Join us for the 21st Annual Buffalo Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame Induction Celebration!
— Thursday, September 28, 2017 at the WNED-TV Studios from 5:30 to 9 p.m. —
If you’re a regular viewer of Wake Up! on WIVB-TV, you’ll soon be watching a new morning co-anchor alongside Jordan Williams. The station has hired Melanie Orlins (left), who most recently moved to Buffalo from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where she served as the Morning Anchor for FOX 43. She has also worked in Grand Forks, North Dakota and is a Florida State Univeristy alum. She takes over for Teresa Weakley, who left to move closer to family and is now working at WOOD-TV, over a year ago. Interim anchor Brittni Smallwood will return to anchoring the 8 a.m. newscast and report for Wake Up!
A familiar face in local television has returned to the local airwaves. Lia Lando (right) started filling-in as a weekend anchor at WKBW-TV in early July. Some may remember that Lando was the interim anchor at WIVB-TV after Lisa Flynn retired from the station from 2009 to 2010. After that she spent five years at WHEC-TV in Rochester as the anchor of “Roc City Tonight” and the station’s 11 p.m. broadcast. She has previously worked at WROC-TV and WETM-TV.
WIVB-TV is filling one of their reporter vacancies with Shannon Smith (left). She is a Chicago native and most recently worked as a freelance reporter in Fresno at KMPH-TV. Before that, she worked in Omaha, Nebraska and Rockford, Illinois. Smith is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She will begin at WIVB-TV on August 8.
It didn’t take long for WKBW-TV to fill the sports/news position that will be vacant after Nick Filipowski leaves the station at the end of the month. Jenna Callari will fill that role and starts on Monday, August 14. She is currently a sports anchor and reporter at WLTZ-TV in Columbus, Georgia and previously worked at WAGM-TV in Presque Isle, Maine. The Michigan State alum has interned at WOOD-TV and WLAJ-TV.
Speaking of sports, WIVB-TV sports anchor/reporter Tom Martin announced on Twitter that he will be leaving the local CBS affiliate in mid-August. There have been no confirmed reports on where he is headed but it is expected that he is headed to a bigger market. Martin joined the station in 2015 after all former members of the sports staff were let go or moved for other opportunities. He had previously worked at KOMU-TV and KATC-TV in Lafayette, Louisiana.
According to the Buffalo News, WKBW-TV will be launching a new news program after Labor Day titled, “The Now.” The program will be anchored by Hannah Buehler along with weather forecasts from Chief Meteorologist Aaron Mentkowski. In Alan Pergament’s article, a reporter will be added to this program too but no one has been specifically named to that role at this time. The 30-minute program will air at 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“The Now” is a program that blends local, national, and international news with entertainment and lifestyle stories. The program will be independently produced in Buffalo and is currently hiring for a producer to fill that job. Many other stations owned by Scripps are already airing this program including stations in Phoenix, West Palm Beach, Denver, Cleveland, and Kansas City.
WGRZ-TV has added a new reporter from out west. Joshua Robinson comes from ABC/FOX duopoly KTMF-TV/KWYB-TV in Missoula, Montana, where he was a reporter covering the entire state and fill-in anchor. He is a reporter for “Daybreak” and is a graduate of Fresno State University. Fun fact too, Robinson is also a former pastry chef and worked in Las Vegas at all of Mario Batali’s restaurants on the strip.
In a producer switcheroo, WGRZ-TV hired Adrian Torres, who started in mid0June as a multimedia producer. He previously worked at KXII-TV in Sherman, Texas and also worked in radio. He is a graduate of the University of North Texas and majored in Broadcast Journalism.
Producer Dan Baran is leaving the station to take a producing job in North Carolina at TEGNA sister station, WCNC-TV. Baran has spent just over 3 years at WGRZ-TV and previously worked for 4 years at Time Warner Cable News as a news assistant/producer.
