Very few people in any field can claim they went from intern to boss at one company. But Chris Musial did so over a 35 year career at WIVB-WNLO. The now retired general manager of Channel 4 oversaw its ascension to the number one ranking in the local news ratings. Musial is being inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame as this year’s winner of the Al Anscombe Award, named in memory of the Buffalo broadcasting and cable TV pioneer. It is awarded each year to a manager in the broadcasting industry who has upheld the highest ideals.
Musial’s broadcasting career started in 1974 at WSMH Radio (Saint Mary’s HS, Lancaster) 91.3 FM, before heading to Medaille College where he contributed at WJPM 91.7 FM. His experiences at Medaille led Musial to an internship and then employment at WIVB-TV. He began in 1978, producing weekend newscasts. After a short period of on-air reporting, Musial made the permanent shift to behind-the-camera, producing the 6 p.m. daily newscasts. He was honored as a producer, statewide and regionally, by the AP and UPI.
After becoming Channel 4’s news director, Musial was later honored with the NYS Associated Press Grand Prize for Overall Excellence. He was nominated for 15 Emmy Awards, winning seven of them. Musial’s role as executive producer of newscasts and special news programs received NYS Broadcasters Association awards, plus national CINE Golden Eagle and Gabriel Awards. He’s been honored by the New York and Chicago Film and Television Festivals, the Ad Council and NATPE.
While serving as news director and president/general manager, his efforts and those of his WIVB-TV and WNLO-TV colleagues resulted in Channel 4 being cited three times for achieving the distinction of being the highest overall rated television station in the United States from sign-on to sign-off. Several times, it was the highest-rated CBS affiliate in the nation. WNLO-TV was also named the top CW affiliate in 2012, winning the Model Affiliate Award. Since its inception, the 10 p.m. news on Channel 23 has been the top rated UPN & now CW network affiliated newscast in the nation.
Those efforts led to Musial being chosen by LIN Media to help create and guide the corporate-wide LIN Media News & Digital Task Force for three and a half years, helping stations transition and thrive during a time of fast moving technological change and opportunity.
Musial supports the Buffalo Broadcasters Association efforts to restore, digitize and preserve the priceless collection of news film and videotape from Buffalo’s past. This spring, Musial was inducted into the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
Musial has actively supported many community causes and remains involved in the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Tops Markets efforts to battle cancer, in memory his wife of 28 years, Michele, who died three years ago. Chris also enjoys spending time with his four sons, daughter, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.