I first met Mike Pintek in 1975 at a quaint 1,000 watt radio station in a far off land known as Pennsylvania.
It was WKBO radio in Harrisburg, PA and, as fellow same-year (1952) baby-boomers, Mike & I were both relatively new to the radio game, 24 years old, and still wet behind the headphones.
And I say ‘far off land’ because, as a ‘damn Yankee’, I’ve called New Orleans home for 35 years now and seldom return to the rolling hills of Pennsylvania and the land of my birth.
Pintek served as the afternoon news dude for John Saint John (he said, using the 3rd person) every afternoon as, daily 2-6 pm, we entertained our “fighting troops in the commuter combat zones” of the state capital.
Night times were different stories.
As 24 year old guys, away from home, single, hormonal, it was bars, night clubs, and the like – and, of course, Monday Night Football watching with the rest of the boyz, especially when the Steelers were on.
** John Saint John & Mike Pintek on WKBO Harrisburg in 1976 **
Give a listen to afternoon drive in the Bicentennial year of 1976! Just don’t judge us too harshly. Shucks, we were only 24 and still wet behind the headphones.
So, where am I going with all this?
Well, last week up in PA brother Mike decided to drop his body and move to “the other side” – dead at 65 from pancreatic cancer complications.
And I just came here to unpack a few things.
Through many of my now-over-30 years of self employment with Airlift Productions, Mike stuck to his radio guns and went on to entertain Pittsburgh, PA with a highly-rated talk show at legendary 50,000 watt behemoth KDKA for 30 years!
Earlier, in ’79, Mike even went on to break one of America’s biggest stories of the 20th century – the nearly catastrophic core meltdown at Three Mile Island! (wait, let’s make that a triple exclamation mark !!!)
What a testament to his awesome powers of communication, longevity, innate talents, and skill. Mike Pintek was born to the radio.
Yet, here in 2018, many folks just don’t get it.
Radio, just like wartime, bonds its warriors – like crazy glue.
And as Garth Brooks once opined, those who live ‘outside the fire’ will never fully understand those living within… and consumed by it.
Mike and I were crazy glue bonded warriors living inside the fire, living lives never fully understood by the overwhelming majority who never felt the pressure, the joys, the daily combat of on-mic performance.
** My YouTube tribute to my Keystone State Media Titans **
And my warrior buds continue to fall by the wayside, gone, but not forgotten….
Joe Wambach, Fred Honsberger, Marvin ‘Goose’ Goslin, ‘Big Jim’ Roberts, Gary Magill, Jeff Kauffman, Charlie Adams, Rick ‘Chris’ Andree, J. Al Dame – every single name here, fellow WKBO warriors in the broadcast trenches with Mike & I, now … gone.
Now, like so many of our comrades, Mike Pintek has fought his last fight.
But you wanna know something?
Everyone has to die. But not everyone truly lives!
While way too many folks today live half-realized lives, commuting to jobs they really don’t like, at hours they don’t care to work, and working for people they don’t respect – Mike and I, like crazy glue bonded warriors, never spent even a day of our lives like that.
Besides, like those righteous dudes Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield once gave voice to – “If you believe in forever, then life is just a one-night stand; if there’s a rock ‘n roll heaven, then they’ve gotta have a hell of a band!”
Oh, and one hell of a news room.
Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy & Digital Magic – from New Orleans since 1984
2 thoughts on “Mike Pintek, Airlift Mike, WKBO, KDKA & The Keystone State”
Just back from LA and finally took the time to read your blog on Mike Pintek. You still communicate better than anyone I know. Love ya Buddy.
Thanks, Danner. We will miss Mike, et al, for sure. And I loved the tuxed-out, dolled-out pics of you & Linda from LA! Very nice, pal. Much respect from NOLA….mgz