Skip to Main Content Jump to Main Content
Chris Bohinski and Rachel Malak of PA live! -- Why NEPA? image
December 05, 2023
Chris Bohinski and Rachel Malak of PA live! -- Why NEPA?
Michelle Johnson

"It’s truly an honor to be part of people’s lives and meet so many of the wonderful people that make up Northeastern PA.” -- Chris Bohinski

Chris Bohinski and Rachel Malak are, not surprisingly, the same personable, humorous, warm and energetic people we see daily on television. As co-hosts of PA live!, Northeastern and Central PA’s only live, daytime lifestyle show, the pair’s enthusiasm, passion and motivation are apparent.

NEPA natives (him from Wilkes-Barre Township; her from Shavertown), the high-spirited pair are aware of the great privilege they have in highlighting NEPA’s amazing communities and telling the stories of the people, nonprofits, businesses and organizations elevating our region.

Their easy banter and quick wit were on full display as we took a seat on the studio’s familiar white couch and turned the tables on them. The interviewers became the interviewees as we learned about their path to PA live!, Chris’ dedication to supporting and uplifting local charities, Rachel’s love for Taylor Swift, and finally, Why NEPA?


How long have you lived in NEPA?

Rachel: I’ll go first. I say forever (since 1997. 26 years). I was away for college but I was always home for holidays and some weekends. This was always capital H, home.

Chris: I would say, for…like, I don’t know how to answer because I don’t want to say most of my life. I lived in West Virginia for four years in college. And then I lived in New York City for three years.

Rachel: That’s 7 out of 33.

Chris: Which is 1/5.

Rachel: I would say most of your life is fair. Do you agree?

Chris: So, um, a good chunk of my life in NEPA.

Rachel: (Laughing) 33 minus 7!

What do you love about your town?

Rachel: Shavertown/Jackson Twp. is rural, especially my home, home which is the farm (Pine Tree Farm) itself. I like to be able to go home and have, you know, just fresh air to breath and deer and animals around. You know, those are all things that are very homey.

Chris: My father was a family physician and our mom the RN-slash-nurse-secretary in their practice, which was in Wilkes-Barre Twp. So, growing up, when you would go to the store, or when you’d go to church, you may not know someone, but maybe they were a patient of our parents’ or a friend of someone. It was like, even the people you didn’t know, you knew.

And now as an adult, I still get, your father was my doctor. But more frequently I get, I love you on TV. I feel like I know you. Even the people that you don’t know, you kind of know.

What’s your favorite NEPA restaurant?

Rachel: I have two. Am I allowed to say two? Tipsy Turtle. I’m obsessed with the Tipsy Turtle. To eat, I’m always going to go for a turtle bite salad, no blue cheese crumble. I don’t like a blue cheese. I’m a ranch girl. But I’ll just do a mild sauce. And always a side of mac & cheese. They have one of the best macaroni and cheese plates I’ve ever had. Never disappoints.

My other favorite is Hops & Barleys. I’m obsessed with Hops & Barleys. That’s me and my moms’ spot. I can think of a million times we met at Hops & Barleys. You have the french onion soup and you just forget about your troubles. I love it there. They’ve got a good french fry, too.

Chris: Growing up in such a culture-rich area, you learn to love food. Pizza is a staple and has been in our family forever. My favorite pizza locally is Ricci’s Pizza – also known as Richie’s, depending who you ask – on Park Ave. in Wilkes-Barre because of their sweet sauce and their chicken wing stromboli with mild sauce. Not hot.

Any sort of Chinese restaurant, food, buffet, I will try once. Encourage me to make your favorite, my favorite, because I love to eat and I’m always looking for new Chinese places.

And although they don’t sell food, Jitty Joe’s Ice Cream in Moosic, because I consider dessert a meal.

Rachel: Correct

Chris: Correct. And any restaurant that has french onion soup. Wildflowers New York Bistro, I love. Grotto, you can’t go wrong. I love Norm’s Pizza french onion soup.

What’s your favorite thing to do in NEPA?

Chris: Be in nature. I’m gonna bring it back to bird watching (his favorite hobby). I love to go to Kirby Park, Frances Slocum, Ricketts Glen and Harveys Lake. Anywhere that has multiple environments – trees, water, fields.

Rachel: I think my favorite thing, and it’s a specific one, but the Riverfront Yoga Project. I’m obsessed with it. They do it in the summertime. It is so lovely and every time I go it just makes me so happy to see how many people are coming out to practice together. I feel like I have a greater appreciation for yoga, for my community and that so many people love it. You always see someone you know and I just love, love, love that. I wish it happened all year round. It’s fantastic.

What’s next for you?

Chris: There is a quote from Condoleezza Rice I live by. Having lost both parents before I was 30, it kind of made me not only have to shift my focus in life earlier then most people, I think, but it made me really have to hone in on living in the moment and being in the moment and enjoying the moment.

So, to me, I’m just living each day and moment as a happy time of my life. I never planned on working at PA live!, so, if I would have had to guess what I was going to do next before it, not only would I have been wrong, but maybe this opportunity wouldn’t have presented itself. I’m just open to life’s unexpected twist and turns and serendipitous paths.

Rachel: I don’t really know, but I’m open to opportunity. Something that surprised me about NEPA and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market is that it’s bigger in the television world then I realized. I think our mid-market size is the level a lot of people are trying to get to. And I feel really lucky and proud that I happened upon a really great size market that happens to be in my hometown.

It’s special to work on the station you grew up watching. I appreciate it more than if I got a job in a random city somewhere in the world. I’m very aware I’m already at the level that a lot of people are trying really hard and working really hard to prove that their good enough to get to. That feels amazing. But I’m also aware that this is a really good launch point and I think our area has shown that time and time again. There’s a lot of really great talent that comes out of our area and goes very far and remain very proud to call NEPA home. I like to think that one day I’ll be insanely famous and everyone in the world will know who I am and I’ll always be able to say it started in Wilkes-Barre.

Chris: It will happen.

Rachel: Let the record show.

Where do you see NEPA heading in the future?

Rachel: I think every day we see on the show that NEPA is becoming a more inclusive place and a more tolerant place. I think it took me going away and coming back and finding pockets of people that were really passionate about driving progressive change in our area. And our show has been a really great opportunity to highlight a lot of those organizations that are doing really beautiful things and making it ultimately just more inclusive and tolerant. I think that’s something that any region in the world should focus on, always. And I’m glad we get to play a little role in that.

Chris: Seventeen counties of Pennsylvania, so about one-third of the state, are sharing with us what they are doing to make their communities a better and brighter place. It’s just a huge, awesome reminder that there is so much good going on. That is a great motivation for me to further be an advocate for NEPA knowing how much is happening and going on to make it a place where people want to come. Or make it a destination. Or make it someone’s home.


Chris: Why I chose to live in NEPA as an adult is because it’s a great environment that fosters love and community and companionship and fellowship and kindness. And even the people you don’t know, you know.

Rachel: First and foremost, it’s home. It’s just all I’ve ever known in a lot of ways. So, the question to me becomes more of, why stay? The short answer is opportunity. There is more in NEPA then I realized. There’s always different ways to get better in NEPA and I think there’s a lot of people willing to help you get to the level you want to be at. There’s a vested interest in my success and that feels good.