For over 30 years, Mike Pintek was the host of The Mike Pintek Show on KDKA Radio in Pittsburgh, weekdays from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. In May of last year, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer but continued to host his show.
Mike’s condition was inoperable, so he began an aggressive form of chemotherapy and radiation treatments and participated in experimental drug studies. He was forced to take a leave of absence in June of this year when his treatment was interrupted by a stroke. Pintek died Wednesday. He was 65.
Mike came to KDKA Radio in 1982 as a reporter. In 1985, he shifted to the role of talk show host and soon became one of Pittsburgh’s most influential voices.
Mike got his start in radio as a news director/anchor at WNOW in York, PA, in 1974. In 1978, he moved to the state capitol to work at Top 40 station WKBO Harrisburg, where he was worked in the news department with the late Fred Honsberger. Honsberger left WKBO to join KDKA Radio and Mike was named News Director at the station.
It was at WKBO in 1979 that Pintek broke the one of the biggest stories of his career. In the early morning of March 28, Pintek and then WKBO traffic reporter Dave Edwards noticed that steam was not emanating from the cooling towers at the Three Mile Island Nuclear power plant in nearby Middletown, and that fire companies had been dispatched to the scene. Pintek’s call to the company to investigate the incident led to him being transferred to the main control room, where he confirmed that it was not a fire, but a problem with reactor number two. Pintek was the first to report the news of the incident, which soon became the most significant accident in U.S commercial nuclear power history. The accident resulted in a number of changes and new regulations for the nuclear industry.
That nose for news served Pintek well as he soon made the transition to talk. After a two-year stint as the morning news anchor at WASH-FM in Washington, DC, Pintek moved to Pittsburgh’s legendary KDKA Radio.