Spectrum News has filled vacancies on the producing side of the newsroom. Christine Streich has joined the station as a Senior Producer after spending 3 years at WKBW-TV as a producer. Streich has worked in public radio in New York City and graduated from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Brian Barker has been promoted to the role of Senior Producer and Dan Eye joins the staff as an Associate Producer.
Heading the Class of 2017 is the Voice of the Nashville Predators Pete Weber, WKBW-TV meteorologist Mike Randall, 97 Rock’s Carl Russo, Townsquare Media Associate Commercial Producer Jim Pastrick, WLV -AM Station Owner Dick Greene and radio newsman the late Ray Marks.
In addition to the induction ceremony, the BBA will present the Tim Russert Medal of Merit to Noah Maciejewski, a student at Fredonia.
The Buffalo Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame Dinner is Thursday, September 28th with cocktails at 5:30 p.m. and the program starting at 7:00 p.m. in the studios of WNED-TV. WIVB-TV Anchor Jacquie Walker and WGRZ-TV anchor John Beard will be the MCs. Penny Wolfgang and Steve Monaco are this year’s event chairs.
“The Class of 2017 inductees have an interesting cross-section of broadcasting,” said Steve Reszka, president of the Buffalo Broadcasters Association. “We are honored to recognize and welcome them into the Hall of Fame.”
Pete Weber began broadcasting in 1972 in his hometown of Galesburg, Illinois. He then moved along South Bend, Indiana, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, and Seattle. But he spent his prime years covering all sports in Buffalo.
In his first Buffalo stop in 1976 on WEBR NewsRadio 970, Pete teamed covered the entire WNY sports scene – game day coverage and commentary on the Bills, Braves and Sabres. He also was part of college football play-by-play for Canisius College; then added college basketball with U.B., Buffalo State, Niagara, and St. Bonaventure. He also did U.B. hockey. At Christmas in 1977, he released a documentary on the history of professional baseball in Buffalo – two years before the Eastern League brought Bison’s baseball back to the city.
Pete left WEBR in August of 1978, to join the Los Angeles Kings as their radio-TV color commentator. He spent three seasons there before moving to Seattle for a season as the Seattle SuperSonics’ play-by-play announcer.
Returning to Buffalo in the fall of 1982, he began freelancing at WBEN Radio, helping with Stan Barron’s “Free-form Sports” program. Ultimately, he began working on Buffalo Bills’ pre- and post-game shows there, and joined Van Miller and Stan Barron in the booth for the 1983 season. He remained at WBEN until the fall of 1988.
During this period, he also did Buffalo Bison broadcasts on WUFO, WXRL, and WEBR. He joined Mike Robitaille in hosting Buffalo Sabres’ cablecasts and journeyed to Sarajevo, Yugoslavia to cover the 1984 Winter Olympic Games for Mutual Radio.
When Triple A baseball returned to War Memorial Stadium in 1985, Weber narrowed his focus there, calling games through 1995. In 1990, he hosted talk shows with Bills’ GM Bill Polian, Head Coach Marv Levy and QB Jim Kelly during that period, and was on the broadcast team for the four Super Bowl seasons.
From 1995-97, Pete returned to hockey, serving as the radio play-by-play man for the Sabres’ broadcasts on CJRN/WWKB/WGR. When the Sabres moved to their current simulcast arrangement, Empire Sports hired Pete to host FanTV Nighttime and covered the Sabres extensively.
The National Hockey League expanded by four teams over the course of the 1998-99 through the 1999-2000 seasons, and Pete was hired by the Nashville Predators to be their first “voice.” He remains there today.
In January 2017, Weber won his fifth Tennessee Sportscaster of the Year award in six years, as voted by the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters (NSSA, renamed NSMA in 2016). Pete has served as an “insider” on Sirius/XM’s NHL Network Radio, and has served as co-host of Slapshot Radio since the fall of 2009.
