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.
When President Trump and Democratic nominee former vice president Joe Biden met during last night second and final presidential debate in Nashville, Tennessee, the evening included a heated exchange on the topic of race relations. Former Michigan state representative Brian Banks and Republican congressional candidate Joe Collins joined Jim on a special late night edition of "The Final 5" to break down to the bait and what it means for the African-American community.
With the election two weeks out, there are both parallels and stark differences from where we were in the 2016 election. What issues will guide people to the polls? Republicans have pushed corruption allegations against Joe Biden and his son Hunter, and Democrats are trying to avoid fatal campaign errors from 2016. Siraj Hashmi from the Washington Examiner joined Jim to break down what could change the race, if anything, and why things may not actually be over until way after Election Day.
Social media companies like Twitter and Facebook came under heavy scrutiny this week for suppressing sharing of a New York Post story critical of Hunter Biden’s dealings with a Ukrainian energy company. The platforms said they violated policies on disseminating hacked materials, but it renewed calls by Senate Republicans for the F.C.C. to rework the legal framework known as Section 230, which provides them legal cover. Satya Marar from Young Voices explains what Section 230 is about, and the politics of it all on The Final 5.
Thousands are expected in the District this weekend, as well as at satellite marches, for another iteration of the Women’s March. Between the Presidential race, and the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett, organizers say it’s about progressive women making their voices heard. Executive Director Rachel O’Leary Carmona joined Jim on The Final 5 to talk about why it’s important to do it now, and what she has to say to conservative groups planning their own rival march this weekend at the Supreme Court.
Editorial pages across the country are embarking on the time honored tradition of endorsing presidential candidates, but in an age of increased accusations of media bias, are they still relevant? The Boston Globe decided to take a different tack in their endorsement efforts this year. Editorial page editor Bina Venkataraman joined Jim Lokay on The Final 5 to talk about the process of endorsements, what readers should know about the difference between what’s news and opinion, and how to keep the process fresh.
As opponents of President Trump and Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett plan another iteration of the Women’s March this weekend in Washington, D.C., another march aims to show support for Barrett and conservative policies. The “March for All Women” will start at the Supreme Court on Saturday. Patrice Onwuka of the Independent Women’s Forum joined Jim on The Final 5 to explain why it’s important to hold the march, why Judge Barrett’s nomination should not be delayed, and how she believes a constituency that overwhelmingly opposed President Trump in 2016 may evolve in 2020.
Democrats and Republicans are prioritizing everything but what matters most to Americans. As both parties bicker over the finer points of a potential COVID-19 stimulus package, millions of Americans are caught up in the crossfire. Jim Lokay offered his thoughts on The Final 5.
The first and only vice president of the bed is in the books. Unlike the contentious face-off between President Trump and former VP Joe Biden, the exchange between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris was far more substantive, even if a bit contentious at times. Jim broke it down with Democratic commentator Ameshia Cross and Texas GOP party chairman Allen West.
As Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic VP nominee Sen. Kamala Harris prepare for their first and only faceoff on Wednesday in Utah, there are plenty of questions as to what’s at stake. Political strategists Kelly Gibson and Tracy Dietz joined Jim on The Final 5 to talk about the potential dynamic between the two candidates, how coronavirus will figure into the debate, and how it could shape up to be a more substantive matchup than last week’s Presidential debate.
It is hard enough to get a new generation of voters registered to vote, let alone engaged in the process. Niles Francis took his interest in politics to an entirely different level, and now at 18, he’s become a respected political commentator, and creating widely circulated electoral maps for DecisionDeskHQ.com. He joined Jim on The Final 5 to explain where his fascination with politics came from, and how he feels about his home state in Georgia becoming an epicenter for the 2020 race.