About six months ago, KDKA-TV’s Heather Abraham announced that she would be abdicating the anchor chair on “Your Day Pittsburgh.” It was a tough decision but one she desperately needed for her own mental and physical well-being.
“It has been life-changing coming off the morning shift,” Abraham told the Union Progress. “I just started to really listen to myself and recognize I have a voice in my own life. For so long, especially as a young woman, you think you have to keep climbing the ladder. … It got to the point where I thought that I needed to speak up for what I want.”
It turned out a little extra sleep wasn’t all Abraham wanted.
Starting Monday, you’ll be able to catch her weekdays at 9 a.m. on “Pittsburgh Today Live” and at 3 p.m. as the host of KDKA-TV’s newest show, “Talk Pittsburgh.” It will have elements of both newscasts and talk shows as it strives, as Abraham put it, to highlight “the things that are important in your neighborhood.”
This will be Abraham’s first solo hosting gig at KDKA-TV since the two years she spent helming “Pittsburgh Today Live” by herself before David Highfield joined the show in 2019. “Talk Pittsburgh” will come in addition to her “PTL” hosting duties and the hard work she puts in maintaining her burgeoning TikTok and Instagram followings. Abraham said that KDKA meteorologist Mary Ours is “the instigator” always encouraging her to make new videos.
After pulling back on “Your Day Pittsburgh,” Abraham began contemplating “what this next chapter would look like.” She had noticed during her three maternity leaves that there isn’t much local programming being offered in the afternoon. After discussing that observation with KDKA news director Shawn Hoder, they decided to start developing “Talk Pittsburgh” as a way to “fill that void.”
“We are breaking the mold on how we will connect with our community,” Hoder said via text. “This is a show for them. And the key to ‘Talk Pittsburgh’ is conversation. … I am beyond eager to get it on the air.”
Abraham said that Hoder kept using the word “hope” to describe the overall tone he was looking for with “Talk Pittsburgh.” The show’s goal is to “expand conversations” about hot local and national topics that are relevant to Pittsburghers while also proving platforms for our neighbors attempting to solve problems and “doing things to make the situation better.”
“Talk Pittsburgh” will be structured like a talk show with live guests and “nods to news,” though Abraham doesn’t think anyone will mistake it for a traditional newscast. The show will be catering to anyone who happens to be home at 3 p.m. to watch it, which Abraham said will include her “in the kitchen some days” to help folks come up with dinner ideas.
She has a few recurring segments planned, though the one she’s most excited about is “KD Kids Club.” It was inspired by her daughters, who like to “play news” in an effort to emulate what they see their mother doing on TV. Abraham showed a video of that to KDKA vice president and general manager Chris Cotugno, who thought it may be valuable for “Talk Pittsburgh” to devote some time to the “amazing things kids are doing.”
There also will be some more serious stories featured, such as the visit Abraham recently paid to the Mid-Atlantic Mother’s Milk Bank, a nonprofit dedicated to providing breast milk to babies in need. She credited the fun and informative content viewers will see on “Talk Pittsburgh” to the show’s “amazing studio crew,” photojournalist Scott Danka, and producers Maggie Rhoads and Allante Walker.
“I feel beyond blessed to have this opportunity,” Abraham said. “I’ve worked really hard here at KDKA, and I appreciate the support I’ve seen from the community over the years. … I appreciate Shawn and Chris standing beside me, wanting to see me succeed at KDKA and giving me another opportunity to do so.”
Despite her years of on-air hosting experience, Abraham said she’s still feeling some “nervous excitement” over launching a new show. She encouraged Pittsburghers to provide plenty of feedback to help ensure that “Talk Pittsburgh” is “enjoyable for everybody to watch.”
“I really want Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania to be part of this process,” she said. “This show is for them. If there’s something they want us to cover or a person they think is making a difference in their community, we’re here for them.”