A native of Galesburg, IL, Pete holds two degrees from the University of Notre Dame. He and his wife Claudia, reside in Nashville.
Mike Randall has been with WKBW-TV since August 1983. Hired originally as a feature reporter to replace another BBA Hall of Famer, Don Polec. Mike is an AP and UPI award-winning feature reporter. Prior to WKBW-TV, he worked as a Co-Host of “PM Magazine” at WFSB-TV in Hartford, Connecticut and at WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Virginia.
Mike received his Certificate In Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University. He is the only local meteorologist to have earned both AMS and NWS seal of approval. A career highlight for him was filling in on ABC’s “Good Morning America”.
From 1989-1999 Mike added Morning Show co-host duties. With Ann Edwards he was a part of the area’s first morning show Good Morning Western New York. That show was a strong #1 and quickly went from a half hour to two hours long.
In 1991-1992 Mike and Bob Stilson revived the popular WKBW-TV kid’s show, Rocketship 7, serving up fun, cartoons and puppets with Promo the Robot and Commander Tom Jolls.
In 1999 Mike took over as Chief meteorologist from Tom Jolls. He went on to obtain the NWA & AMS Seals of Approval. In 2009 he returned to the morning show and today is still producing feature stories and forecasting the weather.
A native of Western New York, Mike is also a professional actor and award-winning playwrite. He has performed a variety of roles in theatres locally and around the country. He has been on stage with Shakespeare in Delaware Park, T.O.Y Theatre, Jewish Repertory Theatre and The New Phoenix Theatre. Mike continues to perform his solo shows of Mark Twain Live! and Charles Dickens Presents: A Christmas Carol. He also has MC’d annual fund raisers for The Irish Classical Theatre and Shakespeare in Delaware Park.
Mike and his wife, Kathy, have three sons and live in North Boston.
Jim Pastrick is currently an associate commercial producer with Townsquare Media, WBLK, WBUF, WMSX and WYRK, Buffalo.
His professional radio journey began in 1968 as a weekend announcer at WBNY-FM 96.1, and morning announcer-news caster at WMMJ-AM 1300, Lancaster, NY. In 1972, Jim served as morning announcer at WADD-AM 1560, Brockport, NY, later moving to WUSJ-AM 1340, Lockport, NY for nights and commercial production.
He worked nights and weekends at WYSL-AM 1400 in 1973 during the McLendon era, and in the summer of that year was hired at WKBW as summer replacement all night DJ. Mentored by the legendary Jeff Kaye. He also worked as an associate feature producer for the Buffalo Bills Radio Network and later transitioned to production director.
In 1975, Oldies 1550 WBVM, Utica, NY provided Jim his first opportunity as a program director. He returned to Buffalo in the summer of 1978 as production director and weekend DJ at Q-FM-97, which later became 97 Rock (Taft Broadcasting). In 1985, he joined WNYS-FM (Pyramid Broadcasting), as afternoon drive air personality and production director, also holding those positions when the station became WHTT-FM Classic Hits 104.1 in September 1986.
Rich Communications in 1990 offered an opportunity to return to 97 Rock as air personality and production director, as well as feature producer for WGR and the Buffalo Bills Radio Network. In 1995, WGR was sold to Keymarket Communications and he became program director of WGR News Radio 55, a position he held through 2000.
Jim returned to WHTT and 97 Rock in the early 2000, to work on the air, in commercial production and as feature producer for the Buffalo Bills Radio Network through early 2009. He also served as programming consultant for news-talk WLVL, Lockport from 2002 through 2005. He has also done freelance voice production for a number of local radio stations and clients.
Who knew that DJ Carl Russo began his broadcasting career installing an illegal “pirate” transmitter at Medaille College in 1980? But from there it’s all been one stellar on air gig after another.
