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Mike Pintek on: Gaining Control of the Situation
Mike Pintek Q: By the end of Wednesday, have you indicated on the air what's happening?

MP: The accident occurred at four a.m. in the morning, and by Wednesday evening we were kind of feeling, wow, that was pretty exciting, but things seem to be under control and everything's going to be all right. And that's essentially how we felt. We thought that, in fact, that afternoon we were rolling some tapes on our newscasts, thinking, ooh, maybe we can win some awards for our coverage. And that continued into Thursday morning, we went to a news conference that was in Hershey. The Metropolitan Edison company held a news conference there, and old Jack Herbein was there. And I remember asking Jack Herbein in a very -- I was very angry. There were a huge number of reporters in this room, more reporters than I've ever seen in my life, and all the microphones, and here's Jack. The Metropolitan Edison people looked kind of surprised that there were so many people there. I remember saying to Herbein, you almost melted that thing down. I don't know why I asked that question, but I did. And he just kind of looked at me, and I don't even remember what his answer was, but I think it was a, no, we didn't really do anything of the sort, kind of an answer. But I just remember staring at him, and saying, you almost melted that thing, didn't you?

Q: So, people are saying things are under control. Are you breathing more easily?

MP: I am breathing more easily on Thursday, because things seemed to be under control. But they still have these, I guess, off-site radiation readings I think, is how they termed it. I forget the time frame on this, but some time during the day Thursday, as I recall, a Doctor Ernest Sternglass from the University of Pittsburgh blows into town and holds a news conference, which we attended. He makes the statement that he believes that pregnant women and pre-school children should leave the area, or something to that effect. We were the only radio station to put that on the air. It caused a near-panic, at least as far as we could tell. One of our disc jockeys, trying to play off our newscast , trying to be his own newsman, starting talking about it as if there was an actual evacuation order. Now, you can imagine, the phones started ringing off the hook. The Governor's office called me, and says, "What the hell are you doing?" So, I got control of the situation by telling the disc jockey to keep quiet and stop talking about this. But at that moment, I was starting to, you know, kind of shudder at what was going on here, because people were nearing a panic situation, I think, because they were afraid.

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