Thursday, March 28, 2013

3.28.13 Hero of the Day: Pete Misiak

Bee-otch of the Day honors are awarded Monday through Thursday, Bee-otch of the Week is awarded Friday on



Name: Pete Misiak
Age: was 57
Occupation: broadcaster
Last Seen: Detroit, MI
Awarded For: being a great voice of the Great Lakes 


One of WJR Detroit's great voices has fallen silent forever.

Earlier in the week, fans of the legendary Detroit AM station were shocked when one of its newsmen, Pete Misiak, died suddenly due to a sudden illness. He was 57. Misiak had been at WJR for many years doing the station's hourly news updates while putting his focus also on his video production company.

But to those who lived in northern Michigan in the 80's and 90's like myself, he was one of the finest broadcasters on the air.

A native of Detroit, Misiak moved to Traverse City as a teen. After high school, he was a member of Fred Waring's Young Pennsylvanians. In the mid-80's, Misiak joined WPBN-TV 7&4, the market's NBC affiliate. He moved to radio in the 1990's as the newsman and sidekick to whoever was the morning man at WKLT. After being let go from KLT in the late 90's, he jumped over to WFQX Fox 33 as that station's lead news anchor and personality. Shortly thereafter, Misiak moved back to Detroit where he did hourly news updates at WJR.

At one point in my life, I knew Pete personally. In 1988, my mother and I went to his church and since I had an interest in broadcasting as a little boy, he invited my mom and I to 7&4 to watch their 6 p.m. newscast in person. The anchors were nice enough to take pictures with me, and one of the end results was the picture you see above. Yes, that little boy in the picture was me, age seven, with Pete to my left and the late, great Dave Walker above us two. They were two of the finest broadcasters in television, and they were taken from us too soon (Walker died a few years ago after a long battle with cancer).

I met Pete again a few years later when I was doing a school project where I had to shadow somebody doing their job. For me, it was being a DJ. I was able to sit in with Tim Murphy at WKLT where Pete was his sidekick and newsman. Pete and I had a nice chat, and it was also the day I learned that he was wearing a toupee all that time. Sadly, it was KLT that made my wishes of being a jock disappeared because of Murph's dismissal all because he trashed a sponsor, Arby's on the air while they were buying a small amount of ads at the same time. He was replaced with Jim Ellis, who was another jock who worked in a ton of big markets only to land in Traverse City because of hard times. I was told that Pete hated Jim because of his idiotic sense of humor and missed Tim. I couldn't agree more. I remember Jim trashing Howard Stern in a newspaper article, and yet he did something Ellis could never do: climb up the ladder in the broadcasting biz. As a matter of fact, Ellis worked at KLT twice before a heart attack killed him several years ago.

But yet, Pete climbed that ladder quite well. Even though I heard that he only did weekend updates at WJR at the end of his life (he was their nighttime anchor for a few years), at least he had his video business to fall back on. It's a shame that one of the nicest men in broadcasting had to leave us way too soon while there's a lot of jerks in the business these days.

Also, SHAME on the northern Michigan news media for not making Pete's death news. I think a lot of people up north would be shocked if they heard about his passing. Hell, I was the guy who posted on 7&4's Facebook page about Pete's passing and the station did say that they were thinking about his family. Good for them, but nothing on their website. Sad. Oh, well.

When I was in Kentucky last Thanksgiving, I was fortunate enough to snatch the photo album were the above picture was taken. I was looking at old albums with my Dad and decided that I needed to post some of the 7&4 pics online. When Pete's death was announced, I quickly remembered the one with me, Pete and Dave Walker. Man, it's amazing that I'm the only one still alive in that picture.

Grim Reaper, don't get any good ideas.

My thoughts are with Pete's family, friends and those who knew him personally. He'll always have a place in my heart and if I ever had a reason to get into broadcasting, he'd be one of the reasons. He'll definitely be missed.

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