Carl graduated from Medaille College in 1980, but before graduating, he started at WYSL in January 1980. In August of the same year, Carl started at 97Rock. While doing 6-to midnight on WYSL, he would run down the street at midnight and do the Midnight to 6 shift on 97 Rock on weekends. Carl went full time as the “Midnight Mayor” on 97Rock in 1982 and then a year later he took over to the 7-to Midnight shift .
When 97 Rock left the airways in January of 1985 Carl wound up in Indianapolis at WFBQ-FM dominating the 7-midnight shift. Carl became the highest rated Album Rock night time jock in the United States, getting enormous audience shares in the Indianapolis market. Appearances at the Indy 500 and National Hot Rod Association U.S. Nationals helped Russo gain popularity.
KZEW-FM Dallas/Ft. Worth stole Carl away to because they needed a high profile night man. In his first ratings period at KZEW he beat crosstown competitor KTXQ , And went on to Syndication through the United Stations Radio Network. In the fall of 1988, 97 Rock was back and so was Russo. Carl has dominated afternoon drive at 97 Rock ever since.
In addition to his duties on 97Rock, Carl has Radio Duties on the Westwood 1 Radio Network, doing TWO, five-hour classic Rock shows 7 days a week on approximately 150 affiliate Stations from Hawaii to Alaska. His voice also travels the country from NY to LA in commercial voice work.
Away from radio Carl is a volunteer Fire Fighter/E.M.T. at the East Seneca Fire Company. He served five years as a Fire Commissioner helping to improve emergency services in the town. Carl also served with Boy Scout troop 618 and has been a huge help & supporter of the Greater Niagara Frontier Boy Scout Council.
Dick Greene was born to sell advertising. While attending Bryant & Stratton Business Institute in 1967, he began selling display ads for the Buffalo Evening News.
A few years later in the summer of 1969, he WYSL hired him to sell spots. He and BBA Hall of Fame, the late Larry Levite were the entire sales department. In 1975, he left for a six-month stint at WGR-AM and then moved on to WBEN-AM. After a strong career in sales there, he was named manager of WBEN-FM (Rock 102).
In 1981, Dick achieved what most broadcasters only dream of. He purchased his own radio station, WLVL-AM in Lockport. Eight years later he built WGMM in Big Flats, New York and put it on the air. He sold that station in 1995.
In 2008, Dick purchased WECK-AM, which he owned and operated until this spring, when he sold it to another Buffalo sales legend, Buddy Shula.
According to Dick, his greatest accomplishments were giving the career start to some current stars in broadcasting including Stephanie Miller, Susan Rose, Debbie Stamp and Mike Whalen.
Radio newsman Ray Marks is being inducted into the BBA Hall of Fame in the “In Memorium” category. The South Buffalo Native began his broadcasting career in the 1960s at WBFO-FM on the University of Buffalo campus.
He worked at a number of radio stations in the market including WYSL, WPHD and WGRQ. He was also a producer and assignment editor for WIVB-TV. But it was his three stints as news director at WGR-AM and then at WBEN that made his greatest impact. His internship programs at the stations allowed him to mentor many familiar names in broadcasting, who were just beginning their career. Those people continued to seek his advice as they rose through the broadcasting ranks.
After coming out of retirement in 2006 Ray co-hosted a talk show on WHLD. He also returned to his roots contributing news features to WBFO. Ray became an adjunct professor at Medaille College and also taught at SUNY Buffalo State and St. Bonaventure.
In another honor, the Tim Russert Medal of Merit will be awarded to Noah Maciejewski of Fredonia. He will receive a $1,000 scholarship from the Buffalo Broadcasters Association.
The BBA created the Medal of Merit in 2008 in memory of Buffalo’s own Tim Russert who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003. The award — open to juniors, seniors, and recent graduates of Western New York’s colleges and universities — was created to inspire young people who might follow in Russert’s footsteps, pursuing his passions of broadcasting and journalism.
The Buffalo Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is presented by Buffalo’s Best Flowers and 3G Grafix.
