News/talk KDKA-AM (1020) will shake up its programming schedule in the new year, and bring back a voice familiar to the station's regular talk show listeners.
The station announced yesterday that starting Jan. 5, former KDKA talk host Mike Pintek will return to the station to host an evening talk show weeknights from 6 to 10 p.m.
Afternoon drive talk host Fred Honsberger will move to the noon-to-3 p.m. shift.
In Honsberger's current drive-time shift, the station will put a three-hour block of news from 3 to 6 p.m., which will be anchored by Paul Rasmussen and Rose Ryan-Douglas.
The changes displace current noon-to-3 p.m. host Kevin Miller and evening host John Steigerwald, who were both let go and are now off the air here. Steigerwald signed on to host the evening talk show last February, along with Scott Paulsen, who left the show a few months later. Miller joined KDKA in 2007.
Pintek had been with KDKA for 24 years. In December 2005, KDKA changed its longtime talk lineup, releasing Pintek, who was then hosting middays. Since then, he has been filling in on KMOX-AM in St. Louis and on the former WHFS-FM in Baltimore, which switched to an all-sports format last month, and locally as a regular host on cable TV with PCNC's "NightTalk."
"We rekindled our conversations with Mike over the last several weeks and determined it made a lot of sense for him to be back on KDKA," said CBS Radio senior vice president and Pittsburgh market manager Michael Young. "Research and feedback we heard from listeners about having Mike on the air was very positive."
"I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to reconnecting with my audience," Pintek said. "Who was that guy who said you can't go home again? This station is such a Pittsburgh icon. I spent most of my career here.
"We're going to talk about the news, and do it in a respectful way. That doesn't mean I'm not going to be opinionated, because I am. I want to encourage discussion and disagreement and debate, but do it agreeably."
Honsberger's role as talk host will be expanded by an hour: His talk show ran from 3 to 5 p.m., and he has been part of the team in the 5 p.m. KDKA Total News Hour. "Fred Honsberger continues to be one of the most consistent and familiar voices on Pittsburgh radio," Young said. The added hour "affords Fred, his guests and callers more time to discuss and debate the issues of the day."
Young said moving the expanded all-news block from its current 5 to 7 p.m. slot into the earlier afternoon drive hours was consistent with what the station is doing in morning drive with the KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway. "Now we're going to have the same thing in afternoon drive hours, intermixed with three prominent talk hosts [Pintek, Honsberger and midday host Marty Griffin], who debate the issues that come out of the news."
Adrian McCoy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1865.