There are several off-air moves involving the local broadcast community.
Buddy Shula is now Regional Marketing Manager/On-Air Sales for Buffalo’s Entercom stations.
Ross DiFranco has departed Townsquare Media where he had served as General Sales Manager. Dan Budzinski is the new Director of Sales for Townsquare and its stations WYRK, 106.5FM, WBLK, 93.7FM, WJYE, 96.1FM and WBUF, 92.9FM.
Time Warner Cable has hired two new sales representatives. Stacey Fudella comes to TWC from WIVB/WNLO while Vanessa Miller has left Entercom to join the cable TV/Internet provider.
Tom Langmyer has been named VP/GM of Journal Broadcast Groupâ€™s Milwaukee radio operations. The announcement was made by Executive Vice President/Radio Steve Wexler, who was recently named to his current role and is stepping away from his day-to-day GM role to focus on Journalâ€™s 35-station radio division. Langmyer joined Journal as VP/News-Talk programming in August 2013. He was once a program host and traffic reporter at WGR 550AM.
Former WIVB, Ch. 4 reporter Michele McClintick Mehaffy has been named consumer affairs manager for the Buffalo Division of Wegmans, according to a posting on Buffalo News TV critic Alan Pergament’s blog.
Former WIVB, Ch. 4 news reporter Anthony Congi has landed at a Portland, Oregon TV station. He has joined the morning news team at FOX affiliate KPTV. Congi left Channel 4 last fall to move back to the West Coast. He is a native of Northern California.
WLKK, 107.7FM has introduced live announcers to its music format known as “Alternative Buffalo 107.7FM.” Buffalo News critic Alan Pergament writes in his blog that Tiffany Bentley started this week as morning host from 6am to 12noon. She worked as a music journalist for several publications. She also spent time at a public radio station in Pennsylvania and as a music host at a Syracuse rock station. Program director Nik Rivers in on air from 12noon to 6pm.
Tom Schuh, a veteran Buffalo radio programmer, was inducted into the WSBU Radio Hall of Fame at a ceremony at St. Bonaventure University Saturday. Schuh is a 1984 graduate of St. Bonaventure and was program director of WSBU before embarking on his successful career in Buffalo broadcasting. He is currently programming WECK, 1230AM and 102.9FM. Schuh was the longtime program director of WHTT, 104.1FM during its years as Oldies 104. Joining Schuh in the WSBU Hall is Dom Genova from the Class of 1975. During his tenure as station manager, Genova prepared and filed the application for an FCC license, resulting in the creation of WSBU as a ten watt radio station in April 1975. Also inducted was Justin Craig from the Class of 1998 who currently works for ESPN Radio.
Polly Van Doren is leaving her post as news director of WKBW, Channel 7 to take a similar position in the Dayton, Ohio market. Van Doren spent a year-and-a-half at Channel 7. During that time, she provided much enthusiasm and effort as a board member of the Buffalo Broadcasters Association. Van Doren will head up the news department for stations WKEF (ABC) and WRGT (FOX) in Dayton. Channel 7 General Manager Michael Nurse announced Lisa Polster will succeed Van Doren, effective February 3rd. Polster has been Channel 7’s assistant news director. She has also served as executive producer, producer of the 11pm news and assignment editor. Polster has also worked at WPSD-TV in Paducah, KY and WBFF-TV in Baltimore, MD.
Shannon Shepherd, the BBA’s 2012 Tim Russert Medal of Merit winner, has been hired as a sports anchor at Syracuse TV station, WSYR, Channel 9. She has worked at WSAU-TV in Wausau, Wisconsin, covering the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Badgers teams. Shepherd is a graduate of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at St. Bonaventure University. She’ll assume her new duties on January 30th.
Chris Nichter, the longtime production director at WBUF, 92.9FM, was let go this week by Townsquare Media. Nichter is a talented broadcast professional who delivered creative spots for clients of all sizes. In a posting on his Facebook page early Thursday, he wrote, â€œAfter 26 years of the highest quality and faithful service as production director at WBUF-FM (in all its incarnations), I’ve been the victim of corporate downsizing. My position was eliminated today. I’m still in shock!â€ Nichter is reaching out to anyone in need of an â€œexperienced voice actor of 33 years with many impressive credentials.â€
WGRZ, Channel 2 is bringing back investigative reporter Steve Brown to the Buffalo market. He joins the Channel 2 News team next Monday, January 13th. Brown is returning to Buffalo 14 years after he left. Since 1997, he had been working as a Midwest political reporter for the Fox News Channel, based in Chicago. During his time there, Brown covered four presidential election campaigns, during which he appeared live on the floor of national conventions, and filed stories in 44 states. He also exposed the easy, undetected routes by land and air into the U.S. after 9/11. Brown received his bachelorâ€™s degree in communications from Canisius College in 1983. He was previously with WGRZ from 1990-1994 as a reporter and anchor. He also spent three years at WKBW, Channel 7 before he went to Chicago.
