Remembering the past... looking toward the future!

WGRZ-TV

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.

Scott Brown from WGRZ-TV died on Friday after a battle with cancer at the age of 59. 

During his time with Channel 2,  he covered and investigated hundreds of stories on varying topics including, but not limited to, questions surrounding the Erie County Water Authority, the trial and eventual exoneration of Anthony Capozzi, a story about a young boy named David Ferland diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and his quest to walk without a walker, the murder of Jackie Wisniewski, his series titled “Niagara Falls: A Tale of Two Cities,” and numerous stories on Western New York Politics. He was also known for his work in the political realm including campaigns, covering the candidates, and providing Election Night coverage of incoming results. His reporting earned him dozens of honors and accolades including Edward R. Murrow Awards and New York State Emmys.

Brown had joined the station back in 1982 and then went to work for then County Executive Dennis Gorski as his spokesperson. He later returned to WGRZ-TV in the in the early 2000’s and had been with the station since. In November of 2014, Brown went on medical leave from the station and returned in June of 2015 in a part-time capacity. The WEBR-AM alum was a graduate of Buffalo State College, where he studied political science and communications, according to the article from WGRZ’s website.

Brown was also recently nominated for 4 New York State Emmy Awards, which will be awarded in the beginning of May.

There has been no word on whether funeral services will be made public for Brown.

WGRZ-TV announced yesterday that longtime evening anchor Scott Levin will be leaving the NBC affiliate on May 24, 2017 after spending nearly 20 years with the station. He joined back in the fall of 1998, when the station was picking up the lowest ratings in the market, and has been part of the turnaround for WGRZ-TV alongside Maryalice Demler at the anchor desk in recent years. 

In an interview with the Buffalo News, Levin noted he wants to spend more time with family but also wants to capitalize on his interest in the business world. He will be starting with the West Herr Automotive Group in a management position. In a post on Facebook, West Herr President and CEO Scott Bieler said, “West Herr is extremely humbled and grateful that he has decided to continue his career in Buffalo with our company.”

WGRZ-TV has not announced any future plans of who may replace Levin at the anchor desk.


The interim tag is no more now that Lisa Polster has officially been named News Director at WIVB-TV by General Manager Dominic Mancuso. She had been the Interim News Director after Scott Levy left the station in August 2016.

Polster, a Western New York native and Buffalo State College graduate, started working at WKBW-TV in 2002 until 2006 with various roles like assignment editor and producer. She then returned to Western New York  in June of 2009 as an executive producer and rose through the ranks to eventually become News Director in January of 2014. She left that position in June 2015 and went to cross town rival WIVB-TV as the Executive Producer of “Wake Up!” She had previously worked in Paducah and Baltimore.


Following Jon Summers’ retirement, WKBW-TV has announced the Courtney Corbetta will be taking over on a full-time basis on AM Buffalo as a multi-media journalist. Corbetta will also fill in for Pellegrino when she is on vacation.

Corbetta is originally from Lewiston and attended Niagara University where she majored in Communications with a double minor in Theatre and Dance. She had joined AM Buffalo in April 2016 as a part-time feature reporter and also picked up duties hosting “Your Home, Your Way.”

As we begin March, there have been a few changes to the staffing behind the camera.

Nate Benson from WGRZ-TV is leaving after more than 3 years with the station. Benson worked overnights as a photographer and editor and then added the title of reporter to his credits in covering breaking news. He also worked on reports for part of the “Innovate WNY’ series and investigated topics like 3D-printing, earthquake engineering, and how ice cream is developed at Perry’s. Before joining WGRZ-TV, Benson worked at WBBZ-TV as a technical director and producer and he’s a graduate of the University at Buffalo. He is leaving the broadcasting business and headed for a position with 43 North.

Producer, photographer, and photojournalist, Jim Gibbons has also left WGRZ-TV after coming to the station in 2015. He joins former News Director Jeff Woodard’s staff at the State University of New York at Fredonia as a photographer/editor in the Department of Marketing and Communications. In his time before coming to WGRZ-TV, he spent five years as photographer for Time Warner Cable News Syracuse and also worked with News 10 Now. Gibbons is a graduate of Lyndon State College.

Following the departure of photogrpaher Jim Herr, WKBW-TV has added Rob Neves as an overnight photographer. The Fredonia graduate came to the station from FOX46 Charlotte (WJZY-TV), where he served as an audio engineer. He also worked at WPTZ-TV in Plattsburgh before the stint in Charlotte. He began his position with WKBW-TV in February of 2017.

 

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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.

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