Jay Sapir, a 20-year veteran of broadcast and print news who formerly lived on Martha’s Vineyard, died August 14 of heart failure in Chicago, Ill. He was 70.

He was born in Manhattan and raised in Mount Vernon, N.Y.

He lived on the Vineyard from the mid 1970s to the mid 1980s. Besides founding Up-Island Taxi, he was best known for his work in radio. He was news director, anchor, talk show and jazz show host at WMVY radio from 1981 to 1984. From 1979 to 1981 he was a reporter for The Grapevine, a weekly newspaper published in West Tisbury.

Jay was a doorman at Loretta Balla’s fabled Seaview Hotel. He acted with the late Jamie Weisman in the Island Theatre Workshop production of Waiting for Godot in the early 1980s.

Known for his rapid wit, and his “face for radio,” Jay would enliven any discussion with his passionate convictions on politics, jazz, or UFOs — among a few favorite topics.

Growing up, his family ran a resort hotel in the Catskills in New York. He absorbed the fabled humor of the Jewish comedians of that 1950s to 1960s Catskills era, and would sprinkle every conversation with re-animated jokes delivered with perfect timing.

After moving off the Vineyard, he was a contributor to NPR, and ran the NPR affiliated KCAW news department in Sitka, Alaska, before moving to Washington D.C. There he became UPI radio’s Washington editor and correspondent. Jay wrote, voiced and produced UPI radio news spots and features.

He interviewed everyone from Henry Kissinger to Yoko Ono, and sat next to famed Washington reporter Helen Thomas at daily White House news briefings. He hosted radio round table discussions with Ms. Thomas and the notorious political columnist, Jack Anderson.

He moved to Chicago as UPI’s Midwest bureau chief, covering the Jeffery Dahmer serial killer case and other national and international news events from the invasion of Panama to Iran-Contra, to troop deployments in the first Gulf War. He covered the riots and games of 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, and Republican and Democratic National Conventions in Atlanta and New Orleans.

He was a member of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON).

He is survived by his son Rory Ben Waldman Sapir, 21, of Chicago, Ill., sister Sue Hagen of Brooklyn, N.Y., and his ex-wife and close friend Carol Waldman of Wilmette, Ill.