PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – David McCullough is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and on Wednesday will receive the Chairman’s Award for his commitment to the community at the American Ireland Fund Dinner hosted by Ambassador Dan Rooney.
KDKA Radio’s Larry Richert talked to McCullough in an exclusive interview to discuss his Pittsburgh roots, what he’s working on next, and his connection to KDKA Radio.
McCullough says when he thinks back to his childhood in Pittsburgh, he remembers, “Growing up on Glen Arden Drive in the East End and all of the houses filled with kids.”
He says he had friends all along the street.
“I still think of them fondly,” he says.
When he decided he wanted to be a writer, McCullough was working for the Kennedy Administration as a part of the U.S. Information Agency that was being run by Edward R. Murrow at the time.
He says he found a few photographs at the Library of Congress that were taken just days after the 1889 Johnstown flood.
“That started me being very curious about what [had] happened and why. That led to my first book,” he said. “As soon as I started writing that Johnstown book, I knew instantly [writing books was] what I [wanted] to do with the rest of my life.”
Does McCullough have a favorite book he has written?
“The favorite is always the one I’m working on,” he said.
He is currently writing a book about the Wright Brothers.
The Sixteenth Street Bridge is named after McCullough and he is very grateful.
“I can’t think of a greater honor to have a bridge named for you in your own hometown, a town you love with all your heart,” he said.
Wednesday night at Heinz Field is the American Ireland Fund Dinner and McCullough will be speaking.
“I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s going to be one of the highlights of the year for me,” he said.
Many may also know McCullough for his voice-over work with public television and movies. He says his first time being exposed to a microphone is when he was on KDKA Radio. He was asked to do a show with some high school classmates of his when he was 15.
“The idea that I was on KDKA, to me, was as if I’d opened on Broadway. It was just so thrilling,” he said.