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KDKA Radio shakes up its lineup

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By Bobby Kerlik
Friday, Dec. 30, 2005
 

KDKA Radio fired three talk show hosts Thursday, including longtime morning personality Mike Pintek.

Also leaving the air are evening sports talk host Paul Alexander and night talk host Mike Romigh.

KDKA-TV investigative reporter Marty Griffin will take over for Pintek beginning Monday.

Michael Young, senior vice president and general manager for News/Talk 1020 KDKA, said permanent replacements have not been named for Alexander and Romigh.

Young said the shake-up was not driven by poor ratings.

"Obviously, we're interested in getting the highest ratings we can -- that's a primary goal along with making sure our advertisers are successful -- but we didn't make these changes because of the shows on the air," he said. "We made the changes because of the shows we want to put on the air."

Pintek's Arbitron ratings dropped from 167,600 listeners in winter 2004 to 153,000 in winter 2005, although he rebounded to 157,800 listeners in summer 2005, the most recent figures available.

However, in the lucrative 25- to 54-age range, Pintek's audience has dropped dramatically from 53,400 in winter 2004 to 36,300 in summer 2005.

KDKA lost conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh in September 2004 to WPGB-FM 104.7, also a news-talk station.

WPGB program director Jay Bohannon said many listeners have turned to his station, although he said Limbaugh's presence has had a minimal impact.

"In the 25- to 54-year-olds, we've really won that battle," he said.

KDKA is second in overall total market share, garnering a 9.2 in the latest fall ratings, according to RadioandRecords.com, a site that tracks broadcast ratings. WDVE leads with a 10.2 rating; WPGB had a 5.3 rating.

Pintek was hired by KDKA in 1982, spending three years as a news reporter and 20 as a talk show host.

"The Real Deal -- Inside with Marty Griffin" will be an extension of Griffin's TV job -- investigative reporting -- and will fill Pintek's 9 a.m. to noon time slot. Griffin had filled in for Pintek several times during the past two years.

"(Management) were the ones who pulled the trigger," Griffin said. "I got a call late (Wednesday) night. It was a surprise. ... But I'm not going to say it wasn't discussed."

Alexander's 6 to 9 p.m. IC Light Sports Talk will remain a sports show. Radio promotions director Jeff Hathhorn, who has hosted a Saturday sports show and has filled in during sports segments in the mornings, hosted Alexander's show last night. Hathhorn will become the permanent morning sports reporter and news editor.

Rob Pratte and Hathhorn will host the IC Light Show until further changes are made, Young said.

"We haven't announced how (Alexander's) show will evolve, but we're still committed to a sports show," Young said.

Alexander replaced Thor Tolo in August 2002. He will continue to appear on television, though it was unclear in what capacity. In addition to anchoring sports reports on newscasts, he was a host on "UPN 19 Nightly Sports Call" from 10:30 to 11 p.m. weeknights and "The #1 Cochran Sports Showdown" on KDKA-TV from 11:30 p.m. to midnight Sundays.

Romigh filled the 9 p.m. to midnight time slot. Chris Moore hosted the show last night.

John Mcintire, who has been hosting a Saturday night show on KDKA for six months, has filled in for Romigh on several occasions. He said he would like to be considered for the job.

"All I was told was that there would be changes," said McIntire, former host of PCNC's cable TV talk show, "NightTalk." "If there are any full-time openings available, I'm interested."

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