Person of interest: Chris Moore, Pittsburgh broadcaster
For the longtime WQED/KDKA host, commitment is more than just talk
April 14, 2013 4:00 AM
Chris Moore: "We could own the world by just exporting our culture, not our bullets."
By Maria Sciullo Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Chris Moore has been an enduring presence on the Pittsburgh media scene for decades. Producing, hosting and narrating a wide variety of programming, he's also been a voice for the African-American community on his live weekend radio show on KDKA.
Among his many WQED projects are "Black Horizons" and its later incarnation, "Horizons," "OnQ Magazine" and the 1991 award-winning documentary "Wylie Avenue Days."
Mr. Moore, who grew up in Little Rock, Ark., and has a degree from Grambling State University in Louisiana, is a Vietnam veteran. He will receive the Bill Burns media honor on Thursday at the annual Catholic Youth Association's Art Rooney Awards.
He and his wife, Joyce Meggerson-Moore, have been married for 37 years: "We have no biological children, but I claim at least 600 youngsters as my own from what I call 'previous relationships.' These children are really the products of mentoring programs that I have been involved in such as the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation's Frank Bolden Journalism Workshop," he said.
An avid bicyclist, Mr. Moore has another set of wheels: a 1958 Chevy pickup.
What has had the greatest impact on the African-American community since 2000?
Unfortunately, it is negative. Drugs, turf wars and the killing and imprisonment of young African-American males. It leaves no marriageable males for African-American women, fuels the prison-industrial complex, takes fathers out of the homes, and if they ever return, they find it hard to be welcomed back into society.
They can't vote, are felons and can't find work, and are trapped in a never-ending whirlpool that leads them back into the system. I believe it is, as author and law professor Michelle Alexander says, "The New Jim Crow." A purposeful system that snares entirely too many unwitting African-American males in its web.
If I could have everyone in the world listen to me for 10 minutes, I would tell them ... That we don't have to invade countries and support despots to attract people to democracy and the American way of life, at the butt of a weapon. All we have to do is to export our music, blue jeans and fast food. Returning to Vietnam in 2006, where I served in 1970 in the Army, I saw Kentucky Fried Chicken places everywhere. They love anything American, and when those nations get as fat and lethargic as we are, then UPMC can take over their hospitals and treat them for diabetes and the other maladies associated with becoming a couch potato that we Americans now suffer. We could own the world by just exporting our culture, not our bullets.
If I could change one thing about Pittsburgh it would be ... The notion that there isn't anything to do here. I think there are wonderful opportunities for cultural, civic and personal engagement and you don't have to look far to find them.
If I had four hours and $50 to spend in Western Pennsylvania I would ... Drive north to Moraine State Park and rent a canoe.
I'm happiest on the air when I talk about ... Controversial issues of public importance.
Mac or PC? Mac and iPhone all the way! I just wish they paid their workers better.
People would be surprised to know that I ... Used to have a huge Afro and a ZZ Top-like beard.
My idea of a great vacation is ... Going away from Pittsburgh (for a short while) to anywhere that I'm not recognized and can just be my goofy self.
The most important thing I have learned since working at WQED ... That it is no longer a good idea to produce a program just because it is a good idea. The world has changed, and money changes things and moves ideas, so now we include it in our planning.
Name three things you could do without ... There is really only one thing that I can think of, and that is people calling me at WQED wanting to carry on a conversation about something that I said on KDKA. I try to give them ample time to make their arguments on the radio and don't need a follow-up later in the week. Just call back Sunday and I'll be happy to talk to you.