A familiar face on air in a new place
by matt coleman // photo by agnes lopez
For a guy who’s been a Jacksonville television fixture for close to three decades, spending six months off the air is daggum excruciating. Dan Hicken signed on to join CBS47/FOX30’s Action Sports 360 last year after his contract with First Coast News expired. However, a clause in his former contract kept him from appearing on air with another station for at least six months. He spent most of that time behind the camera for his new bosses, but Hicken says he’s happy to have reclaimed the anchor chair in December. When he’s not delivering the latest scores and highlights, Hicken enjoys spending time with his wife, Reagan, and their son, Brooks. He has two other children, Danielle and Drew, who are both in college.
• The non-compete clause might have barred him from stepping in front of the camera, but he says he honed his skills behind the scenes, writing, shooting video and producing stories. He learned some valuable lessons—particularly that life behind the camera can be perilous. “I was shooting a high school football game and took a hit from a player on the sidelines. I fell backwards on my left hand. My wrist was sore for a while, but more importantly, the camera was just fine.”
• He is a consistent presence on Twitter (@DanHicken) posting game scores, pictures, interview snippets and responding to fellow sports fans. “I’m posting to Twitter when I’m on the radio [he co-hosts “Sports Final Radio” on WJXL-AM]. I’m tweeting during games. I’m tweeting before we go live. The only problem is that fans sometimes get pretty angry on Twitter, so I just have to remind myself, and them, that sports is all in good fun.”
• The toughest thing about the job for Hicken is the time away from his family. Saturdays and Sundays aren’t days off for athletes or sportscasters, so Hicken has devised a strategy to keep him up-to-date with his son’s sporting events. “It helps to have a very supportive wife because she texts me constantly with updates about Brooks’ games. A lot of the time, when I’m seeing scores come in for the show, I’m getting scores and updates from Reagan at the same time.”
• As for the Jaguars, Hicken believes the team is primed to take the next step. He lauds the new regime for installing a results-oriented culture that has emphasized progression and gradual improvement. “From the roster to the coaching, they're getting better every week.
I think the perfect storm for the Jaguars is coming, this franchise is going to take off and this city is going to go nuts.”