Courier exclusive: Lynne Hayes-Freeland becomes first African American to host full-time weekday show on KDKA RADIO beginning Jan. 3, 2019

Lynne Hayes-Freeland

The New Pittsburgh Courier has learned that Lynne Hayes-Freeland, award-winning reporter and host of The Lynne Hayes-Freeland Show on KDKA-TV, will host a four-hour weekday show (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) on KDKA Radio (1020 am), beginning Jan. 3, 2019. Hayes-Freeland becomes the first African American to host a full-time, weekday show in the nearly 100-year history of KDKA Radio.
“I think it’s way past time for it,” Hayes-Freeland told the Courier in an exclusive interview, Thursday, Dec. 20. “It’s also time for a female voice or perspective, an opportunity to raise issues and topics of discussion that haven’t been included in talk radio here in Pittsburgh.”
The move marks Hayes-Freeland’s second stint with KDKA Radio, having begun her broadcast career as a producer for the station in 1976.
KDKA Radio’s Chris Moore has been the longtime host of his own show on weekends. But the absence of a full-time, daily presence of an African American talk show host on KDKA Radio drew the ire of Tim Stevens, CEO of the Black Political Empowerment Project, who wrote an open letter to KDKA Radio Program Director Jim Graci, dated Nov. 4, 2018.
“I have been a citizen of Pittsburgh for my entire life, except for nine months in 1967. To my knowledge there has never been an African American regular weekday radio talk show host on your station,” Stevens wrote in the letter obtained by the Courier. “As a civil rights activist of five decades I find this reality an embarrassment to our city for its most historic radio station to have such a history reflecting such a near total absence of diversity. The good news is you can do something about this absence of diversity going forward.”
The death of longtime KDKA Radio host Mike Pintek on Sept. 12, coupled with the announcement of host Marty Griffin of his ongoing battle with cancer fueled speculation as to the future of KDKA’s important 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. time window, which was filled by Griffin (9 a.m. to noon) and Pintek (noon to 3 p.m.).
Griffin has been open about taking time off the air to deal with the cancer treatment, and contacted Hayes-Freeland a few months ago about filling in on his mid-morning show.
“He (Griffin) felt it was time to get some different voices, different perspectives on the radio,” Hayes-Freeland told the Courier. As she filled in as host of the show, “I found that I liked it, and the more that I engaged in those conversations, the more I began to appreciate that there does need to be different perspectives and different ideas that have not previously been included.”
Hayes-Freeland is no stranger to talk radio. She previously filled in on many occasions as the host of The Bev Smith Show, and hosted a talk show on WAMO Radio on Saturdays.
What can you expect to hear on the Lynne Hayes-Freeland Show on KDKA Radio beginning Jan. 3, 2019 at 10 a.m.? Hayes-Freeland said she’ll explore current topics that affect all ethnicities, not just African Americans. But, “I’ve always believed that if there is an issue of concern to the Black community, it is going to be an issue that in one way or another affects the White community (as well). We may see it differently but the issues are very similar.”
Entercom, the radio mega-company that owns four stations in Pittsburgh, including KDKA Radio, also announced the addition of former WTAE-TV host Wendy Bell to its weekday lineup, joining Griffin in his new 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. time slot. KDKA Radio afternoon host Robert Mangino will segue to evenings, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and host weekend shows, while Rob Pratte will host the evening show on Mondays and Tuesdays. The KDKA Morning Show with Larry Richert and John Shumway is extended to 10 a.m. on weekdays.
The station will extend local newscasts until 8 p.m. weekdays and provide local news reports on weekend mornings.
“The new KDKA News Radio 1020 will serve our community in a way that reflects the energy and pulse of Pittsburgh in 2019 and beyond,” said Michael Spacciapolli, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Pittsburgh, in a statement. “These programming additions will help elevate KDKA as the go-to destination in Pittsburgh for news, weather, traffic, business, sports and opinion.”
Hayes-Freeland said she will continue to host her TV show on KDKA, which airs Sunday mornings. She called the opportunity to host the weekday radio show “wonderful,” and was “grateful” and “most appreciative” of the open letter sent by Stevens.
“There was a time that the community at-large used to be very vocal,” Hayes-Freeland said, referring to Pittsburgh’s Black community. If more representation or more inclusion was needed in a certain area, the community as a whole made sure they were heard. One of the ways they were heard was in the form of letters. “We’ve kind of gotten away from writing the letters,” Hayes-Freeland said, “but if they don’t hear from us, then they don’t know what we want or what we think.”



The new KDKA RADIO weekday lineup is as follows:


6:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Larry Richert and John Shumway

10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Lynne Hayes-Freeland

2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Marty Griffin and Wendy Bell

6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Robert Mangino (Wednesday – Friday)

8:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Rob Pratte (Monday – Tuesday)




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