When I was a kid, I had this knack for talking to just about anyone and an obsession with being near a microphone. I worked the rooms at family parties, I recited current events for total strangers, and I used any excuse to make announcements over the loudspeaker at the bowling alley my dad ran for years.
If that didn’t foreshadow where I’d end up thirty years later, then I don’t know what would have given it away! I know there are some junior high yearbooks inscribed with "Jim Lokay, the 45th President of the United States," but I opted for radio and television the day I arrived on the campus of California University of Pennsylvania, and I never looked back.
Someone once said I looked like a sports guy (even though my athleticism extended to bowling and mini-golf), so I went right into covering the dozens of high school football teams throughout Western Pennsylvania. I lugged the camera around, shot the games, and turned around the highlights for a local cable channel. I did play-by-play for California University athletics (go Vulcans!), but during the 2000 elections, my passion became news.
For two years, I ran the overnight operations for a radio news operation in Pittsburgh. I worked each night from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m., writing, editing, and anchoring newscasts for several stations. I covered some Pittsburgh Pirates games for a sports radio station, too.
From there, I moved to the snowy abyss of upstate New York to work for Time Warner’s 24-hour news operation in Syracuse. I did everything from reporting and anchoring to (once again) covering high school football. Don’t get me wrong – I loved my time there, but during my first winter there, I dug out through 181 inches of snow.
I fulfilled my dream of working in television news in my hometown a few years later, spending more than six years at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh. I was hired as a traffic reporter, but soon found myself on the anchor desk, in the field, co-hosting a Pittsburgh Steelers pre-game show with Hines Ward, Ryan Clark, and Antwaan Randle-El, and doing intermission reports for Pittsburgh Penguins preseason games. I covered two Super Bowl parades, one Stanley Cup parade, the 2011 Winter Classic between the Pens and Caps, and the 2006 Major League Baseball All-Star game.
Leaving Pittsburgh was the hardest decision I ever made, but in 2011, WCVB in Boston hired me as a news and sports anchor/reporter – and I immediately had a front-row seat to some of the biggest news stories of our generation. I was one of the first anchors on the air when the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon finish line – and covered the city’s comeback. I spent days reporting from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. A record-setting winter. Superstorm Sandy. The Patriots lost a Super Bowl. The Red Sox won a World Series. The Patriots won a Super Bowl. Deflategate. I did just about everything there. I even had my own series where I profiled exceptional high school seniors battling back from life challenges.
If there’s anything I’ve learned to expect in the news business, it’s this: don’t expect anything. And while we often find ourselves covering stories that we’d rather not cover, we also get a chance to shine a light on our community and share the good news as well. This is where you come in. Interact with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Tell me what matters to you. I can’t wait to get to know you better, DMV.
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