Here are some of the highlights from the past several weeks from local broadcasting.
Here are some of the highlights from the past several weeks from local broadcasting.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In news from today, Afternoon Drive Host/Assistant Program Director/Music Director Jud Heussler (pictured above) is leaving Kiss 98.5 (WKSE-FM) after spending nearly 8 years with the station. The Fredonia graduate began at the station as an intern and took over the afternoon hosting duties in 2012. Heussler is moving south and heading to Raleigh, North Carolina to be Program Director at duoply Pulse FM 96.9 & 102.5 (WWPL-FM and WPLW-FM). His last day on the air in Buffalo will be Tuesday, January 31. He was also the recipient of the Radio Broadcaster of the Year Award in 2013 from the BEMAs, which used to be hosted by the Buffalo Broadcasters Association.
Also from the Entercom cluster, traffic reporter Allan Harris has undergone a successful kidney transplant. The news was confirmed on Twitter by WBEN-AM on Friday afternoon. Just before Thanksgiving, Harris had announced on the air that there was a kidney transplant available, however, it wasn’t a match. Tim Wenger and Randy Bushover have been filling in while Harris is out recovering. No timetable has been announced of when he will return but we wish him the best as he gets well!
WGRZ-TV’s Claudine Ewing was featured in the Buffalo News article by Alan Pergament for celebrating 25 years in broadcasting. The Buffalo State graduate started off her career at WBEN-AM and WIVB-TV before making the switch over to WGRZ-TV in 1998. Ewing reports regularly and also fills-in on the anchor desk periodically. Congratulations to Claudine on such an incredible milestone!
In news from the producing world, WKBW-TV has added John Tummino as the 11 p.m. producer. He spent two years working at WPTZ-TV, which covered the Burlington, Vermont and Plattsburgh, New York markets. He also worked at WSYR-TV and News 12 New Jersey following graduation from Syracuse University.
Also, Lucas Smith, former producer at WIVB-TV, is now an Executive Producer at WINK-TV in Fort Myers, Florida. As reported previously, Smith had spent 8 years with News 4 before heading south.