Remembering the past... looking toward the future!

Scott Brown from WGRZ-TV died on Friday after a battle with cancer at the age of 59. 

During his time with Channel 2,  he covered and investigated hundreds of stories on varying topics including, but not limited to, questions surrounding the Erie County Water Authority, the trial and eventual exoneration of Anthony Capozzi, a story about a young boy named David Ferland diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and his quest to walk without a walker, the murder of Jackie Wisniewski, his series titled “Niagara Falls: A Tale of Two Cities,” and numerous stories on Western New York Politics. He was also known for his work in the political realm including campaigns, covering the candidates, and providing Election Night coverage of incoming results. His reporting earned him dozens of honors and accolades including Edward R. Murrow Awards and New York State Emmys.

Brown had joined the station back in 1982 and then went to work for then County Executive Dennis Gorski as his spokesperson. He later returned to WGRZ-TV in the in the early 2000’s and had been with the station since. In November of 2014, Brown went on medical leave from the station and returned in June of 2015 in a part-time capacity. The WEBR-AM alum was a graduate of Buffalo State College, where he studied political science and communications, according to the article from WGRZ’s website.

Brown was also recently nominated for 4 New York State Emmy Awards, which will be awarded in the beginning of May.

There has been no word on whether funeral services will be made public for Brown.

WGRZ-TV announced yesterday that longtime evening anchor Scott Levin will be leaving the NBC affiliate on May 24, 2017 after spending nearly 20 years with the station. He joined back in the fall of 1998, when the station was picking up the lowest ratings in the market, and has been part of the turnaround for WGRZ-TV alongside Maryalice Demler at the anchor desk in recent years. 

In an interview with the Buffalo News, Levin noted he wants to spend more time with family but also wants to capitalize on his interest in the business world. He will be starting with the West Herr Automotive Group in a management position. In a post on Facebook, West Herr President and CEO Scott Bieler said, “West Herr is extremely humbled and grateful that he has decided to continue his career in Buffalo with our company.”

WGRZ-TV has not announced any future plans of who may replace Levin at the anchor desk.


The interim tag is no more now that Lisa Polster has officially been named News Director at WIVB-TV by General Manager Dominic Mancuso. She had been the Interim News Director after Scott Levy left the station in August 2016.

Polster, a Western New York native and Buffalo State College graduate, started working at WKBW-TV in 2002 until 2006 with various roles like assignment editor and producer. She then returned to Western New York  in June of 2009 as an executive producer and rose through the ranks to eventually become News Director in January of 2014. She left that position in June 2015 and went to cross town rival WIVB-TV as the Executive Producer of “Wake Up!” She had previously worked in Paducah and Baltimore.


Following Jon Summers’ retirement, WKBW-TV has announced the Courtney Corbetta will be taking over on a full-time basis on AM Buffalo as a multi-media journalist. Corbetta will also fill in for Pellegrino when she is on vacation.

Corbetta is originally from Lewiston and attended Niagara University where she majored in Communications with a double minor in Theatre and Dance. She had joined AM Buffalo in April 2016 as a part-time feature reporter and also picked up duties hosting “Your Home, Your Way.”

After 14 years with WBLK-FM, Chris Reynolds has left the station. He has served in multiple roles with the company including the most recent combination of Brand Manager/Program Director, Midday Personality, and Promotions Director (which was added recently).  The news was announced on AllAccess this morning.

Reynolds joined WBLK-FM in 2003 but had previously worked in Flint, Baltimore, Houston, Loos Angeles, and Tulsa, which is his hometown. During his time as Brand Manager, ratings soared to second place in the Buffalo market with a strong 9.3 rating for the Fall of 2016.

“The ratings on the station speak volumes to how we were able to touch the community in a real and emotional way; in fact, our recent Fall ratings were the best for the station in over two decades, we accomplished #1 in virtually every demo and all day-parts,” Reynolds said to AllAccess (you can read the full article here).

As we begin March, there have been a few changes to the staffing behind the camera.

Nate Benson from WGRZ-TV is leaving after more than 3 years with the station. Benson worked overnights as a photographer and editor and then added the title of reporter to his credits in covering breaking news. He also worked on reports for part of the “Innovate WNY’ series and investigated topics like 3D-printing, earthquake engineering, and how ice cream is developed at Perry’s. Before joining WGRZ-TV, Benson worked at WBBZ-TV as a technical director and producer and he’s a graduate of the University at Buffalo. He is leaving the broadcasting business and headed for a position with 43 North.

Producer, photographer, and photojournalist, Jim Gibbons has also left WGRZ-TV after coming to the station in 2015. He joins former News Director Jeff Woodard’s staff at the State University of New York at Fredonia as a photographer/editor in the Department of Marketing and Communications. In his time before coming to WGRZ-TV, he spent five years as photographer for Time Warner Cable News Syracuse and also worked with News 10 Now. Gibbons is a graduate of Lyndon State College.

Following the departure of photogrpaher Jim Herr, WKBW-TV has added Rob Neves as an overnight photographer. The Fredonia graduate came to the station from FOX46 Charlotte (WJZY-TV), where he served as an audio engineer. He also worked at WPTZ-TV in Plattsburgh before the stint in Charlotte. He began his position with WKBW-TV in February of 2017.

 

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In an interview with Linda Pellegrino on Tuesday’s edition of AM Buffalo, Jon Summers announced that he is retiring after nearly 59 years in the broadcasting business. Summers was dubbed AM Buffalo’s “Man Around Town” and did local segments at senior centers, festivals, home/garden shows, and much more.

