Smizik on TV: KDKA sports anchor finally gets talk show

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One of the more amazing things about local radio the past few years is that of all the various openings there have been for talk-show hosts, John Steigerwald never was given his own program. ESPN Radio 1250, Fox Sports Radio 970, KDKA-Radio and WPBG (NewsTalk 104.7) all have filled slots, but none went to Steigerwald.

As a full-time sports anchor for KDKA-TV, Steigerwald can't work just any shift, but for someone as knowledgeable, as well-spoken and as highly opinionated as Steigerwald you'd have thought they'd find a spot.

At last, someone has.

WTZN-FM (93.7)/The Zone, a CBS-owned station, has given Steigerwald, who briefly did a Saturday morning show on Fox Sports Radio a few years ago, an hour every weekday at 9 a.m. "The John Steigerwald Show" is worth a listen.

Steigerwald says his show is about "sports and other stuff," and sometimes the other stuff takes precedence.

Earlier this week, Steigerwald had syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker on to talk about one of his many, many pet peeves -- women serving in combat.

Here's what else he had to say: "One of the stated goals of this show is to see Hillary Clinton is not elected president."

Of Rev. Al Sharpton, he said, "To me, he's a racist himself."

Steigerwald went back to his sports/journalism roots yesterday when he looked into the firing of Chartiers Valley basketball coach Tim McConnell. As guests, he had Mike White, who covered the story for the Post-Gazette, Chartiers Valley board member Tony Moses and McConnell. When Moses and McConnell were on together, it was riveting radio. Throughout, Steigerwald remained admirably objective.

Steigerwald has never made a secret of his conservative leanings, be it in his anchor role on KDKA or various panel shows.

"I've got into trouble for slipping in snide remarks on television, now I can slip them in without getting in trouble," he said.

The standard Steigerwald staples are there -- his bashing of baseball in general and the Pirates in particular and his unabashed support of the Penguins.

WTZN bills itself as "The Man's Station," and Steigerwald said: "I don't think men like only sports. There are other subjects that I think are just as interesting to men as sports.

"I'm hoping to do a lot of Steelers stuff in their season. But I also like the idea of on June 12, when the Steelers aren't playing and the Penguins aren't playing and the Pirates are 21 games out of first place, I'm not obligated to talk about sports."

He takes calls. Just for fun, ask him about Kordell Stewart.

The wrong call

CBS did its usual fine job of televising the NCAA basketball tournament but the telecasts were not without some glitches. None was larger than the incorrect reaction by studio experts Clark Kellogg and Seth Davis to the last-second, winning basket made by Georgetown's Jeff Green against Vanderbilt in the third round.

With his back to the basket and his right foot anchored as his pivot, Green stepped to his right with his left foot. He then swung his left foot as far to the left as he could and went up for a shot. As he did so, naturally, he lifted his right (pivot) foot.

In reviewing the play, Kellogg said: "The right foot is going to be established as the pivot foot and he lifts it before he takes that shot -- clearly a walk."

Davis said: "The moment that foot leaves the floor it should have been called a walk."

Lifting your pivot foot is not necessarily traveling. If it were, every time a jump shot was attempted -- an act in which the pivot foot must be lifted off the ground -- traveling would be called.

Lifting your pivot foot and not shooting or passing before putting it down is traveling. Green shot before putting his pivot foot down. That is not traveling. Shame on Kellogg and Davis for not knowing better.

Ratings stay high

The Penguins continue to be a ratings smash on FSN Pittsburgh and have viewership that is among the best in the country for NHL and NBA games.

FSN affiliates carry 20 of the NHL franchises and the Penguins have the best ratings of any of those teams, which includes Detroit, a city often known as Hockeytown.

What's more, the Penguins ratings are higher than any of the 24 NBA teams FSN carries, as well as those of the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets.

The only NHL franchise that might have higher ratings than the Penguins is Buffalo, which is not in the FSN family.

The Penguins ratings numbers are the highest since the 1997-98 season.

Sensible move

The NFL has lifted its ridiculous sideline ban of local television cameras that was in effect last season. Under last year's rules, only one local cameraman could shoot the game. This year, all local stations will be allowed one cameraman on the sidelines.

"It wasn't ideal last year, but the team and the local stations worked together and we received the sideline video," said FSN executive producer Shawn McClintock. "We're appreciative they've allowed more people on the sidelines."

Burr on racing

Baldwin native Ryan Burr, formerly an anchor/reporter with FSN Pittsburgh and now with ESPN News, will serve as co-host on ESPN2's NASCAR Now. The show is seen at 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Bob Smizik can be reached at bsmizik@post-gazette.com .


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