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Former KDKA reporter Lokay recounts past week in Boston

| Monday, April 22, 2013, 7:45 a.m.

For East McKeesport's Jim Lokay, events in Boston a week ago seemed too surreal.

“I had just finished up my day on another story when I heard the news,” said Lokay, a former KDKA-2 reporter now at Hearst's WCVB-5. “At first, I thought it might have been an electrical or gas explosion. As soon as a colleague tweeted about seeing mass casualties, I realized it was probably the worst-case scenario.”

Lokay has grown to appreciate Boston in 18 months there:

“It's a place with a different vibe. People like to keep to themselves a bit more, but they stepped up to help each other out. As a reporter, you have to keep the emotions in check. There are still too many questions, and as evidenced by the confusion (when Associated Press erred in reporting an arrest), we have to get the story straight. But when you get home, you can't help but feel incredible sadness for all of the families affected.”

He's heard from KD Country and East Allegheny friends:

“Obviously, the first concern from my friends and family back home was ‘Are you OK?' Beyond that, they ask about the people I've encountered, and they want me to put this in the context of Pittsburgh. What if it happened at the Pittsburgh Marathon? Who knows? But when it comes to the support, I've covered enough sadness to know Pittsburghers would help each other out in the same way.”

• The new general manager at Martz's WAMO-660 and FM 100.1 in Braddock Hills says “Pittsburgh is the place to be.”

“I'm excited to have the opportunity to come to Pittsburgh and be able to grow a quality product,” said former Baltimore Radio One general sales manager Gary Gunter.

He wants to tweak WAMO's “hip-hop and hottest hits,” to make the music “sharper, more impactful, more timely.”

He doesn't see competition for a target audience of African-American males ages 23-25 and females 20-22. Generally WAMO aims for adults 18-34.

“We believe the music is somewhat more diverse than the old WAMO,” Gunter said. “There is now a melting pot of artists who create music to satisfy the genre,” white, Hispanic and African-American.

The station's gets 12,000 unique hits a week. Its AM reaches dawn to dusk from Cleveland to Cumberland and its FM covers Pittsburgh and the Mon-Yough area.

WAMO is local 20 hours a day, after Rickey Smiley's syndicated morning show.

Metro Networks supply drive-time news and traffic. On Sundays veteran deejay Brother Marlon has gospel.

Gunter wants to reach out to the community. WAMO took part in building a Homewood KaBOOM playground, and “we're open to coming out and doing great things” in the Mon-Yough area, he said.

• Elizabeth's Jackie Schafer moves from Cox's WTOV-9 in Steubenville to weekend anchor at Hearst's WTAE-4.

• W231BM, WKHB-620's Clairton-licensed FM 94.1 translator, now airs from a tower near Calvary Cemetery.

• Lincoln Institute of Public Policy Research turned 20 on April 6. Its Lincoln Radio Journal has 79 affiliates, including WKHB and its siblings WKFB-770/97.5 and WKVE-103.1.

• Frank Powaski has had his marathon, but he still has Friday polkas from 5 to WKFB sign-off through Sept. 27.

He's also on Sundays from noon to 3 on WKHB year-round.

• The Daily Kos posted an email exchange between a Clear Channel Pittsburgh account executive defending one-time McKeesport deejay Rush Limbaugh and a “StopRush” volunteer.

Chip Herrmann said efforts to silence the WPGB-104.7 host are “a well-funded assault by groups that disagree with Rush's views.”

• McKeesport's Penn State Greater Allegheny was profiled as part of Amy Scott's “Marketplace” series on Cincinnati's Oyler High School after an Oyler senior visited the campus. Marketplace airs daily at 6:30 p.m. on WESA-90.5 and at

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or

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