March was an active month with a number of promotions around town and across the border.
Most notably, Ben Wagner is headed to the Major League Baseball world of announcing and is now the “Voice of the Toronto Blue Jays” with the Sportsnet Radio Network. Wagner will be taking over for broadcasting legend Jerry Howarth, who retired in early 2018 due to health concerns. His new radio partners will include Mike Wilner and Dan Shulman. Last year, Wagner was called up to fill-in for a pair of games with the Blue Jays.
Wagner had spent 11 years as the “Voice of the Buffalo Bisons” and had previously worked with the Lakewood Blue Claws. He is an alum of Indiana University and has called a number of sports at the professional, college, and high school level.
You can read more about Wagner’s thoughts on assuming this big role by clicking here.
Taking Wagner’s spot is WGR-AM’s Pat Malacaro, a South Buffalo Native and Syracuse alum. Malacaro will be the new “Voice of the Buffalo Bisons” and share the booth alongside Duke McGuire.
He joined WGR-AM in 2006 covering hockey, basketball and baseball in a variety of roles including producer, reporter, and update anchor. In addition to his role with Entercom, he joined the Buffalo Bisons in 2010 and has provided coverage as a fill-in announcer and reporter for radio and television broadcasts.
Malacaro shared the announcement via Twitter, which is seen below.
Today is an amazing and incredible day! I am looking forward to continuing on the tradition that @PeteWeberSports, @IndiansRadio, and @benwag247 have set, and look forward to opening day on April 6th. https://t.co/a8G22AkGOo
— Pat Malacaro (@PatWGR) March 27, 2018
The Buffalo Bisons’ season begins on Friday, April 6 with the home-opener on Thursday, April 12, 2018 at Coca-Cola Field.
In mid-March, Cumulus Media named Jim Kurdziel to the role of Regional Vice President, Programming – Rock. In his new role, Kurdziel will oversee radio stations in the Northeast with a rock and alternative format. He continues with his position as Program Director and Midday Host for WEDG-FM (103.3 The Edge).
In the announcement from Friday Morning Quarterback, Kurdziel earned praise from others within Cumulus. “Jim has shown his ability to program successfully. His track record speaks for itself. We’re excited to expand his role and take advantage of his success and experience,” said Mike McVay, Executive Vice President of Content & Programming with Cumulus Media.
Kurdziel is also a highly regarded comedian performing across the country and in Canada. He has also appeared at the Buffalo Broadcasters Association’s Laugh Out Loud event in 2015 and 2018.
WBEN-AM bid farewell to Dave Debo at the end of March. He announced on his personal Facebook page that he will be the new News Director at WBFO-FM, taking the place of Brian Meyer, who retired at the end of March.
Debo spent 13 years at WBEN-AM as a morning reporter and news anchor and the station’s web editor. Debo had also taken over as host of “Hardline,” a weekly political/news roundup program, after Kevin Hardwick left the show.
Before his stint at WBEN-AM, Debo worked at WIVB-TV, WGRZ-TV, WEBR-AM, and worked with Buffalo Business First and The Ithaca Journal.