Hannah Buehler of Buffalo has been hired as a multi-media journalist by WKBW, Channel 7. She has spent the past two years working for the Buffalo Bills. Buehler starts January 13th. She is a former intern at Channel 7 and graduated from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville in 2011.
WGRZ, Channel 2 has named Dan Meyers as marketing and promotions director for the local Buffalo television station. Meyers was previously the commercial production director at WGRZ. He has been the â€œactingâ€ marketing director since September. He is responsible for many of the stationâ€™s current campaigns including the acclaimed â€œReady for the Olympicsâ€ promotional spots. From 2000-2012, Meyers was the marketing and promotions director at WIVB, Channel 4. He is a graduate of West Seneca West High School and earned his communications degree from Fredonia State.
Jim Toellner, general manager of WGRZ, Channel 2, has been named “general manager of the year” by a leading trade publication. He was recognized in the category of TV markets 51 -100 by Broadcasting and Cable. Toellner was recognized for his leadership as WGRZ has risen in the local news ratings. He has served as GM for the past ten years.
Three veteran Buffalo broadcasters received long overdue “hardware” at the annual holiday luncheon and annual meeting of the Buffalo Broadcasters Association. When the BBA first started holding its Hall of Fame ceremonies in the late 1990s, a number of TV and radio personalities, anchors and reporters received “distinguished broadcaster” awards. This award ceased in the early 2000s. Then, the BBA board voted several years ago to consider the “distinguished broadcasters” as members off the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame. But these respected members of our Hall of Fame never received the special plaque that goes with the honor. That was remedied at the luncheon when Hall of Famers Ron Arnold, Fran Lucca and Lois Ringle were presented with their “hardware” by Hall of Fame Chair Don Angelo. Arnold is best known for his time as news director of WEBR, 970AM in the 1960s. Fran Lucca was a news editor at WBEN 930AM and then anchored documentaries and other specials on WNED, Channel 17. Ringle was the longtime program director of WUTV, Channel 29. Congrats to Ron, Fran and Lois!
Aaron Mason, producer of WIVB, Channel 4’s 11pm newscast, has been promoted to executive producer of News 4 Buffalo. Mason has been with the station for ten years.
Elysia Rodriguez has been hired as a reporter at WIVB, Channel 4. She arrives in Buffalo after more than four years at WWLP-TV in Western Massachusetts. She anchored the station’s #1 rated evening newscasts. Rodriguez earned two regional Emmys for her work covering the aftermath of a tornado that hit downtown Springfield, Massachusetts in June of 2011. Prior to Massachusetts, Elysia was a reporter with WQOW-TV in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She also spent time behind the scenes as a producer at WPRI/Fox Providence in Rhode Island. Rodriguez graduated from Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Arts in both communication and political science.
Alan Pergament reports on his Talkin’ TV blog that WKBW, Channel 7 Sports Director Jeff Russo has signed a new three year contract, effective January 1. Russo will continue as the station’s primary sports anchor at 6 and 11pm.
WGRZ, Channel 2 news anchor Scott Levin is recovering from back surgery. Buffalo News TV Critic Alan Pergament reports in his blog, Talkin’ TV, that Levin underwent the surgery following the end of the November sweeps. He anticipates returning to his anchor chair after the New Year’s holiday. During his absence, reporters Michael Wooten and Pete Gallivan are filling in alongside Mary Alice Demler.
WGRZ, Channel 2 “Daybreak” anchor John Beard has posted on his Facebook page that he and the cast of the Netflix distributed comedy, “Arrested Development,” have been nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award. Beard plays the role of a TV newscaster in the show. He originally landed that role when he was a news anchor in Los Angeles during the first run of “Arrested Development” on FOX.
There have been several personnel moves at YNN Buffalo, Time-Warner Cableâ€™s 24-hour news station.
Producer Stephen Marth has been promoted to senior producer.
Executive Producer Kelly Hayes Holland is now assistant news director.
YNN has hired Jennifer Auh as an anchor/reporter. Rebecca Vogt has come on board as a reporter.
Jon Dougherty, who was with YNN Buffalo since its start in March 2009, is now at YNN Albany.
Reporter Natalia Martinez has left the company.
Veteran Buffalo sales executive Ed Bassler has been named vice president of sales for WBBZ, Channel 67.
Bassler is a native of Cazenovia, New York just outside of Syracuse. A 1990 graduate of Buffalo State, Bassler began his television career began in production at WIVB, Channel 4 and WKBW, Channel 7 before moving on to become an account executive for the FOX affiliate, WUHF-TV, in Rochester.
His sales career took him to WSTM-TV in Syracuse and WTNH-TV in New Haven, Connecticut. He then returned to WKBW for a time. A management opportunity sent Bassler back to New Haven as head of the sales department at WCTX-TV. He went from national to local sales manager and was later promoted to station manager.
Bassler then came back to Buffalo in 2004 at WIVB , Channel 4 and WNLO, Channel 23 where he remained until 2013.