In an age where Everyman is a writer thanks to the ubiquity of the Internet, Jay Pochapin came by his heart’s desire the old fashioned way: by putting pen to paper and playing with his brother and sister in front of his father’s discarded open reel tape recorder for the private amusement of his immediate family.
Less than 15 years later, he would find himself reading aloud from the obituary column of the local newspaper immediately following the local noon newscast on a suburban radio station in Beaver County.
A year later, he was disc jockeying Polish and Slovenian polkas from a radio station operating out of a house trailer in the midst of a rural field populated mostly by ruffled grouse in Washington County.
Having spent more than half his professional life in Broadcasting (mostly Radio,) and almost a third of it in Marketing and Media Relations, Pochapin has almost always worked in direct contact with the public. He’s always been called upon to communicate clearly and concisely and – much of the time – ad lib on the fly.
Born and bred in Southwestern Pennsylvania, Pochapin went on to receive a BS in Public Communications from Syracuse University, where he made a few friends, generated a modest amount of attention reading the news on the free form campus radio station, WAER-FM (he was obliged to audition for classmate and Chief Announcer Bob Costas,) but otherwise totally failed to call attention to himself in any way whatsoever.
He’s held a wide assortment of jobs in his life as a Bagel Baker’s Assistant, narrator, Microfilm Technician, Traffic Reporter, writer, humorist, editor for radio, print and online media, commercial spokesperson, Media Relations Manager, teacher, extra in a Kevin Smith film and a CBS soap opera, newscaster, housekeeper in a casino, and disc jockey.
He’s sold Menswear, Fine Jewelry, Ladies’ Shoes and Lingerie, Fine China, Furniture and Bedding, and Personal Banking Products.
He’s taught people how to perform as Voice-over Actors. He’s taught people how to clean the interior of a bus.
He’s also worked as a crew member at McDonald’s, chauffeur, photographer, Communications Director, door-to-door salesman, News Director, interviewer, and at several other jobs which he is restrained from mentioning by personal embarrassment. So you can imagine…
Contrary to popular belief, he’s never punched cows or worked on a tramp steamer.
Pochapin has conducted interviews with persons from all walks of life, some of the more notable as varied as US President Jimmy Carter, Academy Award winning director Ron Howard, nationally-renowned Medical Examiner Dr. Cyril Wecht, and the late Graham Chapman of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
But in his hometown, it was Pochapin’s stint as the official AAA Traffic Reporter heard on the iconic Pittsburgh broadcasting stations KDKA Radio 1020 and KDKA-TV2 that made his mark. His tenure in the KDKA Traffic Tower – located on the 62nd floor of the U S Steel Building – lasted more than 11 years and set a record for longevity among Traffic Reporters at AAA that still stands 20 years later.
The U. S. Steel Tower, at one time the tallest building in
the east between New York and Chicago
As the Traffic Reporter for both John Cigna & the K-Team and 90 to 6 with Bill Steinbach, Pochapin enjoyed the unique experience of contributing to daily broadcasts that enjoyed a 25 percent share in morning drive and 20 percent share in evening drive day parts.
He was the first Traffic Reporter ever officially affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball club. “And in those days,” he adds, “they were WINNING!”
John Cigna & the K-Team, circa 1984:
(front row, l to r: Jay Pochapin, John Cigna, Marvin “Goose” Goslin;
back row: Dave James, Fred Honsberger, and Bob Kudzma)