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.
The Derek Chauvin trial is re-opening the discourse on qualified immunity – and some states are already taking action. In this installment of The Final 5, Young Voices Senior Contributor Dan King talks about the implications of qualified immunity.
While higher-profile political scandals have overtaken recent headlines, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s dueling controversies involving COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, and nearly a dozen women accusing him of sexual harassment, remain at the forefront of the state’s political scene. Considering just a year ago, Cuomo was lauded for his handling of the nascent COVID-19 pandemic and even was being pushed as a possible last-minute replacement for Joe Biden on the Democratic ticket, times have changed. What does this mean for a politico who harbored national ambitions? New York journalist and host of the “Here Now the News” podcast Jerry Barmash joined Jim on The Final 5 to look at what’s happening now, and whether impeachment could still be on the table for the three-term governor.
The White House announced this week that so-called “vaccine passports,” documents that indicate whether someone is vaccinated against COVID-19, won’t be part of a post-pandemic recovery plan. But it hasn’t stopped Republican governors in Florida and Texas from issuing executive orders against their implementation. Still, it’s a process that many private businesses may consider, when it comes to large-scale events like concerts. Laura Hoffner, chief of staff from the security firm Concentric, joined Jim on The Final 5 to look at the pros and cons of such a system, and whether you’ll be able to have faith in their security.
The mental health toll sustained by Americans during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic was undeniable, but researchers found a silver lining: the nation’s suicide rate actually dropped. So what reversed what was expected to be an upward trend? Jacob Rich, a health and drug policy researcher with Reason Foundation, joined Jim on The Final 5o to look at the new numbers and offer some insight as to what may have helped.
President Biden’s 2 trillion dollar infrastructure plan calls for all the usual spending on roads and bridges, but other initiatives, like green energy spending, have Republicans and some vulnerable Democrats worried. And as Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) draws a line in the sand, vowing to oppose the plan, could the White House push the plan through anyway? Dave Levinthal from Business Insider joined Jim on The Final 5 to talk about the political chances of the plan and what could change the political calculus.
A controversial overhaul of Georgia’s voting system – one that Republicans called vital for election security, and Democrats likened to 'Jim Crow 2.0' – have some civil rights groups calling for a boycott of both the Major League Baseball All-Star Game (set for Atlanta this summer) and the delayed Masters' Tournament in Augusta. But is that feasible, and how do lawmakers respond to the threats by many out-of-state athletes? Eric Mitchell from Life Flip Media joined Jim on The Final 5 to talk about what’s at stake.
While the massive cargo ship, the Ever Given, has since been dislodged and moved along the Suez Canal, the six-day saga could cost the global shipping industry billions of dollars. Politico trade reporter Steven Overly joined Jim on The Final 5 to take a look at what effects will still be felt days and weeks later, and how the residual delays in shipping could cost American consumers.
A unique approach to business regulations and reform has Utah in the spotlight, as the country struggles to bounce back from the pandemic. James Czerniawski from Young Voices joined Jim on The Final 5 to look at why the state stands a chance at luring businesses away from bureaucratic states like California and New York.
Virginia became the first southern state to outlaw the death penalty this week, a major victory for anti-capital punishment activists. That includes Roman Catholic nun and a member of the New Orleans-based Congregation of St. Joseph, Sister Helen Prejean. Prejean, whose memoir inspired the 1995 film 'Dead Man Walking' starring Susan Sarandon, has continued her crusade against a punishment she described as rooted in racism. She joined Jim on The Final 5 to explain why Virginia’s move was a momentous one, and why the push to outlaw the death penalty has gained support on both sides of the political spectrum.
As we inch closer to a post-pandemic world, the workforce will forever change. As America’s women head back to the office, their worldview has changed – and while their politics may differ, their hopes are the same. Amanda Hunter from the Barbara Lee Family Foundation joined Jim on The Final 5 to talk about a new poll, and how women are assuming more high profile positions in both local and national elected offices.