Lynne Hayes-Freeland is one of Pittsburgh’s favorite media figures, and now I know why.
In my last interview with her, I learned that Lynne not only has her own story to tell, but also likes to tell stories that make a difference. And she does it with so much charm and humor.
How did she get into business? Strangely, because of a boy she met in college. After being introduced to the student-run Duquesne University radio station, she fell in love with the radio and hosted a jazz show every Sunday.
You may remember another Duquesne radio alum we interviewed recently for The Pittsburgh 100 – Kevin Gavin. Lynne mentioned that she graduated the same year as Kevin and that the two had worked together for years.
Read on for our full interview. And if you can’t get enough, check out 2020 this year WQED video with Lynne. It even gives you an insight into the editorial team.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Schenley Heights.
Editor’s note: Lynne talks about her childhood in an interview with Pittsburgh Magazine. Check out the article here.
Where did you go to school?
I attended St. Paul’s Cathedral, now part of Oakland Catholic, for high school and attended college at Duquesne University.
What made you want to become a reporter?
I was actually a college major in economics and accounting, but I wasn’t that good at business. During my sophomore year, I started dating a man who was studying journalism / broadcasting, and that’s how I got acquainted with the radio station. I knew this was my calling.
I got a job in the business – he didn’t.
Where was your first job
I’ve been on air for 35 years. The focus was always on the broadcast – not the news coverage. It was just something I ended up with. Everyone always told me to be on the radio because I always had a deep voice. In all honesty, I wanted to be a jazz DJ with a radio station. During my time in Duquesne, I even hosted the jazz show for the student radio station.
After college, I spent my first 15 years on the radio as a producer. In 1976 I came to KDKA-TV to produce the “Roy Fox Show” and later took over the show “Evening Magazine”. It wasn’t until 1981 that I switched to the station’s programming department to produce “Vibrations”, our weekend magazine program at the time. When the host left to take a job at CBS Chicago, I was asked to host the show that eventually became the Lynne Hayes-Freeland Show on KDKA-TV.
When Marty Griffin went on sick leave, Marty called me and asked if I could replace him over the radio. I looked forward to the opportunity because, as a reporter, I was tired of standing outside in the cold on the side of the road at midnight. This gave me the opportunity to do what I love to do.
As the producer and presenter of The Lynne Hayes-Freeland Show on KDKA, tell us more about your show.
It’s a weekly half-hour show that focuses on local African American themes.
I’m still a news anchor by nature so I cover breaking news, develop stories, but what I love most is telling stories that make a difference, news that can have an impact on people’s lives.
I recently spoke about my breast cancer experience because I saw a report that women are not getting their annual mammograms because of the pandemic. If you have cancer, you can’t put off the mammogram for a whole year. You risk your life
So many women turned to me after the story. For me it wasn’t about news coverage. It challenged women to get the medical care they needed.
Editor’s note: You can read more about Lynne’s breast cancer story Here.
What’s one of your most memorable stories?
Interview with Nelson Mandela a year after his release from prison, not only because of himself, but also because he ended up being a very different person from what I expected. He was calm, spoke softly, and before he sat down he offered me a cup of coffee.
I recently started going through my records and after seeing the list of names I interviewed – Rosa Parks, James Baldwin, the list goes on – I immediately felt really blessed. It still amazes me that I had the honor of being in her presence.
Editor’s note: Lynne relived her interview with Nelson Mandela last year. Check it out at the links below:
What do you like to do in your spare time? Are you looking forward to everything now as the pandemic restrictions are lifted?
I am the proud grandmother of a 4 year old and 18 month old daughter.
As for the things I’m looking forward to, I can’t wait to see them perform live. Everything from live music, theater, whatever. I’ll be there when it comes back I also look forward to traveling – that’s another passion of mine. Facebook memories reminded me of my trip to Vietnam and Thailand with my daughter a few years ago. Can’t wait to travel again.
What other topics are you concerned with besides breast cancer?
Children waiting to be adopted. For almost 20 years, KDKA has had a recurring segment called “Waiting child“Which includes different children waiting to be adopted, such as older children or those living with special or physical needs. It was a huge hit – 67% of the children featured on our show were adopted. I love it when someone I’ve introduced comes up to me and says, “Do you remember me? I was adopted and these are my parents. ”
What did we miss Is there anything else you would like to add?
People always ask me, “What was the most important aspect of your career?” For me, it’s not about the big stories I’ve told or the big names of people I’ve interviewed. It’s the stories that changed people’s lives. It is the woman who comes up to me and says, “Thank you. I got my mammogram because of what you said yesterday. “It’s the child who says,” Mrs. Freeland, I want you to meet my new mother. ”I know we have made a difference when we have changed lives. I make that an obligation to live up to it.
Listen to The Lynne Hayes-Freeland Show daily from 12pm to 3pm on KDKA Newsradio, which airs on 100.1 FM and 1020 AM. You can also find links to Lynne’s social media pages and read some fun facts about her on the KDKA website Here.
– Robin Rectenwald, WordWrite