Mike Levine
1923—1998

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Bio of Mike Levine

Journalist Mike Levine’s distinguished forty-year career spanned both print and broadcast journalism at newspapers and radio stations in Pittsburgh, New York City, and South Florida.

Born on November 6, 1923 as Myron Levine to parents Albert and Florence (Sivitz) Levine, the Pittsburgh native grew up in the industrial city’s suburb of Dormont. After serving as a corporal in World War II in an Army Air Forces radio unit in Belgium, he attended the University of Pittsburgh on the G.I. Bill, graduating with a degree in journalism in 1948.

After initial work with radio station WMCK as a news gatherer, Levine first significant journalism job was with the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, owned by the Hearst Corporation, where he was general assignment reporter then County beat reporter from 1951 to 1956.

Moving into broadcasting Levine led a colorful and productive three-decade career primarily at KDKA Radio, Westinghouse Broadcasting Corporation’s 50,000-watt Pittsburgh outlet. From the late 1950s to the mid-sixties, he was the station’s first ‘live-on-the-scene’ street reporter, providing live coverage from a Motorola walkie-talkie-equipped “mobile unit”– a news room on wheels. (He also contributed to KDKA Television’s news and current events programming.) A regular presence on nightly radio broadcast, “Program P.M.,” he was a key member of the market-leading station’s stellar news team. Garnering recognition, awards and accolades in that role, he then pioneered as host of one of the nation’s first news-oriented talk shows, “Contact,” in 1963. Levine’s in-studio guests were leading personalities, celebrities, authors, thinkers and news makers of their day.

In 1966, he relocated to New York to work for WINS-Radio. Then, returning to KDKA in Pittsburgh in 1969, he hosted a 6 to 9 p.m. evening talk show, “Open Mike” through 1975. He left KDKA for a job offer in Florida, and hosted talk shows at stations in Miami and West Palm Beach. KDKA again hired him back in 1986, and he retired from radio when his contract ended in 1989.

As a reporter in the early 1960s Levine carved a niche that defined the high-energy, on-the-scene news reporter. Later, as the 1960s grew more tumultuous, he was one of the market’s most popular and influential talk hosts. While maintaining a journalist’s neutrality, he advocated for liberal social and political causes throughout his career, a point of pride to his surviving family, brother Philip, wife Bernice and children, Jeffrey, Debra and Mark Levine.

 
 
 

Personal Photos

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The Sound of Pittsburgh

Sound Bites

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Mike Levine Theme

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Contact Promotion 2

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Contact Promotion 1

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1964 Aug 03 McDonalds On The Scene (Bridge Rescue)

1963 Aug 27 Davey Fellin Rescue (excerpt)

1963-02-18-KennedyImpersonator

1962 12 Frosty Run

1961 Dec 29 Plane Crash

1961 Sep 05 Live Mike

1961 Jun Live Mike

1961 May 01 Mike At The Cape

1961 Feb 17 Live Mike

1961 Jan 31 Ham Launching (part 1)

1961-01-31-HamLaunching.mp3

1960 Nov 03-LiveMike.mp3

News report covering an attempted hold-up of the Rankin branch of Mellon Bank.

“This is Mike Levine. This is what happened around the Pittsburgh district today.

“There was a dramatic story this morning in Rankin, an attempted bank holdup. The story incidentally, gives us a chance to illustrate some of the things you can do on radio with a tape recorder.

“First, you send a reporter out to the scene of the story. He interviews four people, one after another. You hand those four interviews to one of KDKA’s engineers, in this case Clyde Reed. The engineer takes them apart, weaves them together again, and instead of four individual interviews, it comes out as one continuous narrative.

“Here is the cast of characters. You’ll hear the voices of Frank Gaskill, the chief of Rankin police; Anna Mae Jumba, a teller at the Rankin branch of the Mellon Bank; Joseph Blandica, the Rankin police desk sergeant; and James Campbell, assistant manager of the bank and, oh yes, a nosey reporter…”‘

1960 Oct Pirates vs. Yankees

Montage of reports and interviews covering the 1960 World Series between the underdog Pirates and overdog Yankees.


[ML]:Mr. Stengel, the people of Pittsburgh would like to know how long you think the Yankees can hold out before the Pirates lick ’em?

[CS}: Well, that’s your opinion. Isn’t it? What do you think about it?

[ML]: What’s your opinion?

[CS]: Well I don’t know. You don’t need to worry about mine, see. I better worry about what you said.

[ML]: You think the Yankees will take it.

[CS]: I didn’t say that.

[ML]: What do you say?

[CS]: Well you keep talkin’…

1958-Sound-Bites.mp3

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1958 Oct 18 News Montage (side 2)

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1958 Oct 18 News Montage (side 1)

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“This is Mike Levine. These are excerpts from stories I covered for KDKA Radio News.

“The racial disorders at Levittown, Pennsylvania last August provided excellent radio sound. One of those sounds of the story was a public address loudspeaker on a state police patrol car. The man at the microphone was talking to a mob of several hundred persons milling about in a near riot outside the home of a new family in their neighborhood – a family of negroes…”

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