by Mark Scott
An experience I had a couple of weeks ago gave me a greater appreciation of what talk show hosts do every day. I pulled a 10am-2pm fundraising shift on WNED 94.5FM and then walked down the hall (and down the radio dial) to WBFO 88.7FM for the afternoon news shift. At the end of eight straight hours on the air, I could feel the strain on my vocal cords. Then I thought, there are radio hosts who talk nearly non-stop for a four-hour air shift, five days a week. Plus, there’s one, Rich Gaenzler, who is on the air for seven hours a day. From 12noon to 3pm, Gaenzler hosts sports talk on WHLD 1270AM and then hits the air as “Bull” on WEDG 103.3FM from 3-7pm. He’s been doing this for two years now. You can’t fake a talk show. It requires preparation. I often tune in to his WHLD show. He’s just not taking calls from listeners. There are a number of interviews scheduled over the course of the three hours. All that takes work and planning. Then, when the sports shift is over, Gaenzler heads to the Edge where he does another four hours. I recognize that many of us put in long hours. When I was news director of WBFO, my typical workday was at least ten hours long. But to be on the air – non-stop – for seven straight hours has to be a challenge. Rich, what’s your secret?
Speaking of voices, I almost spit out my coffee – Danny Thomas-style — when I opened the Sunday News a couple of weeks ago and saw my name in Alan Pergament’s follow-up column on the voices of Buffalo broadcasting. I never thought I was blessed with a great set of pipes. In fact, I recently listened to a newscast that I recorded shortly after I landed my first job at the old WMNS 1360AM in Olean. Let’s just say I’ve come a long way. In any event, my son bruised the old ego right before Thanksgiving dinner the other day. I told him about the article and how Alan’s girlfriend liked my voice. He turned to me with an incredulous look and said, “You?” Yeah! Time to carve the turkey!
Kudos to all Buffalo broadcasters for their outstanding work during the Snovember lake effect storm. Thanks to today’s technology, it was interesting to see and hear the way reporters stranded in their homes were able to file video and audio reports for airplay. Plus, anchors and reporters who lived outside the hard hit areas put in extra hours to bring the story to viewers and listeners. On the storm’s first day, I was watching Melissa Holmes and John Beard on WGRZ Channel 2. By the time I turned off the TV at 1:30, they had been on the air for 9-1/2 straight hours. I also watched coverage on WIVB Channel 4, WKBW Channel 7 and TWC News where everyone from the anchors and reporters to the meteorologists brought the latest information and interesting stories to viewers. On the radio side, I spent most of my time (as would be expected) listening to my colleagues at WBFO. They provided comprehensive coverage. WBEN was live and local all day long from Tuesday through Sunday. And from what I hear from family and friends, hosts on FM music stations stepped up and provided their listeners with necessary information along with the tunes. So, again, congratulations on a job well done!
Now a request of my broadcasting colleagues. I was told this 20 years ago. And now, I’m somewhat of zealot when it comes to this. IT’S NOT THE WALDEN GALLERIA MALL!!! Galleria is just another name for mall. You wouldn’t say the Walden Mall Mall. So, don’t refer to it as the Walden Galleria Mall. It’s simply the Walden Galleria. Please share this with your newsrooms! If anyone is reading this from the NFTA, please change the destination display on the front of your buses from Galleria Mall to Walden Galleria. Okay, rant over!
One final note. After ten years as president of the Buffalo Broadcasters Association, Dave Gillen has decided to step aside and not seek re-election. Words are not sufficient to express just how important Dave has been to our organization. When he took over, the BBA was foundering. Leadership was lacking. But Dave galvanized the board, and things started to happen. The process of selecting inductees to the Hall of Fame was formalized and subject to a vote of membership. The arduous task of converting boxes and boxes of old film to a digital format started under Dave’s leadership. He is part of a team with leaders of the Sports and Music Halls of Fame in Buffalo planning for a museum. Dave offered strong support to board members Ron Rice and Heidi Raphael who created the 5K Celebrity Run and Buffalo Excellence in Media Awards respectively. The bottom line is that Dave Gillen provided the professional leadership that the BBA needed, and we are now a much stronger organization as we approach our 20th anniversary in 2016. Dave will remain on the board, and no doubt will continue to influence our continued development. Thank you, Dave, for all you have done for the BBA and Buffalo broadcasting!