It will be held on Thursday, September 28th at the studios of WNED-TV in Buffalo. Cocktails and dinner will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the ceremony starts at 7:00 p.m.
Ticket are $50 for Buffalo Broadcasters Association Members and $70 for non-members. They are available at www.buffalobroadcasters.com
Sports Anchor/Reporter Nick Filipowski is getting set to leave WKBW-TV at the end of July when his contract expires after deciding not to renew his contract. This was first reported by Alan Pergament from the Buffalo News. Filipowski joined Channel 7 in August of 2014 after spending the past five years in Nebraska at KNOP-TV and in Iowa at KTIV-TV as sports anchor/reporter. He covers weekend sportscasts and also fills-in during the week. He also created the “Friday Football Frenzy” show that covered local high school football. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate has not announced any future plans of where he’s headed at this time.
WGRZ-TV is boosting up its investigative team by bringing on Emily Lampa as its newest Investigative Reporter. She is currently an evening anchor and Lead Investigative Reporter at 47ABC (WMDT-TV) in Salisbury, MD. She will begin at the station in early September.
Lampa, a Philadelphia native, joined WMDT-TV in 2011 after working for Central Florida News in Orlando, Florida and also worked at WLUC-TV in Marquette as a reporter. The Rowan University graduate also interned at WCAU-TV in Philadelphia.
Lexi Ziccardi is now the host of “Localized” on Alternative Buffalo (WLKK-FM). Ziccardi takes over for Chelsea O’Donnell, who resigned from the station in June. Ziccardi is a Fredonia graduate and had hosted a similar style program at Fredonia Radio Systems called “The Local-Lo-Down” for 3 years highlighting the region’s local musicians. The program airs weekly on Sunday evenings from 8 to 9 p.m. She also works for the Promotions Department with Entercom as well.
And finally, WIVB-TV is adding two new producers to their staff. LSU graduate Monica Resh comes from WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It’s also a homecoming of sorts for Resh, who was born in Buffalo, but grew up outside of the Western New York area.
Rachel Niemi will begin on July 10 as a producer. She graduated from Ohio University and was a Multimedia News Fellow at Ohio Statehouse. She has also served as a producer/reporter at WJFW-TV in Rhinelander, WI.
In a news release, veteran sports broadcasters Paul Peck and Kevin Sylvester have announced their new platform, Buffalo Sports Page, which will officially launch later this summer. The project is still being worked on but is getting closer to completion day-by-day.
The platform will feature insight, opinions, and analysis of the nuts and bolts of the city, the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. It will also highlight coverage of local college sports, written stories, podcasts (which they are already producing), and video content. Sylvester and Peck will take on the roles of Managing Editors and Site Contributors.
The pair are no strangers to the local broadcasting scene with Peck currently serving as the Voice of the Buffalo Bulls and spent 24 years with WIVB-TV as a sports anchor/reporter. Sylvester is an announcer for PGA Tour Radio and host of Tee 2 Green, which airs on WGRZ-TV and WGR-AM.
The news release also mentions the list of preliminary contributors with more expected to be added on later including Nick Mendola, Bob Gaughan, Jim Kubiak, and Amy Audibert.
After just under 5 years at WMSX-FM (Mix 96), Laura Daniels is no longer with the Townsquare Media cluster. Daniels took over hosting/DJing the morning program after Joe Chille retired in August 2012. During her tenure at WMSX-FM, she hosted the program with Gordon Scherer, Keith Kelly, and Eric Jordan. In a brief conversation, Daniels said she is grateful for her time at Townsquare Media and said, “I am looking for my next Buffalo broadcasting opportunity.”
The Jamestown native began her career in 1998 in Albany, New York at WYJB-FM. During that time, she hosted the morning program at the station and was a radio personality on WFLY-FM, WDVT-FM, and WZMR-FM as well. She also worked many different areas in radio operations including production and did television traffic in the Capital Region.