Summers spent 27 years as co-host of the program with Linda Pellegrino and has also been the voice of WKBW-TV by recording commercials that would air throughout the day on the station. From his interview, he stated that there hasn’t been a single week since 1974 that his voice hasn’t appeared on the station in some way.

He came to Buffalo after working in Washington D.C. to WKBW-AM in 1974 and worked with other local stations including WBEN-AM/FM, WJYE-FM, and WECK-AM.

You can see the complete interview of Jon and Linda by clicking on this link.

Photo courtesy of Cleveland.com

Dominic Mancuso has been appointed as the new Vice President and General Manager of WIVB-TV and WNLO-TV by Nexstar Broadcasting as of this morning. The move comes as a part of Nexstar Broadcasting merging with Media General.

According to the press release, Mancuso comes to WIVB-TV with 33 years of broadcasting and sales experience. He was most recently the Vice President and General Manager of WOIO-TV and WUAB-TV in Cleveland, Ohio. Before that, Mancuso worked in Nashville, Tennessee as the General Manager of WZTV-TV, WUXP-TV, and WNAB-TV.

Mancuso has spent over half his career in Chicago, Illinois, as a Vice President of Programming and Promotions for WFLD-TV and WPWR-TV and also in various voles at WGN-TV in the sales department and later became the Station Manager.

Effective immediately, he replaces Rene LaSpina, the former General Manager, who had been at the station since June of 2013.

WBFO has launched their newest news desk that will be covered by reporter and BBA Board Member, Avery Schneider (above). The Health and Wellness Desk is the fourth content-specific news desk in the newsroom and is funded by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York.

Schneider interned with WBFO when it was part of the University at Buffalo in 2010 and returned in 2014 serving multiple roles including program host, reporter, and administrative assistant. He will serve as the lead reporter on this desk assignment.

His new assignment joins Eileen Buckley, Chris Caya, and Scott Sackett, all of whom covered specific areas in the Western New York community.


News broke earlier today that Entercom has entered into an agreement to merge with CBS Radio. According to AllAccess.com, the newly combined company will have  244 stations and a share in 23 of the top 25 markets across the nation. This move will make Entercome the largest pure-play radio station owner in the country. 

The current President of Entercom, David Field, will lead the merged company once the transaction is approved.

There are currently 7 stations owned by Entercom in Western New York including WGR-AM, WTSS-FM, WKSE-FM, WBEN-AM, WLKK-FM, WWKB-AM, and WWWS-AM.

In news from today, Afternoon Drive Host/Assistant Program Director/Music Director Jud Heussler (pictured above) is leaving Kiss 98.5 (WKSE-FM) after spending nearly 8 years with the station. The Fredonia graduate began at the station as an intern and took over the afternoon hosting duties in 2012. Heussler is moving south and heading to Raleigh, North Carolina to be Program Director at duoply Pulse FM 96.9 & 102.5 (WWPL-FM and WPLW-FM). His last day on the air in Buffalo will be Tuesday, January 31. He was also the recipient of the Radio Broadcaster of the Year Award in 2013 from the BEMAs, which used to be hosted by the Buffalo Broadcasters Association.


Also from the Entercom cluster, traffic reporter Allan Harris has undergone a successful kidney transplant. The news was confirmed on Twitter by WBEN-AM on Friday afternoon. Just before Thanksgiving, Harris had announced on the air that there was a kidney transplant available, however, it wasn’t a match. Tim Wenger and Randy Bushover have been filling in while Harris is out recovering. No timetable has been announced of when he will return but we wish him the best as he gets well!


WGRZ-TV’s Claudine Ewing was featured in the Buffalo News article by Alan Pergament for celebrating 25 years in broadcasting. The Buffalo State graduate started off her career at WBEN-AM and WIVB-TV before making the switch over to WGRZ-TV in 1998. Ewing reports regularly and also fills-in on the anchor desk periodically. Congratulations to Claudine on such an incredible milestone!


In news from the producing world, WKBW-TV has added John Tummino as the 11 p.m. producer. He spent two years working at WPTZ-TV, which covered the Burlington, Vermont and Plattsburgh, New York markets. He also worked at WSYR-TV and News 12 New Jersey following graduation from Syracuse University.

Also, Lucas Smith, former producer at WIVB-TV, is now an Executive Producer at WINK-TV in Fort Myers, Florida. As reported previously, Smith had spent 8 years with News 4 before heading south.

As we entered 2017, it was mentioned that weather anchor Kevin O’Connell had planned on retiring in January of this year. On last night’s broadcast, he shared with viewers that he will be staying for another year and a half, making the expected retirement date around June of 2018. The 41-year veteran of the business has already been inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame and has won numerous awards for his work as a broadcaster and community icon.

Also from Tuesday night’s broadcast, O’Connell introduced meteorologist Heather Waldman, who officially started with the station on Monday. Waldman comes from AccuWeather in State College, Pennsylvania and is a Penn State alum. In the news release from WGRZ-TV, Waldman will be covering the weekend newscasts and also working behind-the-scenes three days during the week.

Photo Credit: LinkedIn

In other news, WIVB-TV producer and St. Bonaventure alum Lucas Smith has left the station. He is moving to WINK-TV, the CBS affiliate in Fort Myers, Florida. He had been with the station since 2009 and was producing the 5 p.m. newscasts during the week.