Western New York’s broadcasting community has lost one of its last true pioneers. Alfred E. Anscombe died this morning. One of the rare “triple pioneers, he had almost 70 years of experience in the radio, television and cable industries as an on-air talent, manager and owner-operator.
Anscombe was born in Buffalo, New York. While still in high school he became the Junior Sports Announcer for Buffalo Broadcasting Corporation, which operated two Buffalo radio stations, WKBW-AM and WGR-AM.
After World War II, Mr. Anscombe rejoined WKBW-AM as Public Relations Director and in 1947. He became a major player in that company, eventually rising to vice president and station manager of WKBW Radio. In that post, he presided over such widely diverse talents as Bill Mazur, Foster Brooks, Stan Jasinski, Jack Mahl and George “Hound Dog” Lorenz. He later was prominent in the management team that transformed KB into one of America’s great rock radio stations.
Anscombe’s commercial and political efforts were paramount in securing the FCC license for WKBW-TV (Channel 7) in 1958. After serving as Vice President of WKBW-TV, he sold his ownership interest when the radio and television stations were sold to Capital Cities Broadcasting.
Mr. Anscombe then joined John Kluge Enterprises (later known as Metromedia) as Executive Vice President. After years of playing an integral role as executive vice president in the growth, development and success of John Kluge’s multi-billion dollar broadcasting empire, Anscombe ventured in the ownership world himself, owning or being a partner in more than 40 radio, broadcast television and cable television companies, and cable networks throughout the United States.
During this time, Mr. Anscombe received construction permits and successfully built WBJA-TV in Binghamton, New York and WEPA-TV in Erie, Pennsylvania.
He formed a Community Antenna Company known as Frontier Television, Inc., Amherst Cablevision, Inc., and Ken-Ton Cablevision, Inc. After selling these cable television entities to International Cable, he formed First Columbia, Inc., a media investment group with radio and television stations throughout the country.
Anscombe has been active in many business organizations. He is a founding member and Chairman Emeritus of the Buffalo Broadcasters Association. He is past chairman of the Amherst Industrial Development Corporation and past president of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce.
Anscombe also served on the Board of Directors of: The Empire State Chamber of Commerce, Millard Fillmore Hospital, Daemen College, West Seneca State Hospital (a division of the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene), the National Board of the Episcopal Foundation for Radio and Television. He has served as Chairman of the State University of New York at Buffalo Advisory Council, the Search Committee of Daemen College and the Canisius College Religious Studies Council.
Click here for the Announcement in the Buffalo News.