She is also the President of Laura Daniels, Inc., a voiceover and copywriting business. Daniels is a graduate of SUNY Fredonia and serves on the Board of Directors for the Community Services Support Foundation.
There has been no announcement of future plans. Meanwhile, Juli Hinds is handling morning duties on an interim basis.
WIVB-TV is the latest station in town to see two producers head off to new opportunities. Ellie Coatar, a University of Missouri graduate, is on the move to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to work at TEGNA owned KARE-TV as a producer. Coatar was a producer on WIVB-TV’s most recent newscast endeavor, “News 4 at 4” and had also produced other shows during that time.
Also, 2015 Tim Russert Medal of Merit Award winner Dan Schrack is headed off to WENY-TV in Elmira, New York to be a weekend morning anchor and reporter. Schrack began as an intern in the spring of 2015 and was later upped to Assignment Editor. He was then added to the producing staff and was most recently producing the 6 a.m. hour of “Wake Up!” He is a graduate of Niagara County Community College and was recognized for his commitment to the broadcast field at the Hall of Fame Ceremony in 2015 upon receiving the Medal of Merit Award.
New owner Buddy Shula has announced that several other Buffalo broadcasting legends will soon grace the airwaves at WECK.
Earlier last week, it was announced that former longtime WBEN-AM morning anchor John Zach would join the station as News Director and anchor news during the morning program. Similarly, Gail Ann Huber was named a co-host to the station’s program alongside current host Tom Donahue. Huber had worked for WYRK-FM and most recently with WHTT-FM before rejoining the station.
The new staff announcements include former AM Buffalo co-host Jon Summers, who will take on a regular airshift from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Harv Moore with hosting duties from 12 to 3 p.m., and Mike Jacobs as the afternoon drive host from 3 to 7 p.m. Shula will also be hosting during the evening hours. Moore’s former co-host, Robert Taylor, will do the imaging for the station.
Most notably, Danny Neaverth, from WKBW-AM and WHTT-FM, will host a show on Friday afternoons called “Danny Moves Your Friday Fanny.”
This is all part of Shula’s overhaul of WECK and will launch these programs on July 10, 2017.
In a press release sent out by WKBW-TV, the station is welcoming 4 new staffers and recent Syracuse graduates as a part of their Journalism Career Program. The program is linked to Syracuse University and provides a 12-month long program in their respective roles, run by The E.W. Scripps Company.
Fatima Bangura (top left) will join the station as a Digital Producer working with online content for the station’s website. Bangura has interned with MSNBC and Black Enterprise Magazine and served as a producer and reporter for Newhouse Communications Center News, the university’s newscast.
Chris DiMaria (top right), Jeff Slawson (bottom left), and Brittany Muller (bottom right) will join the station as Multi-Media Journalists. DiMaria served as an intern for NBC Olympics, WTXF-TV, and KYW-TV in both the news and sports department. Slawson is a Western New York native and attended high school at Williamsville North. He worked as an Assignment Desk Intern at WPIX-TV in New York City and also interned with MSNBC. Muller is a Florida native and has interned with WTVJ-TV in Miami and NBC Olympics.
They are expected to start at the station during June.
With a new group of JCP Participants headed to Buffalo, all but one have left to go to other Scripps stations across the country.
As previously mentioned, Paola Suro (bottom left) left WKBW-TV at the end of April to join WCPO-TV in Cincinnati, Ohio. She currently serves as a Enterprise Reporter for the station’s morning show. Former digital producer Bretton Keenan (top left) has moved to WEWS-TV in Cleveland, Ohio, where she is expected to continue in that capacity. Cole Ellenbogen (bottom right), who produced the station’s 4:30 a.m. newscast in addition to other shows, has moved to West Palm Beach, Florida with WPTV-TV. Josh Bazan (top right) will remain in Buffalo as a Multi-Media Journalist, filling the vacancy after Cierra Johnson left the station.