Buffalo Broadcasters

Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame Class of 2014

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September 07, 2014

The 2014 Class of the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame includes a Buffalo TV anchor who has the unique distinction of working at all three local news stations, a popular morning radio host and the creator of one of the most popular public TV shows for kids. 

Tickets are now on sale for this year's 18th Hall of Fame Gala, Thursday, September 18th at 5:30pm, at the WNED studios, 140 Lower Terrace, downtown.  Tickets are $50 for members of the Buffalo Broadcasters Association and $60 for non-members.  Tables of eight are available for $400.  Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.

Here is this year's class:

Don Postles

Hall of Fame TV Award

Don Postles has a unique status among all of the TV anchors in the Buffalo market.  He’s the only one to serve in a primary anchor position at all three of Buffalo’s broadcast news operations.  Postles has been a trusted source of local news in our community since his arrival in Buffalo in 1976.  

After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from American University in Washington in 1973, Postles went on to receive a Master’s in Journalism.  His career in Buffalo began at WKBW-TV, where he was co-anchor of Eyewitness News, sharing the desk with Irv Weinstein.  Postles left Channel 7 in 1987 for an anchor position at KFSN-TV in Fresno, California, only to return to Buffalo just two years later as an anchor at WGRZ-TV.  

In 1993, Postles moved to WIVB-TV, where he’s been ever since.  He co-anchors Channel 4’s 5, 6 and 11pm newscasts.  For much of his time at WIVB, Postles’ newscasts have earned the highest viewer ratings. 

Postles has won numerous Associated Press and United Press International awards, plus a first place award for investigative reporting from the New York State Broadcasters Association in 1995.  He was also honored with the Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Journalism for co-anchoring WIVB's coverage of the crash of Continental Flight 3407.

Among the most interesting stories he has covered, Postles cites the 1981 shooting of Pope John-Paul II and the recovery of Ann Odre, who was shot with the Pope.

Serving frequently as an emcee and speaker for many local organizations, Postles is involved in the community.  He says he enjoys the Buffalo area for its four seasons, the people and its ethnic foods. 

Postles is married with three children. 

Bill Lacy

Hall of Fame Radio Award

Bill Lacy has been a part of morning radio in Buffalo for three decades and counting.  His easy going, friendly style has made him a morning companion to thousands of listeners, first at WBEN 930AM and then WHTT, 104.1FM. 

Lacy arrived at WBEN in 1980, initially hosting the 10am-12noon air shift.  When Jeff Kaye left as WBEN’s morning host in 1984, Lacy succeeded him.  For the next 16 years, he continued the tradition started by Clint Buehlman of providing music, time, temperature, weather, school closings and traffic information.  When WBEN ceased playing music in the mid 1990s, Lacy was joined by Kevin Keenan on the morning show, engaging in a friendly back-and-forth as they continued to provide listeners with the information they needed along with news interviews.  

In August 2000, WBEN dropped the personality, parting company with Lacy, in favor of the current all news approach in the morning.  In spring 2001, Lacy was hired as morning host at WHTT.  He was happy to be back playing music.  Bill Lacy and WHTT’s current Classic Hits format are a big hit with Buffalo radio listeners. 

After completing a six month course at the Contemporary Institute of Broadcasting in 1970, Lacy landed his first job at WBUF, which was then part of the Empire State FM Network.  He read hourly news summaries for Buffalo, as well as stations in Rochester and Syracuse. Ray Marks trained Lacy on the control board at WBUF’s Boston hills transmitter site. 

In 1972, Lacy was hired at WBNY, 96.1FM, covering the 9pm to 1am shift.  He also received his first taste of sales work under the tutelage of General Manager Dan McBride.  Lacy later took over the morning shift at WBNY.

Lacy moved to the AM side of the band in March 1974, becoming the morning host at WESB Radio in Bradford, PA.  While there, he wondered whether he wanted to continue in radio. So, Bill and his new wife, Pat, moved back to Buffalo.  After a short stint doing weekends at WDOE in Dunkirk, Lacy was hired as morning host at WWSE-FM in Jamestown in addition to doing sales for WJTN-AM. 
In 1975, Lacy moved to Erie for a morning slot at WWYN, followed by a brief stop at WHAM in Rochester, where he served as music director.  Then, it was back to Erie in 1976 at WRIE, followed by a return to Rochester at WAXC.  Finally, Lacy landed back at WRIE, where he was morning host until his hiring at WBEN. 

