Remembering the past... looking toward the future!

WKBW-TV

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.

Sports anchor/reporter Tom Martin made it official yesterday and announced that he is leaving Buffalo for Kansas City. He will take over as a weekend sports anchor/reporter for KCTV-TV after two years in Buffalo. Martin came to Buffalo two years ago as WIVB-TV was revamping their entire sports department following the departures of Lauren Brill and Steve Vesey. Before Buffalo, the Mizzou grad worked at KATC-TV and KOMU-TV. He will start at the new station sometime in September.

Martin was also a four-time participant and guest speaker for the Buffalo Broadcasters Association’s Peer 2 Peer Speakers Tour. The initiative strives to connect the rising stars of the industry with students that might be interested in pursuing a career in broadcasting at local colleges and universities.

Fun fact, this is also where former WIVB-TV News Director Scott Levy went to take a new opportunity as well.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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