PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – October 12 was âLynne Hayes-Freeland Dayâ in the city of Pittsburgh. October 26 was âLynne Hayes-Freeland Dayâ in Allegheny County. And today is “Lynne Hayes-Freeland Day” here at KDKA-TV.
Since 1976, Lynne Hayes-Freeland has built a career as one of Pittsburgh’s best and most respected broadcasters. But now our colleague and friend says it’s time to retire.
After 45 years on television and radio, it’s hard to imagine Lynne’s career as a broadcaster never would have happened.
She was an accounting student at Duquesne University, but was not really interested. Then she started dating a guy who worked at the campus radio station.
“I started hanging out with him at the radio station and all of a sudden that light goes out and it’s like, ‘OK, maybe I can’t keep up with the numbers, but this? This is what I can do. So I literally changed my major to hanging out at the radio station, âLynne said.
WATCH: Lynne Hayes-Freeland reflects on career
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Lynne started working at WDUQ while in college, then got a job at KDKA-AM as a producer on The Roy Fox Show.
In 1977, Lynne moved on to television, when she was hired at KDKA-TV as a production assistant for “Evening Magazine”.
After several years on this show, Lynne was ready for something else.
So she joined the programming department of KDKA-TV and started producing and directing several of the station’s public affairs shows. She was one of the first directors, if not the first, of KDKA-TV.
Among the shows she produced and directed was a show called “Vibrations”.
âBev Smith was the host when I took over production on the show. Then Dorothy Tucker came in as the host. Eventually, Dorothy got the opportunity to return home to WBBM-TV in Chicago, and so when I went to talk to the GM, he basically said, “Nobody knows this show better than you. Why don’t you host it?” Lynne remembers.
So she did it! And after a few years of hosting the show, the station decided to change the name to “The Lynne Hayes-Freeland Show”.
WATCH: Full interview with Lynne Hayes-Freeland
In the nearly 40 years that Lynne has hosted the show, she has interviewed countless guests, including story makers like Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks, controversial figures like Louis Farrakhan, celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and legendary Pittsburghers like August Wilson and Billy Eckstine.
The show also focused on serious topics like the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and more recently the health disparity for African Americans, which has long been a problem but has become more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But, overall, the show still retained the original purpose of the start of “Vibrations” in the late 1960s, to serve as a beacon within and for the African American community of Pittsburgh.
By the end of the 1980s, local television stations were starting to phase out their programming services, including KDKA-TV.
It was then that Lynne was offered the opportunity to join the news service and her career as a journalist was born.
In her 30 years as a journalist, Lynne has covered it all.
Lynne has also been involved in some of KDKA-TV’s most treasured traditions, including our annual Children’s Hospital Free Care Fund benefit show, which she produced for several years and also helped host. .
And for many years, she was the driving force behind KDKA-TV’s âWaiting Childâ segments.
70% of the children featured in these segments were adopted, which Lynne is particularly proud of.
âSometimes you would talk to these kids and say, ‘Well, what’s the one thing you really want? And they’d say something as basic as, “I just want to feel loved.” I just want to feel like I belong. Being able to help make that happen is an incredible feeling, âsaid Lynne.
In 2019, Lynne left daily TV reporting and returned to her roots in radio, becoming the first African-American radio host in KDKA-AM history.
But now, after 45 years, Lynne has decided it is time to turn the microphone off full time, even though she will continue to be a part of some things at KDKA NewsRadio and KDKA-TV because the idea of ââsaying “au goodbye âis not that simple.
âYou know, it’s difficult when I think about the fact that I’ve walked through the doors of this building every day for over 40 years. This is where I grew up. I started out as a kid here, you know? I got married. I had children. I divorced. I’ve done everything here, and the people here become your family, âsaid Lynne.
Lynne’s full farewell interview will air as a one-hour special on CBSN Pittsburgh on Friday, October 29 at 8 p.m. ET.
The final episode of âThe Lynne Hayes-Freeland Showâ will air Sunday morning, October 31 at 11:00 am on CW Pittsburgh and again at 7:00 pm Sunday on CBSN Pittsburgh.
Click here to access the CBSN Pittsburgh Live Player.