Bill and Pat have two sons, James and Daniel, and four grandchildren.  He has been involved with the Boy Scouts of America for 25 years.

Chris Musial

Al Anscombe Award

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 6pm 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 producer of executive producer of newscasts and special new 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 “cum” 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 10pm 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.  And 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.

Susan King

Buffalo Bob Smith Award

Susan King’s distinguished career has taken her from television news to the hallowed halls of higher learning.  She made broadcasting history in Buffalo.  King was the first woman to anchor a weekday television newscast in our market.

After completing college, King was hired by NBC News and then moved to CBS where she served as New York Assistant to the National Editor, Correspondent for legendary anchor Walter Cronkite.  In 1972, King arrived in Buffalo where she was hired as a reporter at WGR-TV, Channel 2.  She anchored weekend newscasts and was then promoted to weekdays.  King was the very first in a long line of female anchors and now joins those who followed her -- Carol (Jasen) Nigrelli, Susan Banks and Jacquie Walker – in the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame as this year’s recipient of the Buffalo Bob Smith Award.

From Buffalo, King moved to Washington in 1975, joining WTOP-TV (now WUSA) as a weekend news anchor.  In the early 1980s, King was White House correspondent for ABC News during the Reagan administration, where she humorously noted that she was “number 2 to Sam Donaldson.” 
In 1983, King returned to local TV in Washington.  She was an anchor on WRC-TV before moving to WJLA-TV where she anchored the 5, 6 and 11pm newscasts from 1987 through 1993.  King also reported for CNN and served as host for CNBC's “Equal Time,” NPR's “Talk of the Nation” and WAMU's “Diane Rehm Show. “

In 1995, King left broadcast journalism. She became a presidential appointee, serving three cabinet secretaries as a communications strategist.  At the Department of Labor, King worked with Secretaries Robert Reich and Alexis Herman.  She crafted the successful No Sweat initiative under Reich that led to a movement to improve sweatshop conditions domestically and abroad.  King shaped communication strategies for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Andrew Cuomo's first six months in office.

In the 2000s, King served in vice presidential roles at the Carnegie Corporation of New York. There, she was responsible for the Carnegie's relations with outside groups and devising strategies to ensure its work had an impact on society.  Then, in 2012, King was named dean of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.  She is also the school’s John Thomas Kerr Distinguished Professor.

King received a B.A. in English from Marymount College, Tarrytown, New York and an M.A. in communications from Fairfield University.  She also studied at University College of London University. She has won numerous journalism awards including Emmys for her reporting from Lebanon, three National Women's Political Caucus awards, plus recognition from American Women in Communications and Sigma Delta Chi.  King is active in community and professional organizations.  She is a founder of the International Women's Media Foundation and is a member of its Advisory Committee.

King is married and the mother of a daughter in college.

Tony Buttino

Behind-the-Scenes Award

A generation of adults who enjoy reading today likely developed that interest thanks, in part, to a groundbreaking public television program that was created here in Buffalo.  It was called “Reading Rainbow.”  And the WNED-TV programmer who oversaw its development was Tony Buttino, who is this year’s “Behind the Scenes” inductee in the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

After graduating from Bishop Timon High School, Buttino pursued a career in broadcasting.  He attended Ithaca College and graduated from its School of Radio and TV in 1959.

Buttino volunteered as a cameraman at the newly organized WNED- TV.  He described it as “a dream come true.”  It eventually led to a full time position and several promotions from studio supervisor to director, producer and production manager.

Then in 1965, Buttino became the “temporary” coordinator of Instructional TV (ITV).  With no “teaching” background, Buttino’s challenge was to create programming on WNED that would become a learning tool in the classrooms of Western New York.  That challenge became a lifelong journey.

Buttino wanted to combat what was called the “summer loss phenomenon,” a time when young students took a vacation from reading and lost valuable skills.  So, in 1978, with the help of local reading teachers, librarians, media consultants and college professors, Buttino began broadcasting five summers of reading related programs.  

