PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Longtime KDKA Radio talk show host John Cigna has died.
He passed away Friday afternoon at Vincentian Home in the North Hills. He was 75.
In more than 30 years on the radio on Pittsburgh, what didn’t John Cigna say?
“I talked and told it like it is,” he told KDKA-TV when he retired. “A lot of times, put both feet in my mouth, but it was great.”
A kid from Brooklyn, he came to Pittsburgh by way of radio gigs in West Virginia, Ohio and Indiana. After a decade doing talk on KDKA from 9 p.m. to midnight, he began a top-rated, 18-year-run in the morning drive.
Never shy with an opinion, he could sometimes be convinced to look at things in a new way — although it might take a near-death experience to do the trick. In 1998, while riding his beloved Harley with his buddy Jon Burnett, Cigna was seriously injured in a crash. The accident ended his harsh criticism of the state’s then-mandatory helmet law. “There was a crack in the helmet,” he explained. “That would have been my head had I not been wearing a helmet.”
His loyal listeners will long remember the charity rides, the spaghetti breakfasts in Market Square and the goofball TV spots.
But by 2001, after all those years on the radio, Cigna was ready to learn first-hand about relaxing — ready to give up those brutal early mornings. He announced his retirement in a special broadcast in Gateway Center. His morning show farewell came a few months later, surrounded by family, friends, and co-workers. “What I wanna say to the people,” he said during the broadcast, “thank you! It’s been a great run, there’s no question about it, so, you know, thank you all.”
CBS Radio General Manager Michael Young and Tony Cigna remember John on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA with Robert Mangino: