Remembering the past... looking toward the future!

WKBW-TV

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.

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 an interview with Linda Pellegrino on Tuesday’s edition of AM Buffalo, Jon Summers announced that he is retiring after nearly 59 years in the broadcasting business. Summers was dubbed AM Buffalo’s “Man Around Town” and did local segments at senior centers, festivals, home/garden shows, and much more.

Summers spent 27 years as co-host of the program with Linda Pellegrino and has also been the voice of WKBW-TV by recording commercials that would air throughout the day on the station. From his interview, he stated that there hasn’t been a single week since 1974 that his voice hasn’t appeared on the station in some way.

He came to Buffalo after working in Washington D.C. to WKBW-AM in 1974 and worked with other local stations including WBEN-AM/FM, WJYE-FM, and WECK-AM.

You can see the complete interview of Jon and Linda by clicking on this link.

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.

If you wanted to attend the 2016 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony but couldn’t get a ticket, you’re in luck! You can catch the broadcast tonight (Wednesday, December 28) at 8:30pm on WBBZ-TV.

Tune in to see broadcasting legends secure their place in Buffalo broadcasting history. You’ll see speeches and video compilations of former 97 Rock morning man Larry Norton, former WIVB-TV and current WKBW-TV meteorologist Don Paul, Susan Hunt of Pie Town Productions, former WKBW-TV Head of Operations Steve Zappia, WECK-AM’s Tom (Donahue) McCray, former WKBW-TV anchor Nolan Johannes. The broadcast will also include Stephanie Aponte, the Tim Russert Medal of Merit Award winner and The Fischers from WBTA-FM for 75 years in broadcasting.

WBBZ is at Channel 67.1 over-the-air, Channel 5 or 1230 (HD) for Time Warner Cable customers, Channel 5 for FiOS customers; Channel 5 for Dish customers; Channel 67 for DirecTV viewers.