It was during this time that Buttino created a dream series with the working title “Reading Rainbow.”  The format included TV field trips, book animation, children’s book reviews and original music.  The goal was to use TV to motivate youngsters to enjoy the gift of reading.

In 1981, WNED formed a partnership with Great Plains International in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Together, they received a Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant to produce “Reading Rainbow” and soon formed a team of professional writers, producers and directors in New York City to produce a successful pilot.  A subsequent grant led to the production of “Reading Rainbow” as a summer series of 15 programs that premiered in 1983 on PBS stations throughout the United States.  “Reading Rainbow” ran for 26 years and became the most frequently used program in classrooms reaching 6.5 million students.

During his time overseeing the series, Buttino received many awards including five Emmys as co-executive producer.  In 1985, Buttino was promoted to vice president for Television at WNED.  In addition to “Reading Rainbow,” he was executive producer of the Mark Russell shows for PBS and a popular golden era of Buffalo program, “Things That Aren’t There Anymore.”

Now retired, Buttino continues to freelance with his wife of 50 years, Sue, as “Buttino Bunch Media,” specializing in production and adult education materials.  They are active members of their church and its St. Vincent de Paul Society and continue to volunteer their time in projects dealing with homelessness, prisons, poverty issues and emergency responses.

Their five children, 21 great grandchildren and one great grandchild all live in Western New York.

Jack Armstrong

Broadcasters Memorial Award

Several legendary disc jockeys manned the evening hours at WKBW Radio.  Five of them are already in the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame.  This year, Jack Armstrong joins George “Hound Dog” Lorenz, Dick Biondi, Joey Reynolds, Jeff Kaye and Sandy Beach in our Hall.

It was an October night in 1970 when KB introduced its newest evening personality.  After the 7pm newscast, KB listeners across Buffalo and the Eastern Seaboard were greeted by, “This is Jack Armstrong, your LEEEEEEADAAAAAAAH!”  Jack was a unique talent.  He mixed the Top 40 tunes of the day with a quick wit, jingles with exploding dynamite and a sidekick named Gorilla, who spoke in a raspy bass. 

Armstrong was best known for his famous sign off.  Under the Megaton’s “Shimmy, Shimmy Walk,” Armstrong unleashed a series of catch-phrases, spoken so fast, they were hard to understand.  “Hoo hee, HEE HOO!  Don't let your six gun get rusty.  It's been a business doing pleasure with you.  It's been real!  Your LEEEEEEADAAAAAAAAH love you all!"

In 1971, Armstrong was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s fastest talking human.  Also that year, he participated in WKBW’s annual presentation of “The War of the Worlds.”  When he left KB in February 1973, Armstrong was such a tough act to follow that the station held a two-week “Great American Talent Hunt” that attracted some of the nation’s top DJs. 

Amstrong was born John Charles Larsh in December 1945.  He began his radio career as a 14-year-old in 1960 at WCHL Radio in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  He worked at various other radio stations in North Carolina.  His big break came in 1966, when he joined WIXY Radio in Cleveland.  All the evening disc jockeys at the station had to use the name Jack Armstrong.  He became a huge hit.  The following year, Armstrong was hired by competitor WKYC.  Because “Jack Armstrong” was a copyrighted moniker for WIXY in the Cleveland market, he went by the name “Big Jack, Your Leader.”  He would even taunt WIXY by calling himself “Jackson Armstrong.”  A legend was born.  When he left Cleveland, he took the name Jack Armstrong with him. 

Besides WKBW, Armstrong worked at several other AM giants:  WMEX, Boston; CHUM, Toronto; KFRC, San Francisco; 13Q, Pittsburgh and KFI and KTNQ in Los Angeles.  In 2003, Armstrong returned to KB when the station introduced its nostalgia format, including the KB jingles of the early 1970s.  Armstrong would voice track his show each day from his home in Greensboro, North Carolina.  The delivery was a bit slower.  But the quick wit and the energy were still there. 

Sadly, this was Jack’s last radio gig.  KB switched to progressive talk in early 2006.  Two years later, John Larsh, aka Jack Armstrong, died at the age of 63 following a fall in his home.

