Remembering the past... looking toward the future!

Buffalo

Legendary broadcaster Sandy Beach will be inducted into the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame in October as part of the 2017 class. Beach currently hosts his morning program on WBEN-AM during the week from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and is a staple of Buffalo broadcasting having been in the market for 35 years.

His career in Buffalo radio started at WKBW-AM in 1968 and joined WBEN-AM in 2003. He hosted the afternoon drive for 10 years before morning to the mid-morning slot in 2013. Beach’s career has also brought him to Hartford, Dallas, San Francisco, and Milwaukee in an on-air capacity. According to the NYSBA, Beach is a three time nominee for Billboard Magazine Personality of the Year. Beach is also a member of the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame and was inducted in 2003. Additionally, he earned a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a DJ in 2013.


Anchor and reporter Brittni Smallwood has left WIVB-TV, the CBS affiliate, after 5 years at the station. Smallwood was named the 8 a.m. anchor of the station’s flagship morning program, “Wake Up!” in 2015 and took over co-anchoring duties after Teresa Weakley left the station in 2016. After nearly a year of filling-in for Weakley, Smallwood returned to her 8 a.m. spot after Melanie Orlins was hired. The timing of her departure works out because she is expected to give birth to her first child in a couple weeks.

Smallwood came to Buffalo after working at WETM-TV in Elmira and is a graduate of Syracuse and Saint Francis University. She has also been a mentor for the Buffalo Broadcasters Association’s Student Mentoring Program for the past two years where she met 1-on-1 with a student that is interested in a career in broadcasting.


WKBW-TV launched a new news program on Tuesday titled, “The Now.” The program is anchored by Hannah Buehler along with weather forecasts from Chief Meteorologist Aaron Mentkowski.  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 and features an entirely digital set superimposed on a green screen.

Two WNY stations are teaming up for the only live and local pregame show for the Buffalo Bills. WIVB-TV and WROC-TV have launched Buffalo Kickoff Live. The program will feature WIVB’s Josh Reed and Nick Filipowski, WGR-AM and Sideline Reporter Sal Capaccio, WROC’s Thad Brown, and Scott Pitoniak. You can catch the program on Sunday mornings at 11:30 a.m. on WIVB-TV and at 7 p.m. on November 2, before the Thursday night game.

Last year, the Buffalo Broadcasters Association launched the inaugural year of the Student Mentoring Program. Three students were selected to meet with a team of six mentors each and completed the program over the course of late 2016. A year later, the mentees are now all enjoying success in their early yet promising broadcasting careers.

St. Bonaventure grad and Hamburg, New York native Jackie Roberts has been working in Erie, Pennsylvania, at WJET-TV as a General Assignment Reporter since March of 2017. Roberts moved to the other Erie County after working just under a year at Time Warner Cable News as a News Assistant. She was an active member in campus media at St. Bonaventure with stints in the radio and television stations there.


Gregory Garrett Jr. is now working at WIVB-TV as a photographer and started in April of 2017. Garrett recently graduated from Buffalo State College with a degree in Journalism and interned at WUFO-AM and Time Warner Cable News. In addition to his current duties, he serves as the Student Ambassador on the Board of Directors for the Buffalo Broadcasters Association.


Finally, Joe Stojek is also at WIVB-TV as a photographer and started in mid-August of 2017. Stojek has a military background as an Army Reservist and is completing his degree at Medaille College. He has hosted podcasts in the past and worked as a videographer and editor.


The Student Mentoring Program for 2017 welcomed 3 new students to strengthen their network of connections and further develop their interest in the broadcast industry. You can meet the new mentees by clicking here.

In a video announcement this morning on his personal Facebook page, Scott Levin announced that he is returning to WGRZ-TV alongside Maryalice Demler at the anchor desk.

Levin, who left the station in May, took a position with West Herr as a Finance Manager. In the video, Levin mentioned that sitting out on the coverage of the tornadoes that affected areas in Hamburg, Holland, and Angelica, made him miss being at the desk.

The story on WGRZ’s website confirms that he will return to the airwaves in early September.

 

Since the start of 2017, three local websites have popped up from current/former broadcasters in the Buffalo area. Each have a unique perspective on what they cover and are all good reads!

Former WGRZ-TV anchor/reporter Mary Friona has started Totally Buffalo, a blog/webpage dedicated to all things Buffalo! The site features updates on local happenings, stories about the people of WNY, breaking news, and much more. Friona is also launching a part of the website called Totally Niagara Falls, which covers her hometown and the community that we all treasure and value. The link to her site can be found here (https://www.totallybuffalo.com/).

 

The Cheektowaga Chronicle is a locally owned, independent, online news publication run by former WKBW-TV and WGRZ-TV photojournalist Jim Herr. The site covers the news around Cheektowaga and dives into investigative reports that affect the community. Herr is a lifelong resident of Cheektowaga and also is a member of the Pine Hill Drum and Bugle Corps, where he’s also served as President of the organization for the past four years. The link to his site can be found here (http://cheektowagachronicle.com/).

Finally, the most recent debut of the trio is Buffalo Sports Page run by Kevin Sylvester and Paul Peck. The site features covers the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Bulls, baseball, and golf. The duo are also hosting a radio show of the sports page on WECK-AM/FM on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Sundays during football season from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The list of contributors to the site include UB Athletics Broadcaster Bob Gaughan, Tony Mrozik, J.K. Karlsen, comedian Jeff Wozer, Amy Audibert, Jim Kubiak, Bradley Gelber, football writer Greg Gabriel, Scott Wilson, Buffalo NHL Correspondent Joe Yerdon, and Nick Mendola. You can visit their page by clicking on the link (https://www.buffalosportspage.com/).

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.

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.

With so many familiar voices returning to the airwaves at WECK, owner Buddy Shula has announced that three members of the team are receiving promotions to new roles in addition to their current positions.

New WECK Program Director Glenn Topolski
  • Glenn Topolski has been promoted to Program Director of WECK. A familiar voice around town, Toploski has worked at WTSS-FM, WYRK-FM, WJYE-FM, and WSPQ in on-air capacities.
  • Current Production Director Frank Miller has added the role of Assistant Program Director to his duties at the station.
  • Mike Jacobs is now the Community Events Coordinator, in addition to being the afternoon drive personality. He has previously worked at WKSE-FM, WYRK-FM, WHTT-FM, and WEDG-FM.

WECK is also bringing back two local sports broadcasters to the airwaves for a local sports program. Paul Peck and Kevin Sylvester are launching their newest platform in August but will debut their program, “Buffalo Sports Page Radio,” on Saturday, August 5. The show will air from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday mornings and Sundays during football season from 11 a.m. to 1.pm. Their program will also include their staff of contributors along with Tyler Dunne (formerly of the Buffalo News) and Jim Kubiak.

 

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.”