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Buffalo

Nick Filipowski is leaving Western New York at the end of July

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.

Photo courtesy of @PeckonSports

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.

The site is expected to launch sometime this summer and we’ll let you know when it does. You can follow the page by liking their Facebook page, following them on Twitter, or going to their website.

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.

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.

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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.

Legendary broadcaster and journalist John Zach will be joining WECK Radio (1230 AM/102.9FM) as the station’s News Director beginning on July 10. The move comes as new owner Buddy Shula continues to build and transform the station.

Zach ended his nearly 18-year stint at WBEN-AM at the end of 2016 and had indicated to Alan Pergament of the Buffalo News that he didn’t plan on retiring. He had also worked at WGR-AM and WKBW-AM, where he served as the station’s News Director. In a press release, Zach said, “I am looking forward to working with the WECK team to give Buffalo the information needed to start the day.”

The Buffalo Broadcasters Association Hall of Famer will anchor news on WECK’s weekday morning show with Tom Donahue and newly announced co-host Gail Ann Huber.

The station has also signed an affiliation agreement to bring CBS Radio News back to the area after it was dropped by WBEN-AM.

Shula has indicated that more additions to the staff will be announced in the coming days and weeks.

 

As the May Sweeps are wrapping up, WGRZ-TV is losing 3 members of their team by the end of the month.

The most visible departure will be evening anchor Scott Levin, who joined the station in the fall of 1998. He came to Western New York and WGRZ-TV after spending a number of years in Washington and Virginia working as a reporter and anchor of all shifts. Levin will be leaving the station after the 6 p.m. newscast on May 24 and begin a new career outside of broadcasting with the West Herr Auto Group as a Finance Manager. He has won multiple Emmy Awards and an Edward R. Murrow Award for his work at the desk along with many NYSBA awards for Best Newscast. Levin has shared the anchor desk with Maryalice Demler, Bazi Kanani, Carol Kaplan, Laura Steele, Jodi Johnston, and Victoria Hong, among others.

Nightside Executive Producer Matt Pitts is also leaving WGRZ-TV at the end of the month to join KeyBank as the Communications Manager for the Western New York area. He joined the station in 2007 as a producer and promoted to his current role in early 2016. Before joining WGRZ-TV, Pitts was a producer at WIVB-TV for 7 years also worked at WBEN as a reporter and news anchor. The Buffalo State College graduate serves as an adjunct professor in the Communication Department.

Producer Corinne Lettieri is also moving to another TEGNA owned station, WCNC-TV, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Lettieri is a St. Bonaventure graduate and joined the station immediately after graduation and began producing the station’s morning show in 2015. Her last day will be Friday, May 26. The station has already hired producer Michelle Hale, who began at the end of March after spending a year in Syracuse at WSYR-TV.

It’s been a busy few weeks for local radio stations with four departures that have already happened or are scheduled for later this week.

Former morning and midday jock Eric Jordan (left) is no longer with Mix 96 (WMSX-FM). Jordan had most recently been covering morning news/traffic/co-hosting duties on the Mix Morning Rush with Laura Daniels. He previously had worked with Total Traffic Buffalo providing afternoon traffic reports for the Townsquare Media cluster. Juli Hinds, assistant professor of communication at Medaille College, has been covering the midday shift that Jordan used to cover for the station.


Justin Tyme (right), of Kiss 98.5 (WKSE-FM), has left the station after 4 years. In a short write up from All Access, Tyme told the trade magazine that,”I’m on the lookout for my next fulltime gig.” He had been hosting shows during all timeslots including mornings, afternoon drive, evenings, and weekends for the station.


Midday host Virginia Barron (left) is scheduled to leave WNED-FM at the end of this week. Barron joined the station in 2013 hosting the station’s long running “Tuesday Night Opera” program and other programming as well. She then moved to weekday evenings before jumping to middays in August of 2016. She is leaving to focus on her program Buffalo String Works, where she serves as the Executive Director and co-founder, which is a program providing music instruction to children of low-income, refugee, and immigrant parents. Her replacement, Adam Luebke, current conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, is expected to start in June 2017.


Finally, Zaque Evans (right) has left his full-time role as Promotions Manager for the Entercom cluster but will remain in a part-time capacity with the station as an on-air personality on Alternative Buffalo (WLKK-FM). Evans is returning to his alma mater, the University at Buffalo, to pursue a doctoral degree in the field of sociology.

As the May book begins, WKBW-TV will be doing so with two fewer reporters.

Paola Suro, a Journalism Career Program participant through the E.W. Scripps Corporation, has moved back to her hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. She has already started at her new station, WCPO-TV, which is another Scripps station, on the Good Morning Tri-State program as an enterprise journalist. Suro came to Buffalo in June of 2016 after graduating from Syracuse University and had previously interned with WCPO-TV, Good Morning America, Univision, and WSYR-TV. Her last day was Friday, April 21. 

Reporter Cierra Johnson is also headed back to Columbus, Ohio, which is also her hometown, to work at WBNS-TV, which is owned by the Dispatch Broadcast Group. She came to Buffalo in December of 2014 as a multimedia journalist after participating in the E.W. Scripps Apprentice Program at WCPO-TV, where she worked various roles in the newsroom. Johnson attended Ohio University at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and her last day is Friday, May 12.

Larry Levite, a 2003 Buffalo Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame Inductee, died on Wednesday after a short illness, according a press release from Buffalo Spree. He was 77 years old.

He spent over five decades working in the media industry in Western New York when he entered the business in the sales arena. He rose through the ranks to become a general manager and eventually the owner of WBEN-AM/FM, a station that he bought in 1978 and sold in 1994. According to the press release, Levite was credited with taking the station to a number #1 rated station in the Buffalo market. During his career in radio, he also worked at WEBR-AM/FM, WPHD, and WYSL.

Levite then bought Buffalo Spree in 1998 and brought the publication from a quarterly magazine and made it to a monthly publication that is found all over Western New York. He served as publisher and CEO for the company and publication.

A special tribute section is currently being worked on for Levite and will appear in the June edition of Buffalo Spree. You can read about Levite on Buffalo Spree’s website by clicking here.

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