Tim Russert Medal of Merit:  Carl Lam

Carl Lam can say he was once part of an orchestra that performed with classical cellist Yo Yo Ma.  He is currently sharing his love of classical music on the radio.  And he is planning to make broadcasting his career.

Lam is a Hamburg native.  He began playing the violin at age 4 and has performed with the Orchard Park Symphony Orchestra, the Southern Tier Symphony and the Western New York Chamber Orchestra. 

Following high school, Lam continued his education at SUNY Fredonia where he studied music, audio/radio production and journalism.  He participated in campus media.  Lam was the winner of Fredonia’s 2014 Lanford Presidential Prize, awarded to the college’s top graduating senior. 

During his Fredonia years, Lam was a news intern at WGRZ, Channel 2 and at WBEN 930AM.  He also spent some time with Channel 2’s weather department and hopes to pursue his meteorology credentials as part of his broadcasting career.  In 2013, Lam was hired as a part-time program host at WNED 94.5FM, covering evening and weekend air shifts.  He’s also employed by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and is delivering traffic reports for Channel 2.  Lam will be attending graduate school at Canisius College this fall.

Following Tim Russert’s death in 2008, the Buffalo Broadcasters Association established the Tim Russert Medal of Merit to honor and encourage the best young broadcasters.  Lam becomes the seventh winner of the award.

Previous winners are:

2013 Danny Bush Jr., St. Bonaventure
2012 Shannon Shepherd, St. Bonaventure
2011 Lauren Adams, St. Bonaventure
2010 Amanda Ciavarri, St. Bonaventure
2009 Cassandra Eldred, Canisius
2008 Amanda Hartman, Brockport State

WBLK Radio

50th Anniversary Award

WBLK at 93.7FM has had just one format and the same set of call letters since its first day of broadcasting in December 1964.  It was founded by legendary Buffalo radio personality George “Hound Dog” Lorenz.  The “Hound” replicated the rhythm and blues format he pioneered a decade earlier on WKBW Radio and was a presence on WBLK from its founding until his untimely death in 1972.

The Lorenz family continued to own WBLK following George’s death.  It was managed by his son, Frank.  In 1995, the station was sold to what was then known as American Radio Systems.  It’s now owned by Townsquare Media.  WBLK’s studios and transmitter are located in the Rand Building downtown.

Some famous names have graced the WBLK airwaves through the years – Bradley J. Cool, Ron Baskin, Don Robinson, Don Allen Sr. and Jr., Freddie Patrick, Doug Blakely and Debbie Sims.  Today, syndicated host Tom Joyner airs during morning drive.  Other members of the on-air staff include Program Director Chris Reynolds, Jazzy T, Todd Anderson and Brian James.

WBLK’s urban format features hip hop, rhythm and blues, gospel and soul.  According to Wikipedia, WBLK is the oldest urban radio station in the United States.  For many years now, it has consistently ranked in the top three of Buffalo radio station as rated by Nielsen (formerly, Arbitron). 

The Buffalo Broadcasters Association is proud to recognize WBLK – both the founding Lorenz family and Townsquare – as the station celebrates 50 years of service to the Buffalo area. 

Masters of Ceremony John Zach and Susan Rose

John Zach is the dean of radio newscasters in Western New York, with well over a half-century of service.  Zach has served as co-anchor of WBEN 930AM’s “Buffalo Early News” since 2000.  Before that, he was a newscaster on WGR 550AM and WKBW 1520AM.  Civic-minded, Zach has served on a number of boards, including the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library. He’s twice been named “Citizen of the Year.”  Zach is also a member of the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame.  In 1988, he authored the critically acclaimed book, The Trainman. 

Susan Rose has been with WBEN since 1985.  In her early years with the station, she anchored hourly newscasts and did some street reporting.  Then in 2000, Rose joined Zach as co-anchor of “Buffalo Early News.”  She keeps her audience informed of the latest breaking news, weather, school closings and traffic each morning.  Rose has conducted thousands of interviews over her nearly three decades on the air.  She was born in Buffalo and received a Bachelor's degree from Buffalo State College.  Rose and husband Tim Wenger have two children and live in Orchard Park.

 

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