This Week in Pittsburgh History: John Cigna Moves to Mornings

Also, after 20 years of being spelled Pittsburg, the city got its “h” back for good.

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Pittsburgh Gets Back Its “H”
On July 22, 1911, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names decided to officially restore the letter “h” after 20 years of spelling the city’s name “Pittsburg.” The board has previously decided the “h” was superfluous.

Among the things that happened while the city was spelled Pittsburg:

  • Pirates win 1909 World Series
  • First Pro Hockey Game
  • First Pro Football Game
  • The Pittsburg Zoo opened
  • The Carnegie Museum opened
  • Pittsburg Brewing was formed
  • The world’s first movie theater opened on Smithfield Street
  • Allegheny City and Pittsburg merged to form one city
  • Forbes Field opened
  • Kennywood opened

Cigna Moves to Mornings

Throughout the 1960s and 70s, KDKA dominated morning radio ratings with hosts such as Rege Cordic and Jack Bogut. Bogut’s decision to move to WTAE in 1983 caught a lot of his fans by surprise. Nighttime host John Cigna was tapped to replace Bogut.

Fearing a dip in ratings because of Bogut’s popularity, KDKA launched a heavy advertising campaign to promote Cigna’s move to the morning in the form of a series of self-deprecating promos that often left the host battered and bruised. In one of the videos, Cigna appears to jump onto the hood of a moving vehicle and had a door slammed into his face (accidentally) by then-News Director Fred Honsberger. Another of the videos had Cigna strapped to the skids of a helicopter.⇓

Cigna would host the morning show until September 2001, when he yielded the microphone to Larry Richert.

Learn more about the city’s past at The Odd, Mysterious & Fascinating History of Pittsburgh Facebook page.

Categories: This Week in Pgh History