Pompeanis make Point Park, broadcasting a tradition Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Ask anyone who follows local sports in Pittsburgh, Pa., Pompeani is practically a household name. Bob Pompeani (COM 1982) has spent the last 28 years living and breathing sports broadcasting at KDKA-TV since he graduated from Point Park with a degree in journalism and mass communication. He will address graduating students at the 2011 commencement ceremony on May 7 at the Consol Energy Center.
"I loved sports, I always have. I'm a big believer that anyone who gets into anything in life has to be passionate about it. If not, you're wasting your time, probably," says Pompeani. The sports director broadcasts a TV sports call-in show seven nights a week and anchors sports at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. Add in pregame and post-game shows during the Pittsburgh Steelers football season and special sports coverage like the 2011 NHL Winter Classic in Pittsburgh on New Year's Day, and it's no wonder Pompeani occasionally works 17-hour days.
His passion for sports began as an athlete in baseball, basketball and golf in high school in Hopewell Township, northwest of Pittsburgh, where he grew up. He was forced to give up his first love, though, when he had to undergo the first of two open-heart surgeries before his senior year. Pompeani believes it was God's way of telling him he was not meant to be a professional athlete. "That's what led me to think, 'I have to make sports a part of my life, how do I do it?'"
In attending Point Park, Pompeani says the fact that professors had been in the broadcast journalism business made a big difference. "It gave me a lot of opportunity to meet a lot of good people. Internships were huge."
It was his internship at KDKA-TV, and giving 110 percent every day to his work, that resulted in Pompeani being hired shortly after graduation. It's also what he attributes to the rare feat of working at the same TV station for nearly three decades in what can be an unstable industry. "I've gone through eight different news directors, lots of GMs (general managers), and everybody has different tastes. You never know if you're going to be part of their tastes. I always work hard, and I've never changed that. I try to tell it to my kids."
It was Pompeani's love for his Point Park experience and his career that led his two daughters, Chelsea, 21, and Celina, 18, to follow in his footsteps. "He loved it here (Point Park); he talked highly about it all the time," remarks Chelsea, a graduating senior in the University's broadcasting program.
Although her father never pushed her in any direction, Chelsea says hearing her father talk about how much he loved his work while she was growing up had an influence. "I would want to love my job like he loves his," she says.
For Celina, a freshman broadcasting major, the desire for a television career came about more by osmosis. "I remember in third grade, I always wanted to be him and do what he does. I loved going down to the station, and he would put my sister and I at the news desk, and we would practice reading. So, we kind of just got into it ourselves."
Celina says Point Park was her first choice, not only because of the experiences of her father and sister but also her uncle. "He would tell me how great it was, too." Bruce Pompeani (COM 1984) has a successful advertising career.
Both Chelsea and Celina believe Point Park's program and their father's career path will help them in a competitive industry, but as their father always reminds them, "an 'in' is just an opportunity. It's what you do with that opportunity that will define you."
One of Pompeani's favorite sayings is 'hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.' His hard work has led to many awards, including the Golden Quill, Emmy and Associated Press.
His career and accomplishments would not have been possible, Pompeani says, without the support of his wife, Lisa, whom he credits with raising two 'great' daughters. "Lisa always understood my crazy hours, which gave me the opportunity to do what I do. Without her, that does not happen."
Text by Nancy Commella
Photo by Jim Judkis
Article appeared in the spring 2011 edition of The Point, a magazine for alumni and friends of Point Park University.