Al will celebrate his 45th year in broadcasting in 2014. It was in 1969 when WKBW’s legendary program director Jeff Kaye took a chance on a fresh, young talent out of Buffalo State. Al has not been out of broadcasting since. He has worked at WWOL, WNIA, WYSL, AM and FM and WBUF in Buffalo, plus WBUZ in Fredonia, WUSJ in Lockport, WKBK in Keene, NH and WPGC in Washington, D.C.
But it was at WEBR where Al Wallack made his mark in broadcasting. He joined the station in 1972 as host of the all-night program. Wallack then moved to mid-days and became production director. When WEBR was sold to the Western New Public Broadcasting Association (WNYPBA) in 1976, Wallack stayed on and became host of one of the most popular jazz programs in Buffalo broadcasting history, Jazz in the Nighttime.
At 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, Wallack would delight Western New York jazz aficionados with a wonderful blend of mainstream jazz, from Dave Brubeck to Dizzy Gillespie. In fact, after Dizzy made a concert appearance in Buffalo in the early 1980s, Al invited him to a house party in the Gates Circle neighborhood where Dizzy jammed with several local jazz artists into the early hours of the morning. Al often took Jazz in the Nighttime on the road for live performances from the Tralf, the old Statler and even from someone’s house (the same house that Dizzy had visited).
Wallack once majored in education for emotionally-handicapped children. This, he said, prepared him for dealing effectively with jazz musicians.
Today, Wallack continues as the voice of Buffalo’s 24-hour jazz station, WBFO-HD2.
When WNYPBA dropped WEBR’s daytime news and evening jazz format in 1993, Wallack was named operations director of the newly re-branded WNED-AM 970, which aired NPR news programming, the BBC and local news updates. He also served as the station’s program director for 12 years. Wallack’s smooth delivery made him an obvious choice to voice IDs and station promotional announcements on WNED-TV. He narrated many of the station’s locally produced documentaries over 15 years. Wallack played a significant role in the production of Don’t Touch That Dial, a WNED documentary on the history of Buffalo broadcasting.
Wallack is a graduate of Buffalo State. He was a founding board member of the Buffalo Broadcasters Association. Al and his wife Peggy have a daughter Erin. In 2012, Al became a proud grandfather.