembering their vibrant lives cut far too short.
Promising Radio Host Dies After Brief Illness at Age 33
Matt Napolitano, a rising star at Fox News Radio, died on December 23rd after a sudden and brief illness. He was only 33 years old.
Napolitano was the network’s lead sports update anchor, contributing daily sports reports to shows like “The Brian Kilmeade Show” and “The Guy Benson Show.” He also co-hosted Fox News Radio’s weekly sports commentary show “The Odd Couple” alongside comedian Frank Caliendo.
Prior to joining Fox full-time in 2021, Napolitano gained broadcasting experience as a weekend sports anchor for 770 AM WABC Radio in New York City. The Long Island native’s voice had been heard nationally on Sirius XM Satellite Radio’s fantasy sports station, where he hosted shows and provided play-by-play for games.
Speaking on his passing, Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott said:
Matt grew up a die-hard sports fan and overcame personal challenges to realize his dream of announcing the big games. We are deeply saddened over the loss of this rising star whose passion and charisma attracted constant praise from his co-workers and made him a standout member of our company.
|770 AM WABC Radio
|Weekend Sports Anchor
|Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio
|Various Host and Play-By-Play Roles
|Fox News Radio
|Lead Sports Update Anchor
Beyond the airwaves, Napolitano achieved notoriety in 2020 as a standout contestant on “Jeopardy!”, winning over $115,000 during a seven-game streak. His husband, actor Michael Fischetti, was in the audience cheering him on.
The talented journalist also made headlines this past October when Outsports published a profile hailing Napolitano as a trailblazing gay national sports broadcaster.
While Napolitano kept his personal life private from listeners, he was an inspiration to LGBTQ sports media professionals. His unexpected death just as his star was rising has left the industry shocked and heartbroken over the loss of an admired colleague and groundbreaking talent gone too soon.
Veteran Chicago Bureau Executive Dies at 58
The Fox News family suffered a second tragic loss when it was announced that Adam Petlin, Director of Operations for the network’s Chicago bureau, died unexpectedly on December 25th at 58 years old.
Petlin had overseen all administrative aspects of the Chicago newsroom for over 20 years. His management acumen kept broadcasts running smoothly as the bureau grew into a 24/7 operation over the past two decades.
Prior to joining Fox News, Petlin held various production roles with CBS affiliates in Chicago and Cleveland. Colleagues praised him as a consummate professional who provided steadfast leadership amidst the controlled chaos of daily journalism.
In a statement mourning Petlin’s sudden passing at too young an age, Scott said:
Adam was the glue that held our Chicago bureau together…his dedication, passion and gift for mentoring made an lasting impact. We feel lucky to have called him a colleague these many years.
|Production roles in Chicago and Cleveland markets
|Chicago Bureau Director of Operations
The long-tenured executive was highly regarded at Fox News for his kindness, generosity and commitment to developing young talent. Petlin was devoted to his wife Lisa of over 30 years, known as a doting father to his three adult children.
Colleagues memorializing Petlin emphasized how his steadfast professionalism and big heart made the fast-paced, demanding work easier on those around him day in and day out.
Shockwaves Across Organization
The loss of two admired employees in their primes has sent shockwaves through the Fox News organization over an already challenging holiday season.
Napolitano and Petlin’s deaths come amidst a spate of recent health scares for high-profile Fox talent. In October, correspondent Benjamin Hall, injured reporting from war-torn Ukraine, endured over a dozen surgeries to save his eyesight and limb.
That same month, anchor Bret Baier suffered a major stroke live on-air, making an astounding recovery but serving as a sobering reminder of journalists’ long-term health risks from workplace stress.
While the causes of Napolitano and Petlin’s untimely deaths remain unclear, their back-to-back passings have been emotionally devastating for the network at a uniquely difficult time. Colleagues describe grappling with feelings of grief, fear for the future, and renewed determination to carry on their legacies.
Programming changes are imminent as Fox News Radio covers the absence of lead sports anchor Napolitano. The network now faces the immense challenge of filling Petlin’s vital Chicago leadership role without him just weeks into a new year.
Lasting Professional Legacies
Both Matt Napolitano and Adam Petlin made valued and lasting contributions to Fox News in their separate fields that will not be forgotten.
Napolitano brought passion for sports and a broadcast flare well beyond his years. He forged inroads for a new generation of LGBTQ reporters gaining mainstream visibility. The network lost a rising performer poised to expand Fox’s audience for decades to come.
Behind the scenes, Petlin captained Chicago operations through over twenty years of unprecedented change and growth. He shepherded young journalists while commanding their respect as a steady guiding force even amidst chaos. His is an immense loss of institutional knowledge and beloved camaraderie.
While their absences will be deeply felt across the organization, Napolitano and Petlin’s professionalism and humility would forbid allowing daily journalism to falter. Fox News now carries the solemn charge of preserving their legacies through outstanding coverage unwavering even in this dark hour.
The network has expressed intentions to honor Napolitano and Petlin with on-air tributes, memorial services, charitable contributions and other commemorations befitting their profound impacts over years of esteemed service. As the new year dawns, Fox News remembers two colleagues for separate generational contributions cut devastatingly short.
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